Kathrin Voigt studied social work at Magdeburg-Stendal University of Applied Sciences and now runs the child and youth welfare facility "Haus Achterbahn" in Schönebeck. On May 15, she will return to the Magdeburg campus for the company contact fair to share her enthusiasm for child and youth work with current students.

"I know that the work is bearing fruit"

"You want me to describe myself in just three words? Authentic, relaxed and reliable," says 44-year-old Kathrin Voigt, who lives in Magdeburg. The alumna graduated from Magdeburg-Stendal University of Applied Sciences with a degree in social work from 2000 to 2006. After a two-year stopover at a church welfare association, she joined AWO in 2008 - an organization whose values she readily identifies with. Since 2022, she has been head of the child and youth welfare facility "Haus Achterbahn" in Schönebeck. "I have arrived, yes!"

Between youth work and rock music

The likeable woman in her mid-forties is a music fan and rocks out with passion at concerts and festivals. "When I dance, I immediately feel free!" This balance is important to her, because her daily challenge is to keep finding a creative way to show children and young people with difficult fates better ways. "Sometimes there are bad days, but then a child's smile helps and I'm grounded again." And in her free time, "rocking out in the mud" is what keeps Kathrin's life grounded.

Basically, she appreciates doing something meaningful with her work and enjoying a lot of variety. "Every day is different, I don't know monotony."

Looking back on her studies

When she thinks back to her studies, she has particularly fond memories of Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Heckmann's psychology lectures. "I liked his practical stories and thought it was great that he was really interested in us students," says Voigt. The work within various projects at the university and many internships were also helpful for her future career. "Social work is broadly diversified and thanks to the internships I had the space I needed to try things out," she says, describing the practical relevance that is still valued and practiced by students today.

The only downer is actually not really a minus point at all, because the fact that the course could have gone into more depth in some areas is not so easy to implement in social work. "There is no universal handbook for working with people." The academic and practical tools of the trade are taught at the university - today as a Bachelor's and Master's degree course in Magdeburg.

Kathrin advises future students: "Take whatever lectures you can get. You'll pay a lot of money for further training later!" Her second tip applies not only to campus life, but to life in general: "You can doubt yourself, but never despair!"

Incidentally, Kathrin Voigt didn't have to struggle with her job search and certainly didn't have to despair, because when she applied to the AWO, she was told during the interview: "Please start tomorrow!"

Company contact fair

The company contact fair on May 15, 2024 on the campus in Magdeburg offers the university alumna an opportunity to find potential specialists. "It gives me the opportunity to talk to students directly and explain to them why it's worth getting into child and youth welfare despite the unattractive working hours." In her view, the AWO's core values of "freedom, equality, justice, solidarity and tolerance" are practiced in everyday life. "Working together is very pleasant here." As a large charitable organization, the AWO also offers the option of getting to know different areas.

The fair should also be a good place for Kathrin Voigt to put her mind at ease. She still remembers the fears she had as a young student: "Will I really be able to help people?" Today, she knows where she stands and sees that her work is bearing fruit. She will also passionately tell today's students and prospective students about this. On May 15 at the company contact fair in Magdeburg. That's a promise!

Photo: Sebastian Möser.