Gemma Burns Project Worker

My background is in youth work and informal education. At school, I was lucky enough to receive sexual health education from the Health Opportunities Team.
Tel: 07494 850 527

Key Strengths

  • Kind, caring and gentle
  • Good to talk to and a fantastic listener
  • Willing to share knowledge
  • Reassuring and complimentary
  • Fantastic with young people
  • Warm and friendly
  • Caring and smart
  • A great team member
  • A fun person
  • Kind, warm, cheerful, calm, & enthusiastic
  • Calm energy that puts young people at ease
  • Approachable and easy to talk to
  • Super experienced, kind and thoughtful
  • An open and caring individual who brings a wealth of substance use + youth work knowledge to the team
  • Thoughtful, warm and take an interest in others.
  • A skilled worker with young people

I’m a good project worker because:

  • I am passionate about the rights of all young people and care about their well being
  • I am knowledgeable and want to keep learning
  • I love interacting with people and learning their stories

About Gemma

My background is in youth work and informal education.  At school, I was lucky enough to receive sexual health education from the Health Opportunities Team. I remember feeling really impressed by the way the worker made us all feel at ease and got us chatting, the conversations about what we’d learned and talked about continued into us walking home.  At that point, I knew that this is the type of work I’d love to be involved in.

After school, I began volunteering with a youth organisation as a peer educator to deliver drug and alcohol education sessions to other young people all across Scotland. 

After a couple of years of building up my knowledge and experience of working with lots of young people, I was given a full-time job within the organisation to work with marginalised young people across Edinburgh in a range of settings.

I completed the Personal Development Award in Youth Work which gave me an opportunity to reflect upon my practice and learn about youth work theory.

After working with a deaf young person, I completed an introductory course in British Sign Language to help me communicate with people who use this – I loved it and would like to continue learning this when I can (so as I can communicate more than my name and ‘Irn Bru’!).

At this time, I wanted to develop my skills in working in sexual health and took on a sessional role to deliver group work in schools around sexual health and relationships.

This experience gave me the skills and experience needed to work part-time at HOT, to run a health drop in and deliver risk-taking behaviours education (sexual health, alcohol awareness and mental wellbeing) in schools and youth settings. After gaining some experience and confidence, I decided to go to university to study Community Education.

I really enjoyed studying, but unfortunately was unable to complete the course at that time. I have a Diploma in Higher Education, but I would like to complete the course at some point.

During my time of study, I worked sessionally at HOT, ran an after-school club; and a family drop in and since then have worked in Polmont Young Offenders and within Edinburgh to raise awareness of alcohol-related issues through group work, peer education, parent sessions and professional training.

I am now back at HOT working with young people who are affected by their own or parental substance use, I have completed the Turn Around Therapeutic Training and looking forward to attending a counselling course this year to develop my skills in therapeutic work with young people.

In my spare time I enjoy baking, reading, attending the odd pub quiz and seeing live music.