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Photograph of Joanne Sims

Joanne Sims is a member of the Interim Youth Work Board

Jo Sims has worked within the Youth Service and Youth Sector for 20 years. After graduating from university, she worked in Russia as an English teacher, then returned home to initially volunteer and later work as a youth worker in Newport Youth Service. The role involved piloting and developing school based youth work and emotional literacy programmes and worked as both a detached youth worker and centre based across Newport. Later, she worked as a Senior Youth Worker in a voluntary sector youth project in the centre of Merthyr Tydfil.

She developed an interest in a rights based approach to working with young people during the developments of Extending Entitlement and further developed this through working for a short time with the Children’s Society, later Tros Gynnal and finally spent 6 years with the Children’s Commissioner for Wales as the Senior Participation Officer.

For the past 11 years she has worked as Blaenau Gwent’s Youth Service Manager, developing the service to provide a range of open access and targeted youth work programmes, acting as the strategic lead for the Youth Engagement and Progression Framework and lead on the developments of the South East Wales European Social Fund (ESF) Youth Inspire programmes.

More recently as part of a wider remit, Jo manages the commissioned relationship between the Council and the Leisure Trust and oversees the Post 16 Partnership. She currently represents Blaenau Gwent at the Principal Youth Officers' Group (PYOG) and sits on the Education Standards Committee (ETS Wales), which endorses Joint Negotiating Committee (JNC) Youth and Community Work programmes in Higher Education Institutions across Wales.

She currently lives in Ystradfellte, Powys on a farm with her partner and children, is a Welsh learner, supporting her children through Welsh medium education, college and university.