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THINKING SERIOUSLY ABOUT … The Future of the Youth Service Maurice Devlin (NUI Maynooth) The Purpose and Outcomes of Youth Work 25 November 2009.

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Presentation on theme: "THINKING SERIOUSLY ABOUT … The Future of the Youth Service Maurice Devlin (NUI Maynooth) The Purpose and Outcomes of Youth Work 25 November 2009."— Presentation transcript:

1 THINKING SERIOUSLY ABOUT … The Future of the Youth Service Maurice Devlin (NUI Maynooth) The Purpose and Outcomes of Youth Work 25 November 2009

2 THINKING SERIOUSLY ABOUT … The Future of the Youth Service Starting point: purpose and outcomes inextricably linked – or should be! (Intended) outcomes an expression/enactment of purpose The purpose of youth work is above all else educational and developmental “Youth work’s primary concern is with the education of young people in non-formal settings, and education is by definition a planned, purposeful and conscious process (whereas “learning” may or may not be planned and purposeful, and may or may not be conscious).” (National Youth Work Development Plan, 2003)

3 THINKING SERIOUSLY ABOUT … The Future of the Youth Service Definition from Youth Work Act (RoI) 2001 Youth work is…a planned programme of education designed for the purpose of aiding and enhancing the personal and social development of young persons through their voluntary involvement…which is - –(a) complementary to their formal, academic and vocational education and training; and –(b) provided primarily by voluntary organisations.’ [s. 3]

4 THINKING SERIOUSLY ABOUT … The Future of the Youth Service Youth Work: A Model for Effective Practice (2003) “Personal and social development is concerned with the young person gaining knowledge, understanding and awareness of him/herself as an individual and as an active participant in relationships with others…..Personal and social development is an expansive term which must be adapted to the constantly changing circumstances of young people. Cultural, economic and political changes challenge youth workers to respond with skilled interventions and carefully planned programmes…”

5 THINKING SERIOUSLY ABOUT … The Future of the Youth Service Youth Work in RoI recently integrated within the Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (OMCYA) Work of OMCYA in general guided by An Agenda for Children’s Services (2007): Agenda aims for every child to be: –Healthy, both physically and mentally; –Supported in active learning; –Safe from accidental and intentional harm; –Economically secure; –Secure in the immediate and wider physical environment; –Part of positive networks of family, friends, neighbours and the community; –Included and participating in society.

6 THINKING SERIOUSLY ABOUT … The Future of the Youth Service In youth work, lead on standards has been taken by the Assessor of Youth Work (formally in Department of Education, now within OMCYA) Quality Standards Framework (QSF) piloted 2007-2009 with Vocational Education Committees, local groups and projects and national organisations Developed in consultation with the sector; overseen by steering group comprising members of National Youth Work Advisory Committee (NYWAC) and external experts Structure: 5 overarching principles; and 18 statements (“standards”) to be achieved (or worked towards), grouped under 3 headings (see next slide). Pilot was independently evaluated while in train; and consideration now being given to how to “roll out” the QSF as an assessment framework throughout the sector.

7 THINKING SERIOUSLY ABOUT … The Future of the Youth Service Quality Standards Framework (QSF) Pilot 2007-2009 Practice Organisation Management & Development People & Relationships

8 5 CORE PRINCIPLES: All youth work programmes, practice, and policy should: be young person centred and predicated upon voluntary participation ensure the safety and wellbeing of young people be ethical and uphold the rights of children and young people be both educational and developmental recognise and promote equality, diversity and interculturalism Essential evidence of application of the core principles Desirable evidence of application of the core principles Child Protection PolicyYouth Work Policy and Practice Appropriate Insurance Cover Equality, Anti-racism & Diversity Policy Health & Safety PolicyCharter of Rights for Young People Compliance with Employment & Equality Legislation THINKING SERIOUSLY ABOUT … The Future of the Youth Service

9 QSF (Pilot) Sections & Standards Practice- Organisational Management & Development- People & Relationships-  Policy  Governance  Young People  Planning  Operational Management  Recruitment & Selection of Volunteers  Education  Strategy  Leadership  Assessment & Evaluation  Sustainability & Accountability  Workforce Development  Participation  Culture & Learning  Partnership & Networking  Progression  Quality Assurance  Equality & Inclusiveness

10 THINKING SERIOUSLY ABOUT … The Future of the Youth Service Sample Page from QSF Manual QSF Practice 1.3- Education Scale of Attainment AbsentAcquiringAchievedAdvancedComment All youth work practice should be an educational and developmental process, employing a variety of effective models and methodologies that result in identifiable personal and social development outcomes. Indicators of attainment of the above standard may include: Existing quality assurance systems Operational & strategic planning Organisational mission/vision/ethos Evidence of detailed needs assessment and consultation Identified position of the programme/service/intervention within the overall organisation Clear definition of rationale and remit Clear theoretical and practical underpinning Education informed by good practice principles Education appropriate to the needs, abilities and aspirations of stakeholders Clear educational aims & objectives Defined personal & social outcomes Examples of appropriate, flexible and accessible practices Credible, challenging and relevant tasks Rationale for universal and targeted practices Examples of practice having regard to both task and process Opportunities for both critical reflection and action Education responsive to diverse styles of learning Examples of work/material produced/records of achievement Evidence of progression and referral routes, where appropriate Periodic monitoring, review and evaluation Evidence Required ActionsPersonnel Responsible Time frameComment

11 THINKING SERIOUSLY ABOUT … The Future of the Youth Service Parallel to QSF, five major youth organisations (four voluntary and one statutory) took the initiative to explore the “purpose and outcomes of youth work” from the perspective of youth workers and young people in their own groups and projects. Organisations: Catholic Youth Care; City of Dublin Youth Service Board; Foróige; Ógra Chorcaigh; Youth Work Ireland. Decided to focus specifically on examples of good practice; five “sites” purposefully selected across the country – different types of project/group/service but all long established and highly regarded. Combination of qualitative and quantitative methods (interview/focus group/short questionnaires), informed & contextualised by literature review. Report: The Purpose and Outcomes of Youth Work, M. Devlin & A. Gunning, Irish Youth Work Press, 2009.

