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Community Work Superviser – A career you can be proud of (Long)

Community Work Superviser – A career you can be proud of (Long)


If you look at the job description of a Community Work Supervisor, probably the key role is to manage offenders, that’s how it’s probably
described in there and there’s a couple of key things that you have to do which are quite
important. You’ve got to make sure that you have them
all in the van, that you know where they are at all times, that they’re safe and they’re
doing the work that’s assigned to them. The bit that it doesn’t describe is the opportunity
that you have to invest in their lives and that’s quite a powerful thing. An average day starts with us before the offenders
are there and we get the trailers ready, hooked onto the van, the food’s loaded in, the offenders
arrive, we then do a roll call, sign them up for the day, get their signatures and then
we’ll head out for the job, we’ll organise the job, talk about safety, then basically
we assign people to the tasks. 10 o’clock is morning tea time, we all come
in and we have our cup of tea. The community work supervisor starts to engage
with them, which is a requirement of what we do. You wouldn’t think that’s important but the
more you can engage with your offender, the more likely they are to have a successful
day and ultimately, you want to have a relationship that encourages them to not reoffend again
and that’s a long term goal that a community work supervisor has. Quarter to three, we wrap up the project for
the day, make sure that all the tools are back on the trailer, make sure that all the
people that are supposed to be there are still there and we come back to the centre. The offenders are released and we have a debrief
and that’s pretty much our day. If you’ve ever had teenagers and you know
how difficult they are when they ask for the car and what time they come home, that’s sometimes
who you’re dealing with on a work party and they don’t want to work, they don’t have much
energy, they don’t feel like lifting anything, they don’t take instructions very well…you’re
going to have to find, inside yourself, methods of not getting into an argument with them,
encouraging them to just take it down a level and getting them to participate in whatever
has to be done today. At the end of the day, they have got a work
sentence, they do need to complete their community work jobs everyday to complete that sentence
and we’re all trying to help each other get through that sentence in the least difficult
way possible. And that’s the kind of words they’re gonna
say – look, I’m on your side, the others are here to do it so you’re sharing the work with
them, you’re gonna make some friends and they’re gonna work alongside and that collegial kind
of approach means that yeah, we’re all in the same boat but let’s make the best of it
and hey, there’s some nice cookies for morning tea. If you’re going to take an adversarial approach
to it, then you’re quickly going to have quite an angry team and unfortunately, everyone’s
going to go home disgruntled – problem is, they probably won’t come back next week. I think the main challenges are getting them
there for kick off, you know, and getting them to turn up and do their community
work and to encourage them to keep coming along. It’s part of our role to help these guys to
complete their hours. If you make community work something that’s
completely unenjoyable for them, they’re not likely to want to come along, so I don’t know
that there’s anywhere in the rules that says community work has to be an unpleasant experience. Working with them, being respectful, building
teams… all these things go into making a healthy community work party. If you’re a great communicator, you’re going
to find this role excellent as far as being able to talk with people and relate to them. If you care about the outcomes of peoples’
lives, then that’s going to be another key issue of what you’re required. Hand in hand with that has got to be able
to project manage a work site and take logical decisions about anything that could go wrong
or could go right. I love this job because you get to work out in
the outdoors and typically it’s at a work site that’s one of the most beautiful locations
in New Zealand and you get to make it even look more beautiful. You come away from the day going wow, that
was really, really great and people working together as a unit can make a really big difference
to how a site looks and often it’s full of weeds and people left rubbish lying around,
the rubbish tins are falling over, the flowers are a bit dead and when you come away, everybody
feels the impact of a great day’s work at a work site. We often take a photo at the start and a photo
at the end and the difference is stunning and you come away thinking wow, that was a
really, really great day, everyone else is working in the office.

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