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How can youth service skills can be used in a more targeted way?

16 comments on “How can youth service skills can be used in a more targeted way?

  1. Emily |

    Instead of asking the question ‘How can youth service skills can be used in a more targeted way?’ I feel that the question should read ‘How can other services and organisations learn from the youth work process to deliver quality services to young people in Devon.’ The fact that emphasis has been placed on DYS failing in terms of safeguarding children and young people confuses me as Devon Youth Service only works with a relatively small age range within the broad term ‘Children and young people’ which I am assuming are people aged 0-19 years. What about the services that work with 0-11 year olds- are these also under review?

    Then we get to the apparent need for more work with ‘targeted’ young people. I am a full time youth worker employed by DYS and these are the labels given to the young people I have worked with in an average week: Young parents, Young carers, young people living in supported accommodation, young people at risk of exclusion from education and NEETs. Along with their ‘labels’, I know that many of these young people also have issues such as: mental health issues, unhealthy views of relationships making them more at risk of domestic abuse, low self esteem, a lack of communication skills, learning/ physical disabilities or behavioural/ anger management issues. The reason I know this about the young people I work with is because I am trained and qualified to use proven methods and processes to build and maintain trusting relationships with young people. But the most important aspect of all of this by far, is the fact that these young people havn’t been told that they have to engage with youth work, THEY CHOOSE TO.

  2. Steff Holwill |

    i am unsure if there is enough understanding of the outcomes generated for and with young people who could be considered ‘targeted’. anyone who closely examins the work of DYS will see very clearly that the bulk of our work is aimed at vulnerable young people, young people from deprived area, young people who are part of targeted families, young people on the edge of mainstream education, young offenders ect… DYS uses open access provision to provide targeted services to young people on an ongoing basis. DCC does have the techknowlegy to check these stats. youth work skills/youth work proccess, seem to be being used in a very effective way already. perhaps the review team could be a little clearer about what they mean by ‘Targeted’, if it is a different definition from the one currently being used.

  3. Judi Thomas |

    I have worked closely with Devon Youth Service for over 10 years. I know, from this direct experience, that the youth workers employed by the service provide a highly professional and specialist role. Their skills in working over a long term perspective to build relationships and work with young people in Centre based and outreach work are exceptional. The Youth Work Curriculum provides an evidence based quality assured framework for the service. Whether Centre based or mobile, DYS provides environments where young people feel safe, valued, can have fun and be supported holistically in their development to adulthood. This work means that they are able to capture issues for young people at an early stage, preventing further escalation of problems – a cost effective and efficient service model. DYS workers reach young people that others do not have the skills or resources to attract. Consider working more closely with other agencies that provide services for young people and bring the skills and experience of DYS workers to the wider preventative agenda. Preventative work is impossible to cost over the short term, but without it there is a real danger of costs escalating – not what you are seeking to achieve.

  4. Katie Bacon |

    Broad range of insightful comments on this debate. I used to work for Devon Youth Service in the Youth Participation team for vulnerable groups of young people. Due to limited resources we as a team had to explore diversifying how, when and where we engaged young people to enable them to communicate their views, aspirations and concerns about current and future youth provision in Devon.

    We explored using Social Media with the UKYP group and the young people helped us agree boundaries, informed consent, methods to connect and communicate in a professional manner. I mention this as Social Media and the internet is a creative tool to ‘compliment’ youth work practice to engage those young people who do not typically attend their local youth provision. It can help deconstruct preconceptions or concerns a young person may have to access the free sexual health drop in service, mental health workshop session, youth achievement awards or attend a music session. As they can visit a FB page, group, instragram or tumblr feed to check out who the practitioners are, photos of previous events and testimonials from other young people.

    In the Spring of 2013, we conducted an online survey (60 professionals) and group discussions (25 professionals) to understand and gain an insight into the experiences of youth practitioners and teacher’s use and application of social media within their everyday professional practice. As there is increasing awareness of the need to adopt and integrate social media and digital tools into the everyday professional practice of youth professionals and teachers.