12 THINKING SERIOUSLY ABOUT … The Future of the Youth Service Widespread agreement between youth workers and adults that youth work results in a range of “soft” and “hard” outcomes: –enhanced personal qualities and feelings - confidence, self-esteem, personal and social awareness, amicability and sociability; –opportunities for association in positive contexts, strengthening friendships and establishing new ones; –new and more diverse experiences and opportunities (which are more likely with longer periods of involvement); –enhanced positive and pro-social behaviour; –practical skills (e.g. making decisions, planning and organising, budgeting, cooking, teamwork, group work, communications, arts and creativity, various sports, games and activities);

13 THINKING SERIOUSLY ABOUT … The Future of the Youth Service Outcomes (continued): –information, advice and advocacy (e.g. health, relationships, sexuality, the law, careers and formal education); –practical support for formal education; and in some cases direct provision of (and support for) alternative routes to qualifications; –support for young people’s families by youth workers, integration of family members within the work of the youth group/project, more positive approaches to parenting (and to young people in general) by adults involved in youth work; –improved communications and relationships between young people and adults within communities; opportunities for practical intergenerational cooperation at local level; –improvement in local conditions and amenities, providing local leadership (both young people and adults), cooperation and coordination with other local services.

14 THINKING SERIOUSLY ABOUT … The Future of the Youth Service Examples of qualitative responses “One example, a parent who is a leader as well, said prior to becoming a leader herself if there was a phone call to be made on behalf of their child, they would be running out to do it, whereas now she’d be saying, go over there now and ring up and get the number and do all that yourself. Prior to that, she said she would have done all of that for them. There is a big tendency with parents to do too much for their children. She said because she had the experience of the club she would be much more aware of getting them to do what they can for themselves, rather than do it for them.” [Volunteer youth worker, rural club]

15 THINKING SERIOUSLY ABOUT … The Future of the Youth Service “I have a friend who moved down from Dublin a year or so ago and he didn’t really know anyone, so I brought him here one day and it’s great here because the atmosphere here is like the first day, whenever I walked in it was, hey what’s up and the first day he came in, ten minutes later he was having a laugh with everyone. So he was up by twenty friends that day anyway.” [Young man, regional youth service]

16 THINKING SERIOUSLY ABOUT … The Future of the Youth Service Carol…You don’t even know it [learning] is happening, it’s just, you know we learned how to cook and we didn’t realise it, I just remembered how to do it and rowing and orienteering and aerobics, and all about the environment, they teach like how important, when all the trees and everything are getting cut down, they teach you that’s bad and they tell you why it’s bad and all. AnnaBut you could learn that in school too. What’s different about how you learn it here? CarolIt’s more relaxed. In school you have to learn it because you’ll be tested on it and if you don’t know it you’re in trouble but in this place they’re not going to give out to you. BenIt’s more enjoyable that way.

17 THINKING SERIOUSLY ABOUT … The Future of the Youth Service AnnaDo you think that if two years ago or four years ago or whatever, if you hadn’t joined the youth club, I know it’s kind of a hard thing to ask… KevinAh, we’d run riot. Anna Do you reckon your life would be different? Kevin We’d run riot. PaulI’d say we would, you just don’t know. KevinIf there were not youth clubs or youth workers around, there would be total chaos.

18 THINKING SERIOUSLY ABOUT … The Future of the Youth Service Some examples of quantitative findings (or qualitative findings rendered into quantitative form) follow:

19 THINKING SERIOUSLY ABOUT … The Future of the Youth Service New activities by duration of involvement

20 THINKING SERIOUSLY ABOUT … The Future of the Youth Service Perceived change in self by duration of involvement:

21 THINKING SERIOUSLY ABOUT … The Future of the Youth Service Type of change in self by duration of involvement:

22 THINKING SERIOUSLY ABOUT … The Future of the Youth Service Some pervasive themes: –The value base of youth work is key to its positive outcomes –The voluntary participation of young people is vital –Positive relationships are the heart of youth work – both its processes and outcomes –Youth work can potentially benefit all young people –Youth work takes time

23 THINKING SERIOUSLY ABOUT … The Future of the Youth Service Regarding outcomes… “Broadly the consensus appeared to be that it is very important to be able to name the successful outcomes of youth work - for young people, for adults, communities and for society as a whole – but it is not always possible to number them, in other words to express them in quantitative or numerical terms. There may be possibilities for quantifying more of youth work’s outcomes than is the case at present and this is something which workers thought merits further discussion, perhaps in the context of the Quality Standards Framework. The main thing is that any system recognises the distinctive nature of the youth work relationship and how it differs from other forms of practice and provision.” (Purpose & Outcomes of Youth Work, p. 26) A focus on outcomes can and should be compatible with the existing emphasis in youth (and community) work on “conscious practice” and “reflective/reflexive” practice.

24 THINKING SERIOUSLY ABOUT … The Future of the Youth Service Conclusion: reasons for moving toward greater clarity regarding quality standards and outcomes include: Recognition Ratification Rewarding excellence Rectifying problems (Re)assuring quality Raising standards Regulation but….. Need for reciprocity between stakeholders/partners


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