Tiana Golden, project manager, Changemakers.

Monday, September 15, 2008

How did you first become a volunteer?

I helped organise Barnet's conference for looked-after young people when I was 15. We were trained in facilitation and participation and we were encouraged to create and deliver our own workshops.

- Did that lead to more opportunities?

I was always being asked for my opinion and when Barnet recruited a participation worker, I was involved in the recruitment. Eventually, Barnet and Enfield created a children's rights office with Barnardo's and I became part of the local and national advisory group.

- How did you get the job at Changemakers?

I applied to its Young Advocate scheme. I was attracted to it because you could plan your own projects. I helped set up an advisory group of young people for my local council's Children Rights Service. Later, Changemakers offered me a job going into schools to introduce its Big Boost grants programme to young people. Now I'm working on the Youth Innovation Challenge, which gets young people to vote on issues that are important to them.

- What about qualifications?

I've always fancied doing a social work degree, or maybe teaching. But to me, experience is a lot more important than qualifications. I've never seen what I did just as volunteering, it's more like work experience.

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