    Please click here to download the pdf report: http://www.onlineyouthoutreach.co.uk/downloads/Finding_the_Digital_Edge.pdf

    Our research identified 77% of 85 youth practitioners/teachers use social media in their work with young people. Of note there is nearly an equal split in usage between communication (broadcast, notify, connect) and teaching.

    Our research also identified a remaining cohort, 23% of respondents, who advised that they did NOT use social media in their work with young people. Within this group there was a real sense of the concern around the blurring of professional boundaries and potential imposition on the privacy of young people.

    Twenty-four delegates were invited to discuss and share their views as senior managers, practitioners and students about the challenges, opportunities and solutions to activating and integrating Social Media into their everyday professional practice. The outputs have been summarized into 3 groups including Students, Practitioners and Senior Management each with a 2 page summary identifying opportunities and challenges followed by a page with recommendations.

    We hope you find the report useful and provides you with an insight into the opportunities to use Social Media to provide professionals and young people ‘The Digital Edge’ in preparation for future employment opportunities.

  5. Bill Keen |

    The consultation process implies a possible significant switch in emphasis from generic, open access youth services towards a more targeted form of provision. This has many implications, including the obvious change from a ‘pro – active’ approach ( early stage involvement ) to a more reactive approach ( serious or crisis stage involvement ): This could well lead to a potential increase in youth communities with serious problems over the medium to longer term.
    In addition, availability of generic, open access youth sessions, provides important opportunities for older teenagers to take on leadership responsibilities, achieve accredited volunteering and improve team working skills.
    Similarly, providing provision for young people below the age of 13 can assist greatly in helping develop successful youth work with the key 13-19 year age group.
    On a wider front, if the Devon Youth Service does suffer further financial cutbacks then, especially in market towns & rural areas, then partnerships with local communities would seem to offer a possible way of moderating cutbacks. However, to improve existing partnerships or establish new ones, takes time and the lack of visibility beyond the end of the current financial year creates huge uncertainty.

  6. ben |

    How youth service skills can be used in a more targeted way? Youth work skills are based on building quality, professional, supportive relationships with young people based around the key principle of voluntary engagement. starting with the young person at their starting point, no one elses. Youth workers skills are in the delivery of Youth Work Process, for and with that young person. Youth work does not centre around a singular targetted intervention with a young person, with a youth worker parachuted in to problem solve an issue. This has been clearly demonstatrated to me recently when having discussions with young people around this engagement process with the majority of young people that have engaged in discussion finding the idea of looking at “Needs” of young people in order to form criteria for shaping the service in the future an alien one, they looked at the criteria and said “Where am i in this”?
    for young people that access DYS youth provision, their reason for access isnt solely based on a need, the majority of young people dont attend their youth centre due to some crisis or need, they attend because its a fun, social, safe and positive place
    to be, and knowing that if / when something goes wrong for them, and they need support, guidance or advice then there is someone there who cares and will work to the best of there abilty to support them. Others have already made some solid statements around this and i dont wish to start repeating these, but perhaps i can pose an alternative question.
    What are the limits to using youth work skills and process in a more targetted way?

