Our latest 'Staff Journey' article features Charlie Cairns, who first joined us back in late 2019 and has been developing his skills as a member of staff on the Peace Bytes programme ever since. 

Charlie Cairns, Youth Support Worker

Tell us a bit about yourself...

My name is Charlie Cairns, I’m 24 years old and I live in Derry-Londonderry. I started off as a sessional worker with Bytes in November 2019 and then got myself a part-time post as a Youth Support Worker a few months later.

Currently, I have a main group of young people that has been mostly online due to Covid-19. So, I have had to adapt to going online with sessions and activities, trying to make them enjoyable and having catch ups with the group after the weekend breaks to see what they got up too.

What made you interested in Bytes in the first place?

I used to volunteer at a local youth centre when I was younger as a junior leader, before stopping for a while. I have a friend that works with Bytes and they suggested I should apply to volunteer again, this time with Bytes on the Peace Bytes programme.

So, I gave it a go - as I was interested in youth work - and here I am!

What is your favourite part of your job?

My favourite part of my job is being able to be there for the young people we work with, and being a possible role model for any young people that want to work in youth work when they are older. I also enjoy meeting new members of staff and being able to have good banter with the groups, while maintaining the professional role of a leader. 

How have you grown as an individual from starting in Bytes?

Since starting with Bytes, I have gained more confidence in both myself and in interacting with our groups of young people. Also, my tech skills have gotten a lot better as, even when working from the office, we work off laptops, tablets, mobile devices etc., so I am always learning new things.

What has made you stay in Bytes?

I am enjoying my time with Bytes, so why would I want to change it? Working with the groups, we had a lot of trips and activities planned that we can't do right now due to Covid-19, but there is a lot to look forward to in the months and possibly years ahead. Also, our staff team is strong, we have a range of personalities and each one of us works together to make a good team.