What is life story work? Kelly’s story

Kelly started at UoN in 2004 and now works as a Life Story Worker in Peterborough. How did she get there and how did her time here help?

Coming to the University of Northampton in 2004 was the start of a very special journey.

When I was looking at universities I knew that I wanted to work with children but was unsure of the career path I wanted to take.

When I visited the University of Northampton to look at the Early Childhood Studies course it felt like the right fit, the lecturers were friendly and supportive, the course was interesting and had lots of different areas within working with children and I knew this along with the placements would help me to learn what career path I would want to take.

All of the different modules of the course helped me so much to learn about different areas within childcare. The skills I learnt have all played a part in helping me in my career. I feel that I gained experiences that I would not have had if it wasn’t for this course. For example the different placements helped me to learn where my strengths were and what area I would like to work in as I was unsure if I wanted to go into education or social care. Also I would never have got to go to Sweden and learn so much about a different education system, about hands on learning and the benefits of children who are bilingual and how these children achieve more in education.

There are so many areas of work to go into through this degree and also lots of further training available to progress into other areas further.

I’m extremely lucky that my third year placement was with the then Permanency Team for Northampton County Council and after doing a week’s placement I got offered some sessional work over the summer.

By September there was a job opening in the team for a family support worker to cover maternity leave which I applied for and got. Six months later the Life Story Worker left and I was successful in getting the job.

Life Story Workers perform important and vital work for children who are perhaps going through an adoption process, helping to ground their experiences and keep their story together through changing circumstance.

I now work for Peterborough City Council as a Life Story Worker. I also teach training for foster carers and adopters and do guest lectures for universities including on the Early Childhood studies course at the University of Northampton on which I graduated from 10 years ago.

Not only did I get a degree and a great job due to the course but I also meet an amazing guy in my first year and we have been together for 12 years, married for 6 years and have a daughter who turned two this summer.

My advice to students is to make the most of every opportunity and know that you have done a great course. Remember when going for a job that you have learnt so many skills, developed a lot of knowledge and had great learning experiences through the course so don’t forgot that it sets you apart and share that information with prospective employees.

For more information about our Early Childhood Studies course please visit the website, or follow us @UniNorthants #UoN