16 June 2023

In May 2023, YMCA Crewe appointed a new Youth Advocacy Worker for our Youth Power project, funded by the Foyer Federation and Blagrave Trust. However, this interview process was different to any we have run before. We enabled our Board Advisory Group to run the shortlisting, question setting, and interviewing. The Board Advisory Group is comprised of young people who are current YMCA Crewe residents, and previous residents of both YMCA Crewe and other projects. They meet every two months to discuss strategic items to make help guide the Board of Trustees’ conversations.

With minimal guidance from staff, the Board Advisory Group recruited a fantastic new member of staff, Elohor Udubrae. Recently, we asked Elohor for her perspective on why she applied for the post and how she found the interview process.

1.What motivated you to apply for the post as Youth Advocacy Worker?

Over the course of three years with a prominent Nigerian NGO, I had the opportunity to work directly with young people. As a Deputy Programs Manager, I delivered educational programmes that focused on entrepreneurship, financial literacy, and workforce readiness across Nigeria.  In this role, I was fuelled by my passion for growing consciousness and future leaders. The experience allowed me to witness first-hand the transformative power of empowering young individuals to succeed in their personal and professional lives.

My career journey led me to a social enterprise operating across Africa (Nigeria, Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda). As Programmes Manager, I engaged in initiatives aimed at promoting science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. This experience exposed me to the challenges young people face when accessing quality STEM education and the need to bridge that gap. Therefore, I worked to inspire and empower young people to pursue STEM careers and opportunities.

Over the last eight months, I have volunteered with youth projects in England (Chester and Crewe). I have witnessed the transformative effect of providing young people with the tools, resources, and support they need to succeed. Subsequently, I saw that advocacy plays a crucial role in addressing the barriers faced by youth and enabling them to reach their full potential. When I saw the Youth Advocacy Worker opportunity on Indeed, my experiences and my desire to make a broader impact on the lives of young people became the driving forces behind my decision to apply.

2. How did you find being interviewed by young people?

Being interviewed by young people was an absolute delight! Imagine facing those whom your role will impact. At first, I was nervous because I had never been interviewed by the direct beneficiaries of my work. However, it was refreshing and invigorating to witness their curiosity and enthusiasm first-hand. Their responses to my questions around their expectations of me exuded their genuine interest in learning and making a positive impact. This was truly inspiring. Overall, being interviewed by young people was an enlightening and uplifting experience that I will not soon forget.

3. How did this differ from other interviews you’ve had?

This interview with young people stood out in several ways.

First and foremost, the youthful energy and enthusiasm that permeated the conversation created a distinct atmosphere. Secondly, the young interviewers approached the discussion with a fresh perspective. They were unafraid to ask challenging questions and explore unconventional angles. This dynamic and innovative approach breathed new life into the interview. This made it an engaging and memorable experience. Additionally, the level of curiosity displayed by the young interviewers was remarkable.

Finally, their genuine thirst for knowledge and their eagerness to learn and understand different viewpoints is highly commendable. Furthermore, their inquisitiveness sparked stimulating discussions. These fresh perspectives challenged my own thinking and pushed the boundaries of traditional discussions, fostering an environment of exploration and growth. This lead to a rich exchange of ideas that left a lasting impression and a clear picture of what is expected of me in the role.

4. What are you most excited about in your new role?

I am particularly enthusiastic about creating and exposing the young people in the YMCA Crewe community to different platforms. For example, resource packs, newsletters, podcasts, interactive weekly sessions, conferences, or other fun activities. This will aid them to meaningfully share their experiences and other issues that are relevant to them. Importantly, this will involve providing safe and supportive spaces for them to express their stories, challenges, and triumphs as they become more empowered to amplify their voices as future leaders.