  7. Brian Lacey |

    My area has officially been classed as an area of Deprevation, There is a high proportion of young people living in this area and much of “East-the-Water” Bideford has social or small family units in high density housing. Six to Seven years ago we suffered from high levels of ASB, disorder and vehicle crime, this impacted greatly on the lives of residents living in the area with a lot of people actually frightened to go outside their doors once it got dark. Large concetrations of young people (some only 7 or 8 years old) would roam the streets of ETW causing problems with residents by noise, abusive language and disorderly behaviour, in particular around the Community Centre and this brought them into conflict with the management and patrons, additionally they would congregate at the Old Railway Station which had seen a lot of vehicle crime and vandalism. Due to an initiative by local Community Groups, Local Police and Devon Youth Services gradually we won back the area and through the Community Centre started started a Youth Club (ETW Yoofy) which became extremely popular and it was a haven for the youngsters, through the Police and Devon Youth Services although it has been hard work the past few years have seen such a change in the area, ASB is down by a considerable amount and the youngsters look forward to their Youth Club, because there are a lot of one parent families young people especially the girls look to the Youth Workers and female Police Officers as someone to confide in, to take anything like this away from a community like ours would be a waste of the resources ,time and effort put in by everyone concerned and would be a disaster for ETW and I can guarantee that the problems that beset ETW 7 years ago would not take 7 years to come back , the Youth Club and Youth Workers are needed in the Community, one more thing the ETW Yoofy does its own fund raising so we are not really a drain on limited resouces, we pay our rent to the Community Centre and take the Youngsters on field trips, have experts to the Club, purchase equipment, all paid for by the Youth Club, it would be a great loss to lose it.
    Brian Lacey, ETW Yoofy

  8. Simon Cohen |

    Just to pick up on a point or two: Youth centres do get used during the day by a host of organisations, many youth oreintated. This includes Young Fathers Networks, inclusion projects, Targeted Family Work, Youth Offending Team, Children in Care and a number of youth organisations on a permanent or project based, time limited activity. Sports groups, senior citizen groups, special needs groups and an array of community groups also use the youth centres. We do encourage other use when buildings have space but are always sensitive to it being a youth space first and formost. The use of centres by other organisations contribute to the cost of the buildings therefore ensuring more money for youth work resources including youth workers.
    DYS have strong links with schools and offer programmes such as student support services (listening and signposting) to outreach once a week or more, at a lunch time to build relationships with young people and to promote and remind young people and teachers of the youth service offer.

    I would welcome traditional targeted services such as Youth offending and social care working alongside youth services in the centres , projects and streets in the evening when young people feel supported in engaging with the targeted services. This has been done with good results in the recent past but is often short term project driven rather than a strategic direction. Services working with young people and families when they are more likely to be available (after school and in the evenings etc) has to be seen as a way forward. The Police have commented in a number of places how they have seen the positive difference in the community since a youth centre has opened (South Molton and East Devon I think are mentioned) this surely reduces the need for more expensive targeted work, surely a preventative model would be more cost effective ?

  9. Jon Scott |

    It is misleading I think to talk about transferability of youth work skills. We should instead be talking about the transfer of youth work process.

    This is aside from the arguments that have been clearly made in other comments which I support that the youth service is already delivering targeted youth work projects, that targeted work is grounded in generic open access work, and the majority of young people accessing the youth service have needs and circumstances that would identify them as vulnerable and the focus of targeted work.

    Of course youth workers as trained and qualified professionals have a whole range of skills from relationship building with hard to reach young people, to organisation and management, to informal education to name just a few. However when we talk about transferability of youth work skills, the implication is that youth workers can simply be transferred to any working environment and youth work will happen. As a creative, adaptable and flexible work force, this may be the case in the short term but it is not sustainable in the long term.

    Youth workers need the right environment to practice their skills and deliver the youth work process. Fundamentally young people’s engagement needs to be voluntary, they choose to take part, and youth workers need to be able to start from where young people are at and work in a holistic way. It is essential that there is the time to build trusting relationships with young people at their own pace and that there is continuity in the relationship so that young people can access support along their journey at a level that is relevant to them. Other vital ingredients are youth work colleagues and managers that facilitate the critical reflection and evaluation of the process and training by youth workers for youth workers. Equally important are safe, accessible and well resourced centres and mobiles where young people have ownership and youth workers can practice youth work. Young people that are the focus of targeted work will need places to go and projects to engage in before, during and crucially after the targeted intervention.

    What I’m trying to put across is you can not have youth work skills in isolation, there needs to be structure around it to get good quality youth work process.
    Devon has a quality Youth Service and young people deserve the best.

