John Gallagher on Youth Justice

Student spotlight: John Gallagher on Youth Justice

May 2024

Written by Dan Howell

Over the past year, the Centre for Excellence in Therapeutic Care has launched its first blended learning program, CHC40521 – Certificate IV in Youth Justice.

Dan Howell, Senior Manager for Training, recently spoke with John Gallagher, a recent participant in the program, to discuss his experiences. Read the interview below to learn from John’s reflections.

John Gallagher on Youth Justice

Well, I had been working and living in Alice Springs for a long time. Back home in Ireland, I had a bit of experience working with young people, mostly coaching sports. It was something I have always been interested in and something I feel like I could make a difference in. So, I got a job working in Saltbush Alice Springs for 12 months and loved it. Then I applied for the youth justice officer role, got the job, been here 12 months, absolutely loving it, and now based in Darwin, working at Don Dale.

Luckily, having worked at Saltbush for 12 months, I had a little bit of an idea what it might be like. Unfortunately, many people have a lot of misconceptions about working in detention.

I was surprised about how relaxed everything was (in a good way), which provides a good atmosphere within the centre. The young people are really friendly and the fun and the banter between them and the staff was also surprising.

I am proud to tell people that I’m a youth justice officer at Don Dale Youth Detention Centre. My job is to help troubled youth, guide them, and be the best role model I can be.

Something that has stood out to me throughout the training is definitely the amount of trauma that is involved with these young people. The things that I have learned have definitely changed my whole way of thinking and attitude towards certain situations.

For someone who, let’s say, wasn’t very good at school or technology-friendly, I’ve found it pretty good. You get the peace and quiet to do it at home. But it can also be a challenge trying to find the time to do it, especially if you work a lot or have family commitments.

Go for it. Don’t believe all the stories, try something new. It’s really good and the young people are pretty funny (most of the time, lol).

The focus of work for all of us is to minimise reoffending and prevent young people coming into the youth justice system, to try our best and be the best role models and guides for these young people. Giving them hope and providing care for them, encouraging them to be the best people they can be.

 

Australian Childhood Foundation is the registered training organisation responsible for delivering the qualification – RTO 22094. If you are interested in learning more about the CETC’s in-service qualifications in Youth Justice, please contact us.

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