chapter  4
16 Pages

Falling in at the Deep End: Becoming a Hostel Worker

WithEmma Wincup

This chapter draws on the experiences of workers new to residential work with offenders, and recollections of established staff of their early days, and offers sociological analyses of the process of becoming a residential worker. Wright and Davies argue that the process of becoming a probation officer involves 'cultural absorption into a framework of role and function, professional identity and agency context'. This is comparable to hostel work. At the same time as individuals need to establish their role and function as hostel workers, they also need to establish a professional identity and locate their work within a broader context. Examining how hostel workers establish a professional identity requires consideration of the role of hostels and the teams who work within them in shaping and moulding individuals who are simultaneously creating their own professional identities, drawing on their own unique experiences. Negotiating a professional identity takes places in the context of renegotiating of their personal identities.