Waad’s story

Waad (pictured right) is the Deputy Manager at the St Mungo’s Safe Space Project at Westminster, London. Having started as an apprentice she talks to us about her career progression at St Mungo’s.

My Apprenticeship taught me so many of the skills that I have needed to work with clients in services. From shadowing staff and co-facilitating groups to working one-to-one I felt I was learning something new every day. I was allocated a mentor, who really supported me in my day-to-day role and also provided me with a space to reflect on my progress. I gained so much confidence during my apprenticeship and the whole experience really made me want to develop my career in the sector.

While I had enjoyed working in a drug and alcohol service I was keen to directly support people who have or are experiencing homelessness. I was able to visit a number of different hostels across St Mungo’s during my apprenticeship which gave me an insight into frontline work. I was successfully recruited for a Project Worker role at Harrow Road and started there in January 2016. It was a totally different environment to work in but it really helped me to understand homelessness.

A year later, I was promoted to a Deputy Manager position at the St Mungo’s Safe Space project in Westminster.

Taking responsibility for my own career development and growth has been central to my progress. With support from my line manager I started to identify areas where I knew I needed to develop. I undertook the Level 3 Managing Volunteers qualification which provided me with a great starting point to develop my supervisory skills. I gained exposure to more senior tasks such as supporting with quarterly reporting and attending certain manager meetings. I also got involved with wider organisational activities, joining diversity networks and sitting on the Staff Advisory Board. There are so many things you can get involved in at St Mungo’s and I have developed a broader perspective of how the organisation operates.

Becoming a manager has been a real eye-opener. I am now learning and developing by supporting other people with their career development. I find this part of the role so rewarding. It has been challenging at times, but with regular support and supervision I am able to reflect on the challenges and think about how best to deal with these.

I am currently undertaking the Leadership & Management training programme which is equipping me with the knowledge I need. These courses have been fantastic and have given me a really good understanding of what is required.

St Mungo’s also runs an internal Professional Development Mentoring Scheme which I have taken advantage of. My mentor is from the Executive Team and we meet to discuss my career development. I really value these sessions as they provide me with a great space, outside of my regular supervision, to reflect on where I am and to set goals for future progression.

As I am working in a new service I have been directly involved in the set up and implementation which has been really exciting and enabled me to put my own stamp on things. Given that I have lived experience I feel I am able to understand what makes a good service and we have been working with clients since the start to make sure things are going in the right direction.