  10. Clare Tucker |

    I think there must have been a glich in the system because I posted this Yesterday Mid day so I will repeat mycomment as below.
    Asking this question suggests that the questioner has little or no knowledge of the existing service or, maybe, that the expectations are for the service to work with more than 84% of those young people identified as having additional needs that we work with and that is a big, expensive ask of a service that has already experienced substantial cuts. I agree with Lisa Rutter, Andy Doherty, Anon and am unable to add anything to the description of the work we, up to three years ago, had recognised as a successful, professional contribution to the welfare and outcomes of young people in Devon. Our partner agencies, which include school nurses, the police, community safety, schools, the voluntary sector, the community and not least of all young people have contributed to evidencing and valuing the work we do. Devon County Council are in the unenviable position of having to make £100 million cuts to the public purse but the significant, preventative nature of our role would make any more changes and cuts to Devon Youth Service a false economy. If there is an expectation for the 100 equivalent full time workers to deliver a new service, then retraining and possible redundancies will be costly. As other contributors have mentioned the idea that we will be delivering youth work to the most targeted young people by working ‘cold’ and without the voluntary engagement, well, that is a new role and a different job. In addition the young people that would usually not come into the ‘tier’ spectrum because we work with them in their social settings in a preventative way would begin to impact on the statistics for poor outcomes as their resilience has been developed with youth workers and youth work. I would also suggest that we cannot underestimate the benefit of having a safe, fun, social space for all young people to engage with a professional team of adults, whatever their ability, ethnicity, sexuality or socioeconomic background. That safety is supported by the development of peer groups of young people to influence positive behaviour through senior member volunteering, youth panels and UKYP and this way of working has proven it’s worth over and over again.

  11. Avril Machen |

    Generic Work is a foundation for targeted provision which is already happening through the youth work Process! ie 1 young person who is doesnt engage with other privion (& who is already on the TF list) is now about to become a trained senior Member.
    If this is not positive outcomes and targeted work what is please?

  12. Avril Machen |

    Youth Work is a “PROCESS” and distinctly different from “working with young people”. Youth worker are PROFESSIONALLY trained and are able to intergate positive outcomes for young people.

  13. colleen pearce |

    The vision document states that the local authority has a duty to secure a local offer for young people that is sufficient to meet the local needs and improve young people’s wellbeing, personal and social development. Where the authority does not provide this offer itself then it has the duty to ensure that the agencies that do have the skill set and ability to deliver effective services successfully.

    Later in the document it states that there is already a robust universal offer (outside of DYS) within the third sector and cites the Scouts, leisure facilities and other universal settings. Whilst these are meaningful activities for young people to engage in they are distinctly different from youth work.

    If we were to consider the work of DYS in the same ilk as the activities mentioned above then the current universal offer would simply be a response to the “somewhere to go and something to do” agenda. This is clearly not the case. The universal, open access generic provision provided in Devon by DYS is a point of entry for many young people to the PROCESS of youth work. Where they begin to make the relationships with youth workers who have the ability to use this process to transform what is possible for that young person. Educational programmes of work, based on evidence of need, are delivered in open access generic (or universal) provisions. Programmes of work which are clearly planned delivered and evaluated to measure the outcomes for young people and the wider community. For those young people with additional needs, targeted, specific interventions are developed in response to that need. It is the youth work process that enables the young people to achieve the outcome, not the activity or intervention that is used as a tool.

    To understand and implement the process of youth work takes time and a clear set of skill/ knowledge/value base which can only be achieved through rigorous training and continual professional development.

    if the vision is to separate out the open access from the targeted work (which is very difficult unless the local authority intends universal provision to be a response for things and places for young people to do and go as opposed to youth work) then I am unsure how this will meet the need to provide sufficient services to young people with regards to wellbeing and personal and social development. A newly configured Targeted Youth Support Service may well be able to respond to the needs of some young people but to what sustainable effect when the process is entered into incorrectly?

    Youth work and work with young people are abjectly different and I urge those who will make the decisions with regards to the new youth offer to not only acknowledge this but also understand it to ensure the very best for the young people in Devon.

