10 things that might make being a Youth worker easier.

I have a feeling this might be the last blog I write before Christmas, and so thank you for reading this, for reading my ramblings over the last 12 months in 2015, for contributing comments, for sharing them. I hope beyond anything else that a tiny fraction of what I have written has been useful, inspiring, caused you to think, and help you in your practise of youthwork. After a lengthy blog on Monday on the Prevent policy and consultation, this one is borne out of some of the key issues that seem to be going around the youth work world at the moment, and might make life a bit easier, fruitful or constructive for a youth worker, in whatever setting.

So, if there were 10 thing that could happen to make being a youth worker easier then these would surely rank up high in them;

  1. Having Funding that allows for long term values based youth work to actually happen
  2. Being managed according to youthwork values & having consistent management in whatever organisation or agency.
  3. Having an external supervisor- who also knows what youthwork is all about, and an organisation that encourages you to be professionally supervised.
  4. Working for an organisation where you don’t have to justify your existence all the time, especially in terms of outcomes. and that includes churches, actually that includes churches big time, and maybe not clergy, but congregations. Though as ever it starts with Clergy, Bishops etc…
  5. Having clear pathways of progression, and I know ambition or career isn’t for everyone, but some kind of career path. Scrub that, given that so many have lost their jobs, It would be easier for youth workers if there were jobs. lets not be picky or ahead of ourselves.
  6. Better networks of youth workers in rural areas. or at least outside the big centres of youthwork provision, should there be any.
  7. For people to trust the youth workers approach, philosophy or practice, after all they are the youth worker.  Ask questions yes, help and support definitely, but in the same way you wouldnt suggest to a surgeon how to remove your appendix, have the same trust in the methods that the youth worker is doing.
  8. For the youthwork centres of academia to continue to support their graduates with ongoing CPD afterwards.
  9. For youth workers, especially in church/christian faith based organisation settings  to get some kind of paid sabbatical, regardless of where theyve applied their practice over a lengthy period of time.  Would that be great..? If academics and Clergy can – why not youthworkers? after all its a valued ministry in the church isn’t it? oh…. guess its not that valued then… – and going on a conference doesnt count.
  10. For former youthworkers to get involved in Politics at the highest level, or the highest levels of the church, in the education department,  in the establishment to be able to change things, and fight for the possibility of youthwork in the future.

Rant over, there’s probably a ton of stuff to add to this one. Sometimes its tough enough just working with young people, without the hassle or worry or added stress that some of the above can bring. Oh, and i know, what could be more difficult that just playing table tennis with young people…

Happy Christmas youth workers everywhere!



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