Homegrown talent: Josh

Josh at West Library

Josh reflects on his work placement and designing West Library’s new youth employment hub

Since autumn 2020, architects Public Works have been working with young people from the Cally to design a new youth employment hub, which will be housed on the currently disused first floor hall at West Library.

In November, the design team was joined by Josh and Mae, two young people from the Cally, as part of a paid placement opportunity created through the We Are Cally project.

“From early talks with different local youth organisations it became clear that the project could offer training and placement opportunities, especially in the design stages,” says Carlotta from the architect team. “We wanted to work with local young people to get input and feedback on the look of the design, making sure the new hub would relate to and welcome young people of Cally. Local young people are the ones who know what could work for them and we wanted to make sure their voice is heard during all stages of the project.”

Josh and Mae have been working with the design team – getting paid the London Living Wage and getting first-hand experience of the world of work – for three half days a week for three months, ending in February 2021.

We caught up with Josh who was helping U- Build, the contractor, construct two meeting pods within the main hall of the employment hub:

What did you do during your placement with We Are Cally?
I worked with Public Works on the design of the new youth employment hub, which was great. It really benefitted me. I worked alongside interior designers and the architects to create a space that young people will really enjoy, creating the pods which hopefully will make young people feel comfortable, relaxed and talk about what they want to do. I found it really insightful working alongside people already in the career that I want to pursue, so it was definitely a good opportunity to get some experience under my belt.

The design tasks we were set were interesting and helped me to learn how to work effectively and efficiently with others. It was challenging communicating and explaining my ideas to others, as it was all very new to me. I feel that it was something I used to be anxious about, but I have definitely become more confident in myself.

What did you learn?
It wasn’t only a brilliant couple months of experience, it has also made me more confident in my own work and made me think more about the importance of design intent and the prep work before actually starting with designing. I was definitely able to implement what I’d learnt into my own work. I also learnt how to use the Sketch Up 2 package which is 3D modelling software. The work placement had a massive impact on me and I’m now at uni studying interior design.

How do you feel today?
It’s amazing being here, building what we designed, seeing it in real life. I’m so happy the way it finished. I feel I really contributed to the end result, I was listened to and worked with a great team. Now we are getting to work building the pods and the rest of the employment hub. I can’t wait to see what it looks like when it’s finished.

Visit the council website to find out more about the new youth employment hub at West Library. If you have any queries, please contact Graham.Hughes@islington.gov.uk

To learn more about great career, apprenticeship and training opportunities in Islington, visit the Islington Working jobsite. For information on support and development programmes, visit the council’s dedicated training and skills page.


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