  14. lisa rutter |

    Reading through the website and especially the section on current provision makes it clear frommy perspective as an experienced, professional manger within Devon YouthService, that there is lack of clarity about DYS as one of the main providers
    of services to young people in Devon. The section oncurrent provision in my opinion, fails to recognise or offer the reader adefinition of the distinct education process of youth work – I think this isimportant and would like to add to the debate on offer.

    My starting point – Youth work is an informal educational process, with the outcomes for young people of – personal, social andpolitical development. This translates to understanding and valuing self, others and making sense of the make up of society and the wider world. As anaside, youth work also offer young people the opportunity to gain a host of practical and life skills, on their journey through the youth work process.

    Devon Youth Service delivers YOUTH WORK – it is incorrect, in my opinion, for it to be considered simply as a Universal service. It is open access provision that offers a range of universal and targeted work. Targeted work can be specific projects designed to meet the identified needs of groups of young people but is also the process of targeting interventions towards individuals within a group work setting. DYS also outreaches it ‘group’ youth work offer to others and has the skill base towork with individuals – transferable skills.

    Youth workers skills are developed through working in groupwork setting where teenagers engage because they choose to. Youth work is non authoritarian, non judgemental, non discriminatory and is based on association (a need to belong) – peers and community. Few young people walk into a youth centre on their first few visits and ask for help and support – the youth work interventions usually take place once and when a trusting relationship has been
    formed.

    How many young people will loose out on help, guidance and support if the environments that attract them are no longer there? If teenager’s, can not associate with their peers, within their community – as paramount, to any activity on offer – then how else will they test out their boundaries and learn about risk in a safe educational setting (all be it informal) – centre or street? Where will young people interact with trusted adult’s whose purpose and training predominantly
    focuses on the them individually and collectively, finding their voice,
    influencing the offer they are engaged in and the community in which they live?

    Establishing mutual respect, demonstrating empathy and having the ability to build rapport are the key skills of the youth worker. These are transferable skills but without the training ground of large youth work settings or the ability to engage the harder to reach ‘groups’ of young people through street based youth work, it is hard to believe that the skill base will remain and stand the test of time in Devon and Nationally.

    Working in an environment where there are large numbers of young people, the majority of which would be considered as tier 2 & 3 individuals (hence DYS is a more target than universal provider) – is the real skill that should not be lost from our communities. It is not easy to work with large groups of teenagers who amongst them have a broad spectrum of vulnerabilities, needs, many of which are complex or multiple. Youth workers enable young people to make their own informed choices and start their work from where the young person’s starting point is. This is a challenge to any adults experience and perception of power. Empowering young people, can only be achieved through a strong value base, and belief that young people will learn through their own decision making (this will include making some poor decisions on the way). The process known as the youth worker ‘relationship’ is often built up over aperiod of years – this makes the youth work relationship unique.

    Youth workers are best placed to make an ‘Early Help’ offerand (as a manger within the service), I do believe far more could be done to link other agencies into young people’s lives, when there is an escalation of need or risk is identified. Where this becomes complex but needs more open debate is the challenge of – how will any ‘youth offer’ bring support or service to young people, in the evenings in setting acceptable to them. Even if DYS, as we know it, survived budgetary cuts, will others improve joint up work by coming out to young people and work with them during unsociable hours?

    If we are to look at how youth service skills can be used in a more targeted way, let’s first ensure we understand what those skills are, how they are learnt. Let’s, for once, grapple with and be clear about the monetary and social value we place on preventative work. With such real and difficult budgetary constraints driving change, let’s first understand what we will loose – I suggest, only in doing so, can we measure what might be gained or achieved for young people in the future.

