Hello again – it’s been a while but work has been hectic. As I’ve said previously I’m always amazed at how much we get up to in our jobs and how we manage to balance it all. Last week was a typical example – as well as day time work covering supervisions, meetings (and more meetings) around NEETS, Service Level Agreements, Condom distribution, Sex and Relationships education, joint working with Children and Family centres, looking at some potential overseas work in India and senior management discussions I was also out for three evenings meeting with some of our voluntary youth centres management committees, going to an AGM for West Sussex Council for Voluntary Youth Services and attending a Duke of Edinburghs Award presentation. At all of these meetings there were interesting discussions and follow up points to be be taken forward……it’s just managing my time to ensure that the ideas do get taken forward.
One of my best meetings / discussions last week was inpromptu and happened after one of the evening meetings. We have a lot of youth issues in one of our rural villages at the moment. Periodically these issues raise their head, everyone gets steamed up (particularly the parish council), we have to do member reports and feedback and then they will settle for a little while only to rise again some short distance into the future as the real issues have never been addressed. This has been happening off and on for the past 3 years.
Well, it finally looks like the plan to initiate a youth exchange with China is likely to become a reality! As I mentioned here, after a number of youth worker exchanges we were hoping to set something up for young people. Shandong Youth Federation have replied to our emails confirming that they are interested in hosting up to 20 young people. Unfortunately the other local autorities have had to pull out so we’re going to look at taking a smaller group of 10-12 young people probably aged between 16-19yrs.
I’m really excited about this and hoping that we can use some of the things we are learning about social media and the internet to support this work. I’m really keen to see if we can do some projects like the Life in New China Project supported by What Kids Can Do and Adobe Youth Voices. Or blogging like the young people involved in Beijing Voices. The tricky part is, although communication systems are easier than before, trying to work out how we are going to be able to work together and get something going is quite difficult due to our different cultures.
When I went to China at the end of 2006 we were still trying to understand what sort of youth work happened over there as we mainly saw universities, cultural sites and various enterprises. As there is such an ethos of education, education, education (There’s been a great BBC3 series running about Chinese School education). it was difficult to find out what youth work they did and what happened to those who weren’t academically inclined.
When the Chinese delegation came here last summer we made a point of showing them some of our facilities and work that we did. Hopefully these visits has helped with what we’re hoping to set up.
Now we need to find out which young people are interested, what sort of things they want to do and learn out there and liaise with our Chinese colleagues to try and make all this happen (and all by October!!!) Oh, and not forgetting all the risk assessments etc, etc. Well, I can’t say life is dull!!! 🙂
Last week was a week of meetings, conferences and research development and one of these was on Friday night when I went to the launch of the West Sussex Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Unsure (LGBTU) Youth Research Project.
For some time now we have been stuggling as a County (and in that I’m including our partnerships with the PCT and Terrence Higgins Trust ) to ensure appropriate provision for young people within the area who identify as LGBTU. Some time ago a lot of research into such provision had been undertaken and a group set up in Crawley along similar lines to the Allsorts Youth Project based in Brighton and Hove.
However due to changes in staff and young people the Crawley group never really took off and there is still no provision within West Sussex. So I went along to see where we were at in terms of the research, especially with a view to what young people have been telling us.
It was a great turn out for a Friday late afternoon / evening. As well as several presentations there were 2 workshops, one for young people and one for professionals to look at needs, what LGBTU provision would look like and what needed to be done. There are still quite a few questions (more…)
Hurray! Another Statutory youth work blog goes live!!! Chris and Sue are both Senior Assistant Youth Workers working for Oldham Youth Service so if you’re interested in learning more about what goes on in Oldham, or more about youth work practice then have a look at their blog here. They’ve even got some video clips to look at too! (More than I’ve learnt to do so far!)
The Statutory Youth Work blogs are slowly increasing……mind you we’ve got a long way to go to reach the amount of voluntary and faith based ones that are out there. Still, slowly does it!:)
Yesterday I was at a roadshow given by the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme for the South East Region. (If you haven’t heard of the Award or want to find out what you have to do to complete it have a look here.) It was a really interesting presentation as the Charity is looking to up date it’s image and develop more interactive / web based systems. This was very positive and also ties in with a lot of the work we are doing across the county to develop our monitoring and information systems and hopefully (fingers crossed) their system will help with this!
As a County we support the DofE and use it as one of the main forms of accrediting young people’s activities. Knowing that there is occasionally an image problem with the Duke of Edinburghs Award we have worked hard to try to ensure that it is available for all young people and that they can all have a go at the Award.
This has meant that we have made a lot of use of Sectional Certificates (where a young person completes a part of the Award for instance the Expedition) and then gets recognition for this. We have also used ‘Access Certificates’ where a young person completes a part of the Award maybe the skills section with the local canoe club and can then sign up, or not, to complete the rest of it if they wish.
For us the key objective is that young people have the opportunity to take part in a personal development programme that is based on their interests and is something that has national recognition (especially outside of youth work settings). It was therefore somewhat disconcerting to hear that those involved in developing the award appear more concerned with ‘completion’ rates and individuals completing the ‘whole’ award. When asked (more…)