How I Got Here: Faye Bishop, youth worker, Leeds Teaching Hospital Trust

Faye Bishop
Friday, March 1, 2024

Faye Bishop is a youth worker for the paediatric and young adult diabetes team at Leeds Teaching Hospital Trust.

Faye Bishop: 'I have been able to come away feeling proud of the impact of my work'. Picture: Faye Bishop
Faye Bishop: 'I have been able to come away feeling proud of the impact of my work'. Picture: Faye Bishop

Determination to succeed

I always found school a challenge when I was younger; I was never the most academic student and had to constantly push to achieve what I wanted. A gruelling sixth form parents evening left me wondering if I should drop out and look for work or stick it out and achieve the grades I needed for university. I opted for the latter, and with lots of hard work and determination, I managed to prove people wrong and bag the grades that were required for my university choices. This experience provided me with the confirmation that I could achieve what I wanted if I put my mind to it, and this is something that I carry with me through all aspects of my life.

Pandemic-enforced change

I started my role as a youth worker at Leeds General Infirmary (LGI) in 2019 and supported my colleague with the running of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) as I had previous experience of delivering the programme within a custodial environment. LGI became a DofE-licenced organisation in 2018, allowing young people aged 14-24 to work towards achieving the award and overcome personal challenges, build self-esteem, and develop life skills.

Unfortunately, the Covid-19 pandemic hit, and my colleague was seconded to another department meaning that the delivery of DofE was left to me. I managed to recruit my youth work colleague Georgia, and my dad Bill who is a mountain leader – neither knew what they were letting themselves in for – and four years later, we continue to go from strength to strength. As the DofE manager at LGI, I am proud to say we have successfully led two bronze award and one silver award groups and have plans in the pipeline for our first gold group.

Personal and career gains

Rolling out the DofE in the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic required resilience and problem-solving skills. Two days before our first bronze expedition in 2020, we were told it might not go ahead due to changing Covid-19 guidelines. This was a challenge, but it was essential I remained optimistic for our young people. Thankfully, we were given the go ahead with a Covid-19 risk assessment in place.

Managing the DofE has also given me an insight into project management and leadership, giving me gratitude that young people and colleagues trust my work, thus enhancing my confidence. Most importantly, I have been able to come away feeling proud of the impact of my work and fulfilled knowing I have supported and continue to support so many young people.

Proudest achievement

Since establishing our first group in 2019, I can proudly say we have supported 29 young people through their DofE Award. It’s extremely fulfilling knowing that we are the first hospital youth work-led team to have guided so many young people with complex health needs through their DofE Award. Moreover, I am grateful that my work at LGI has been recognised by colleagues, as I was recently awarded Life Changer of the Year, at the first ever DofE This is Youth Celebration. This award is something that I am exceptionally grateful for and will proudly carry with me throughout my career.

Heading up the DofE in a hospital was never going to be an easy task, but with lots of commitment, determination, amazing young people, and a fantastic team around me, we’ve made it a huge success and continue to strive.

Top three career tips

  • Push yourself out of your comfort zone – this can be scary, but I would never have achieved what I have if I hadn’t pushed myself.

  • Ask for help – there’s no shame in asking others for support and guidance, we can’t always do everything on our own.

  • Believe in yourself– if you trust in yourself and are confident in your work, young people will trust in you and the process.

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