  15. Anon |

    There are a couple of fundamental flaws in this question. Firstly the myth
    of ‘Youth work skills’ is a misnomer, the educational methodology used by
    professional, highly trained youth workers is a subtle alchemy of many various
    factors, which include among many others, voluntary engagement from the young
    people, a completely young person focused approach, which starts and ends at
    the young persons request – not a need to ‘fix them’. A long-term trusting
    relationship, built through informal settings (youth clubs, street based etc).
    The threat here, with this restructure is that there is a belief that because
    youth workers are perceived to be ‘nice, non-judgmental and approachable’ they
    could be so in any environment; this is like saying that any crafts-person
    would be as skilled without the tools of their trade, like asking a dentist to
    fix your knee (without their surgery), both may well understand anaesthesia and
    the like but its not the dentists professional background, experience and
    training – the personal commitment to help people from a medical professional
    would ensure that they would do their absolute best to fix your knee but the
    reality is that the injury would be better served by a doctor of course.

    The question should not be how can youth service skills be used in a more
    targeted way because as is clearly shown by the evidence, 84% of the work
    undertaken by the Youth Services’ universal provision (yes all that
    pool-playing and ‘hanging around with kids’) is used by young people who would
    be classified as needing or receiving targeted support. How much more emphasis
    on ‘targeted work’ is needed?

    This brings me to my second point, which is that by only reviewing and redesigning the Youth Service (not service’s) in isolation DCC can only ever hope to move it inline with existing services that have recently been deemed unsatisfactory in a safeguarding Ofsted inspection. Thus by definition the ‘Youth Offer’ cannot venture too far from the existing model of support and ‘Offer’ – it is too restrictive to achieve the impact and outcomes required by this potentially devastating process. The risks are too high.

    Devon has one of the last remaining local authority run Youth Services in
    the country for a reason, it has been recognized nationally as delivering
    excellent (youth work defined) outcomes for young people. The youth service,
    although historical an educational service, has been asked to contribute to the
    safeguarding agenda (it has a clear role to play without doubt). As a
    consequence, it is, as it always has, adapted to new targets and ways of
    working.

    At a conference today about the national movement in the Child Sexual
    Exploitation and missing children arena I have heard speaker after speaker
    talking about how the research is showing clear methods of tackling this
    problem – they have been explaining the youth work process, just using
    different terminology. The strategies for helping our most vulnerable young
    people is through long term – open ended support from highly trained staff who
    can work alongside young people, on
    their terms, to slowly help them.

    Surely then the only way to truly redesign and restructure the ‘Youth Offer’
    for young people in Devon is to ask the question

    “How can we ensure that the youth-work methodology and our professional
    trained youth workers (and Youth Service) are at the centre of our ‘Youth
    offer’ in Devon.

    I only ask one more question, if the drivers for restructure and change are
    to respond to this new targeted agenda and a unsatisfactory Ofsted (there has
    been no financial figure for savings placed on to the process), why is this
    review not taking into account ALL the departments and DCC agencies and
    services in this arena – is there anyone in the commissioning team, or in the
    cabinet or DCC that has the vision (and I would imagine very strong sense of character
    and bravery if I am honest) to see what really needs to be done and place this
    review on hold until we can truly look at ALL the ‘Youth Offer’ in Devon and
    ask our communities and partners and stakeholders for truly innovative
    solutions to new ways of working that could be regarding nationally and beyond
    and truly in keeping with the localism agenda and provides the best possible
    support for EVERY young person in Devon via a robust set of distinct services –
    each playing to their skills and experience and professionalism, I believe that
    the workforce in the youth service would absolutely engage in such a process,
    at present we have about 2 weeks left to help shape the options that will come
    forward for the future of this most vital of services for young people in our
    community.

  16. Andy Doherty |

    I read a statistic a few years ago that said youth work provision in both statutory and voluntary sectors are accessed by 2% of 13-19 year olds in the UK. That’s shocking!

    In rural areas of Devon few young people can access a youth centre for an evening as they live miles away and are without a bus service or the fares are just too expensive or infrequent.

