Fay Beaman, Integrated family intervention service worker (IFIS), employed by Stoke-on-Trent city council. I am based in a children’s centre and cover the north of the city.

A typical day

A typical day for me is to deal with any emails I have and to prepare any work I need for my daily home visits. I then spend the day visiting my families, completing paperwork, making phone calls and completing any referrals that need to be made. I hold “early help” meetings with parents and professionals ensuring that meetings are held every 6 weeks and paperwork is up to date. I attend children in need (CIN) meetings and core group meetings. I also have to attend child protection conferences for some of the families I work with. No two days are the same and the job role is very diverse, it is important to be flexible and adapt to whatever is needed at the time.

Who I work with

I work with children aged 0-19 and their families, extended family included. I also work with other professionals to ensure that the families are getting the best support and their needs are met.

Best bits about the job

I love working with families and seeing the small changes we make together. It can be as simple as getting eye contact from a child who previously would not acknowledge you.

Biggest challenges

Waiting lists for services needed for families is one of the biggest challenges we face. Non engagement of families is also a challenge, it is so important to try and get families to accept the support you can offer and also to be non-judgmental about their circumstances.

How I got the job

When I was finishing my degree I searched for jobs I thought I may be interested in, I had completed a placement at a children’s centre in the South of the city and continued to work there on a voluntary basis. While completing this work I heard about the IFIS jobs and applied. I completed a complex application form and had an interview in front of three people. Luckily I did enough and got the job.

How I see my career progressing

I have now been in my job role for over a year and feel ready for the next step of a senior role. I am also investigating the possibility of completing the step up to social work with the local authority.

How did my degree help

Completing the Early years and childhood studies degree helped me immensely. It made me think about people’s lives and how we see family and situations differently depending on our circumstances, upbringing, life chances etc. It gave me a good knowledge of child development and how different circumstances can affect this. Reflection is a vital part of my job role and the degree I did taught me how to do this effectively. Completing the work placements helped me gain some experience and skills I needed for my job role.

Top tips for future Early Years graduates

I would say one of the most important things to do is to embrace the reflection part of the degree, this was not my favourite part of an essay or personal reflection but this has been one of the most useful tools I have needed in my job role. Read! Reading and more reading is so important, keeping up to date with current affairs, reading around interested subjects and being aware of new research is so helpful in both your degree and for your job role. Having knowledge empowers you to be able to challenge things you don’t agree with personally or on behalf of the vulnerable people you are working with.

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