James Ballantyne on Tools, Genres and Trident


Our friend, James Ballantyne is on a blogging roll. Indeed it’s difficult to keep up with his outpourings on Learning from the Streets, although it’s always worthwhile. They are a rich mix of theory and practice, of praxis.

On the practical side you will find 10 Tools to develop youthwork from scratch, which begins,

  1. Spend a long time researching, not just the area, the culture, the gaps and the gifts of the young people – but find out their interests, their skills and how they want to develop the group, what they want to do, where, when and how they want it to occur.

More broadly he plays around with whether it’s useful or not to categorise youth work in The quagmire of creating genres in youthwork, within which he ponders,

Many words have prefixed ‘youthwork’ over the past 20 odd years, some more helpful that others; Rural, Urban, Detached, Faith-based, Christian, Muslim, Voluntary, Jewish, Symbiotic (Passmore 2013), Sacrilized (Nash 2012), Street-based, Centre/community -Based, – have any of them become so clear that those within the profession know what they are? Well detached maybe.

And does it depend who is using them? – hence a good amount of confusion.

Whilst in Spending £31 Billion. On Trident or 1 million youth workers? he reflects that the £30-40 billion would,

  1. at £30,000 wages it would employ 1 million youthworkers for a year – with the right training, thus enabling many young people to develop better understanding of themselves in the world, support, inclusion and long term economic prospects (even if as youth workers we’d hate to say it)

Loads more too…. James is well worth following.



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