    I value universal provision, preventative work is the cornerstone of youth work and through this process individuals and groups with needs can be targeted and the appropriate project devised; in partenr ship with young people this approach is young person centred, negotiated, agreed, effective and it works. It is not imposed, rejected, resented, irrelevant, which some targeted work be accused of being because programmes are to rigid with defied outcomes that are so far off the mark of what the young people actually need. This is the skill, art or even craft of youth work, yet it is not valued in our society. Why?. Because in my opinion nobody knows very much about youth work in our society.

    Why doesn’t anyone know about it? Because it’s still thought of as somewhere to play pool, Few people in society actually know it is a profession with a clear ethical code and methodology.

    Who is making a case for youth work? Virtually Nobody! Youth Workers who actually have a full-time job with a decent salary probably number in the tens rather than the hundreds in Devon. They are under a massive strain just to keep the service alive and are not afforded the time to make a case for youth work in our communities. Other youth workers on part-time contracts may or may not be professionally trained and are just employed on a sessional basis, whereas what is need are more well trained, professional youth workers to work 37 hour weeks during the day as well as some evenings and not just to deliver face-to-ace work but to campaign and create, innovate and progress the provision for young people.

    This doesn’t happen because youth work does not happen where young people are for the majority of their time; in schools.
    Why? Youth Work has historically avoided working in schools (apart from the occasional project) as it feared being consumed by informal education and losing it’s distinctive approaches, based on facilitation and relationship building where knowledge is a reciprocal, mutual process as opposed to a one way, top down form of education.

    Well now the youth service is going to be a targeted provision anyway, maybe working inside schools wouldn’t be so bad..

    Why?
    Youth Workers could provide a much higher level provision of pastoral support and pupils would also benefit from youth worker’s training in social education. A great deal of youth work could happen in the playground or in the classroom.
    Youth workers would be more effective and better trained than classroom teaching assistants. Some teaching assistants actually have no educational training, youth workers have a clear educational structure and better understand professional boundaries and young people.
    Youth workers in some cases do already work in school support, they support young people better than most other professions who work with children and teenagers. Yet they only do so for a few hours in the evening.
    After school clubs could take place run by youth workers.

    This would all be preventative work – conversely targeted work would become less and less.

    Relationships made between young people and their youth workers would raise the profile of youth work in communities, numbers in youth centres would increase. If youth centres do not exist a school common room could be used.

    This is also more environmentally sound, heating a youth centre all day when it is used for just 3 hours in the evening is frankly a waste of tax payers’ money. Having ‘Community Colleges’ or schools sat empty after 3:30 or 4 pm is also a waste of money.

    Youth and community work is ideal to deliver what is known as PSHE in schools. PSHE is currently delivered by teachers with an array of knowledge, but are they social educators? Youth and Community Workers are social educators.

    Social educators do question society, young people will too. Much like they do in subjects like history. Here critial thinking is valued as a life long skill. However Micahel Gove wants a return to rote learning about facts; basically no questioning, being ‘good little ctizens’.

    So two reasons why Youth and Community Workers aren’t in schools

    Youth Workers are too fearful of losing their identity – Newsflash it’s being lost anyway!

    Politicians may see youth work as too subversive – Youth and Community Work is about awareness raising and making informed decisions in our society.I’ll say no more than that.

    Youth work also an important role to play in sustainability, not necessarily environmentally sustainability but social sustainability both of which are linked.
    Social sustainability has links to youth work, education, community work, equality, creating work opportunities, relationships, familes, care, justice, etc in a way that sustains, values and protects the environment and resources.

    This is the area youth work should move into, though beware papers like sustainable futures in 2007 which does not address the problems we face as a County and indeed a global community. Sustainable growth and sustainable development are the terms used by the government though they just protect economic interests and not social or environmental needs.

    Youth work in devon could look toward ‘education for sustainability’ though the ‘youth service’ may not be able to as it governed by council and government policy.

    I’d be happy to talk about this further.

    I’d just like taxes and skills to be put to effective use as opposed to the merry go round of cuts, streamlining and shifts in provision I always hear about. It’s pointless and boring and it is failing our youth.