Karen Whitehouse Name: Karen Whitehouse Age: 41 Where were you last employed? Before joining Inspira I worked for 6 years at Walney School and 11 years at Drop Zone Youth Projects. I have been a youth and community worker in Barrow since 2002. Why did you decide to join Inspira? I feel that working for Inspira is a natural development of the work I have been doing with young people and adults for the past 17 years. Inspira offers so many avenues of support for young people and adults and I look forward to exploring these. What does your job entail? I am working on Inspira’s pre-employment programmes. This involves planning and delivering a range of programmes to a variety of learners. So far, I have worked with a group from the Prince’s Trust movement to work and a group of parent returners. What benefits do you think clients get from the help you give? Being able to support clients in identifying their existing skills and using these to create dynamic CVs and job applications is a key benefit, as it enables them to open up potential career avenues. I also think I help clients break down barriers so that they can succeed in life as well as their careers. What do you most like about your job? I am enjoying working with a wide variety of learners, getting to know them and their needs and supporting them in progressing in their chosen fields. Any advice for people wanting to get into your profession? Experience of delivering sessions to a variety of learners is extremely useful as is the ability to read a room and adapt your plans accordingly. Volunteering at local community groups would be a great way to get this experience plus it will make you aware of the other agencies working in the area.