Q&A with new trustee: Natalie Smith

11 Nov 2016

Meet Natalie Smith, NYA’s new Trustee.


Tell us a little about your background
My background previously was Hospitality Business Management, but I’ve been voluntarily within the third sector for the past two years, gaining experience at a grassroots level in an area which suffers from high levels of deprivation.

Why did you want to become a Trustee of NYA?
Becoming trustee has opened up the opportunity to pave the northern and national pathway for young people in today’s society. Opportunities appear to be limited in the northern parts of England, and I hope to be the driving force behind equal opportunities irrelevant of your location. In addition to this, I wanted to create unique
opportunities for young people to develop on a strong career pathway without financial aid. Furthermore, I would like to actively encourage young people to use technology and social media for good purpose for example; helping people who are less fortunate than themselves.

What qualities and experience do you bring to the role of Trustee?
As a young person myself I feel incredibly close to the issues young people face, and I hope I can help deliver as many positive outcomes during my time at the National Youth Agency. I’m a highly motivated individual who has had to find alternative pathways in which to take my own career and make the most of any opportunity on the horizon.

Why do young people need youth work?
I believe that youth work is essential for young people to experience as many opportunities as possible in order to clarify future plans. We live in a forever evolving world of technology so youth work with projects such as; O2 Think Big, enable individuals to learn new skills and test their potential career options without the commitment of a hefty student loan. Not only does youth work enable them to up-skill career wise but also as individuals, building on personal skills whilst in a safe environment beyond leaving school.

What’s your experience of youth work?
Youth work has contributed massively to the past few years of my life, I’ve been lucky enough to run two community action project with O2 Think Big, plus another with Vinspired. Both the projects I delivered through the O2 Think Big platform enabled me to connect with different communities within my local area, plus the skills I gained myself
were invaluable including; project management, team work, networking with third sector organisations such as; Club Foundation at Doncaster Rovers, plus more.

In your opinion how does youth work support social mobility?
In my opinion, youth work can enable individuals to increase their awareness of the current social issues surrounding many of us in day to day life. Therefore helping young people define where they currently reside within the structure of social mobility and where they wish to strive for when choosing their next step in life. Every
young individual will have their own set of aspirations and motivations and through youth work I would hope they would be enabled to picture a future for themselves.