IN DEFENCE OF YOUTH WORK
‘WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE PROFESSIONAL IN 2016?’
A SEMINAR TO BE HELD ON FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 12
BRUNSWICK PARISH CHURCH, MANCHESTER – DIRECTIONS HERE
FROM 11.00 A.M TO 4.00 P.M.
Back in December our Facebook page witnessed a passionate debate about whether it was worth having a youth and community work degree. Inevitably this spilled over into a discussion about the merits or otherwise of the professionalisation of youth work. Contributors to the argument came from all over, including Australia and Ireland. Indeed Mick O’Brien of the newly created Irish Workers’ Association proclaimed passionately,
“We need to professionalize. We need to be seen as professionals . Youth workers need a professional standard . Youth workers need a degree. “
Not everyone agreed. Others remained concerned with the dangers of the professional agenda, one quoting from Mark Smith’s classic 1988 text, ‘Developing Youth Work’.
“A particular danger here is that people may be encouraged to take on ways of working that serve neither their interests, nor those they work with. This can happen as people adopt what are apparently the technical concerns of the professional without directly addressing what the cultural and political implications of these may be. The aim in this [informal education] approach is to increase the number and effectiveness of popular educators committed to enlarging people’s understanding of well-being, not to further the influence of bourgeois improvers, nor professionalise the area.”
Within days fuel was added to the heat of the debate with the news that the Employers’ side was abandoning unilaterally the JNC agreement. Responses ranged from the anxious to the angry to the resigned. This diversity of reaction confirmed our feeling that an open and pluralist exchange about being professional in 2016 would be well worth organising.
Beginning at 11.00 the day will visit the historical context, engage with criticisms of professionalisation; explore the contemporary situation, the relationship between the training agencies, the unions, the Institute for Youth Work ; and finally look to the future.
Contributors, at the time of writing, will include:
Bernard Davies, author of ‘The History of the Youth Service’ and Susan Atkins, the NYA Education Training Standards Committee.
Nigel Pimlott, author of ‘Embracing the Passion’ and Helen Gatenby, M13 Youth Project.
Adam Muirhead, Institute of Youth Work and Janet Batsleer, author of ‘Informal Learning’.
As ever we ask you to bring your own lunch, but drinks will be provided, The cost will be £5 waged, £2 unwaged. Additional donations welcome.
To book a place contact Tony at firstname.lastname@example.org