What Are You Up to Now? Catching up with Law Alumni

We like to keep in touch with our alumni and hear about what they are doing since graduating. Jade Taylor studied the LLB Law with a Foundation Year degree with us as Staffordshire University and graduated in 2017. Since graduating, Jade has been a support Officer, Coordinator and volunteer in ares within the criminal justice system, including probation work, mentoring and children in care. She has written a guest piece for our blog about her experiences mentoring within the criminal justice system.

Jade Taylor graduated in 2017 with an LLB (Hons) in Law, taking the Foundation Year route.

August 2017 – July 2019 Volunteer Support Officer for CF03, SWM CRC, DLNR, Merseyside Circles

July 2019 – Promoted to Volunteer Coordinator for SWM CRC – Covering Probation Offices Birmingham Centre City and Wolverhampton Lever Street & Community Mentoring for both areas.

October 2018 – Present – Volunteer Independent Visitor for Black Country Independent Visitors (Children in the Care System)

In April 2016, I decided I needed to get some experience in the Criminal Justice System as I was studying a Law Degree at Staffordshire University. I investigated what would be the best opportunity for me and came across Sova/CGL. Going through recruitment I was nervous yet excited. I didn’t know what to expect or how I would deal with this line of work. After the second interview I was hoping and praying I would get the opportunity, and I did. I was over the moon!

Little did I know at the time it would be the best decision I ever made.

I became fully recruited in October 2016 and this is where my journey began. I started off volunteering in Stoke on Trent on the SWM CRC project doing community mentoring supporting service users of all different backgrounds and with all different support needs. I then got involved with Breach Court support at Birmingham Magistrates every Wednesday morning on my day off from university. This was an amazing experience and the support I could give to the individuals been given sentences was incredible. We would sign them up and give them that little glimpse of hope.

Alongside this I was then given the opportunity to mentor in HMYOI Brinsford. I took the opportunity with both hands and again enjoyed every minute. Supporting an individual in custody is daunting to begin with but then I soon realised it was the perfect opportunity to give that person a sense of hope, determination and courage for their release giving them all the vital tools to develop and grow in the community.
It is safe to say that as a volunteer the co-ordinators gave me the opportunity of a lifetime. Not only that but did they make me the person I am today from the beginning. They believed in me, they supported me and they enabled me to grow and develop with continuous training and guidance.

I loved volunteering with Sova/CGL that much I applied for a job with Sova/CGL as the Volunteer Support Officer 4 weeks after graduating in July 2017. Then an even bigger shock and an even better opportunity. I GOT THE JOB!!

I had the most rewarding job of recruiting volunteers and giving them the opportunity that I was given. I go to work happy and come home happy knowing I can do this for others. My work is more than just a job. I also still get to mentor the service users and I will quite happily make that time up! My colleagues are brilliant and I have made some great friendships along the way.

July 2019 came, a promotion opportunity came up. By chance I went for it thinking “what do I have to lose”. It was nerve-wracking but exciting. This is what I had longed for. Going through university thinking it would take years to get into a full time job that I was happy in and what I had studied so long for. I was successful for the post and I have now began my journey based in Probation supporting not only volunteers but assisting service users on license in there day to day struggles. Now that’s rewarding!
I also volunteer one Sunday every month on the Black Country Independent Visitor project where I get to make a difference to a young person’s life in the care system. Again, the most amazing opportunity to make a difference to somebody’s life and enjoy it at the same time.

The opportunities are endless and the volunteers we have are the bread and butter of what we do. I am proud of how far I have come as a volunteer now staff member, but most of all I am extremely proud of the volunteers I get to recruit. I get to watch them flourish into amazing mentors and to give them that rewarding experience is indescribable.

I am proud to be part of this organisation both as a volunteer and staff member and as I will say every day I am extremely proud and value all our amazing mentors on all the projects that we have and the journey I have been on since graduating!

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