My name is Josh and I am 24 years old. When I was around 15 I got a phone call from Paradise Zone Youth Club asking me if I would like to go on a residential to Scotland; without hesitation I said yes. I really enjoyed being on the residential so I decided that when we got back from it that I wanted to join Paradise Zone and start attending the club sessions.

After attending for a few weeks I decided that I would like to do some volunteering with them as well. Through doing this I realised how much I enjoyed working with young people, so I decided that I would go to college to study youth and community work. I got a lot of help both from Jon and Roz who are youth workers at the Paradise Zone. Jon even organised extra one-to-one time at the local library so that we could go through my work together which really helped me get through the course.

Once I completed the course I managed to get into a university where I carried on studying Youth & Community Work. While I was there I started wondering what it would be like to work at a residential centre as I had always enjoyed them when I attended myself. I never thought that I would be able to work at one because I thought that you would need lots of outdoor qualifications which I didn’t have. Three years later, I finished university and was back in East London. This is when I got a message from Jon saying that he had found a great opportunity for me, an apprenticeship instructor role at Woodrow. Straight away I applied for the job and secured a position.

When I first started I thought I had made a terrible decision! I was so nervous about standing up in front of a group and talking to them and I even considered leaving. After a few weeks of training I felt a bit better and it was time to run my first session, which went much better than expected and from then things just kept improving. Since then I have had nothing but good feedback from the group leaders which helped boost my confidence.

Towards the end of the year a lead instructor position opened up and I thought I would apply for it. All my hard work paid off and I got the job. My current role as a Lead Instructor is to mentor and support the apprentices, which is where things started for me. I have also been given my own project time where I am currently trying to develop a cellar area into and youth friendly space.

I guess you could say taking up the apprenticeship opportunity worked out really well for me!