We still need to be making much more noise about youth work

Something that youth work has never been very good at is shouting, loud and proud, about its achievements.  Schools do it endlessly, other voluntary sector organisations do it and businesses certainly do it, but in many youth provisions there seems to be a kind of cultural humbleness attached to what they do.

I suspect there may be a self-fulfilling prophecy at play here, full of self-doubt and uncertainty.  Youth work has had a public image problem for decades, often seen as the poorer cousin of ‘education’ by the general public and the media alike.

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A Re-invigorated Role for Youth Work?

In these times of austerity, continuing deficit reductions and the closure of so-called ‘lesser priority’ services have seen the position and value of youth work severely questioned. The true reality of this depends very much, of course, on locality and positioning within either public or third sectors. Does this then foretell the end for youth work?

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We need to talk about outcomes

The title of this post will most likely send shivers down the spines of many youth practitioners, and I can understand why. Youth work has it’s foundation in volunteering, providing safe spaces, creating opportunities, building relationships and providing a compassionate ear for young people, who choose to participate.

Ever since 18th Century chapels and churches opened their doors for Sunday schools, the informality of what the sector has been doing is what many see as it’s strength, . The rigours of targets and key performance indicators doesn’t seem to sit comfortably along side an informal, adaptable and needs-led approach. The very language…..accountability, tracking, impact assessment…….seems incongruous and intimidating to the sector.

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Why social media is important for Chief Executives

I was asked to write a blog about social media and CEOs so here it is.

I had an interesting twitter exchange earlier this week about whether and if we should be ‘making a fuss’ and celebrating and encouraging social CEOs. I understood their point that it isn’t rocket science and it got me thinking. So here, my thoughts on being a charity CEO and why we have to get to grips to social media.

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Get some good professional supervision

In over a decade of my career I have had over a dozen supervisors throughout half a dozen or so youth work specialties. Some of these supervisors were Youth Workers, some Social Workers, some Pastors and some drug and alcohol workers. Their qualifications had ranged from Diploma level to Masters degrees and one had no formal welfare qualifications at all. Not an unknown factor to those of us who have chosen a career in the youth sector.

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Where’s the Social Capital for Young People?

There are so many wonderful initiatives supporting young people towards employment, training, enterprise, and ultimately independence.  Many work with young people to develop their mindsets, others help them to develop essential life skills, some provide access to role models and mentors, there is a growing field which creates the opportunity for entrepreneurship and innovation among young people, and lots help to develop pathways to further or higher education.

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Alchemy in the UK (part #2): Re-thinking youth work in the North East

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For their 25th birthday, the Regional Youth Work Unit in the North East has given itself a vibrant re-brand.

And why not? 25 years is a significant achievement, especially in the current climate. And having reduced their dependency on local authority funding from 80% to just 3% of turnover in ten years, who better to lead the region in a constructive exercise entitled Re-thinking Youth Work, their annual conference at which I was honoured to speak in Middlesbrough last week.

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Alchemy in the UK (part #1): Slotting together the youth work pieces in the South West

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Having gone through something of a personal brand realignment in 2013 (Voluntary Sector Evangelist to Alchemist, with Jedi already in pre-production), I was thrilled recently to have an opportunity to flesh out my threadbare new philosophy at Slotting the Pieces Together – the annual youth work conference of Learning South West.

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Why every young person should have a coach

It seems these days that everyone has a coach, I have one, my colleagues have one, my friends have one, even Richard Branson has one, and now finally young people can have one too.  Like wheels on suitcases, it amazes me how long it took to realise that this is a good idea.

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Proud to launch Supplementary Advice to the DfEE statutory Sex and Relationship Education Guidance (0116/2000)

Today I am proud that Brook in partnership with PSHE Association and Sex Education Forum has launched Supplementary Advice to update Government’s Statutory Sex and Relationship Education Guidance published in 2000. All of us committed to ensuring children and young people’s entitlement to good education about sex and relationships as part of PSHE education whatever school they are in, wherever they are in the country.

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