Government set to publish three-year youth strategy : We won’t wait with bated breath

CYPN reports that the AMBITION national conference has been home to contributions from the Conservative government and the Labour Party.

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Rob Wilson – ta to CYPN

The Tories in the person of Rob Wilson, the youth minister, indulged in the tired promise that a clear narrative and vision is to emerge. Thus we might be forgiven for wondering what happened to the July 2011 ‘Positive for Youth discussion paper: Overarching narrative for the youth policy statement, Department for Education’, welcomed at the time by the NYA and the NCVYS. In 2013 Bernard Davies described a supposed report of its progress as deeply dishonest – see Which Planet Are They On? However history has never been an impediment to neoliberal politicians and their sycophants. Another a narrative, or perhaps the previous one warmed up, is on its way. Any road youth work/youth services/the youth sector, call it what you will, is no longer in Education, it falls into the hands of the Department of Culture, Media and Sport. Wilson thus argued, “we can use our new position to give young people greater engagement with our sporting and cultural heritage.” Whither youth work as informal education? With tongue firmly in his cheek, given the government’s record on youth policy, witness the rejection of votes at 16, he declared, “if we work together, if we are innovative, if we keep a relentless focus on the needs of young people we will be successful and make good progress.” Inevitably this disingenuous rhetoric was accompanied by the usual crap about doing more with less and the vital role of the private sector and philanthropy.

Evidently, undeterred by the touch of contradiction here and there in Wilson’s bullshit, CYPN informs us  that “youth work leaders welcomed the announcement as an opportunity to reinvigorate voluntary and statutory youth services.” Indeed, Anna Smee, CEO of UK Youth, is so moved as to venture, “the minister’s commitment to help every young person throughout their transition to adulthood needs to be at the heart of a new youth strategy.” Meanwhile the destruction of the Youth Service continues and is resisted – see Save Kirklees Youth Service.

Steve Reed -Ta to CYPN

As for Steve Reed, MP for Croydon North, Labour’s shadow youth minister, he argued, that if the government continues to fail to invest in young people then in time the country will face the consequences, before going on to mouth the mantra of investment in prevention and early intervention, and for better and stronger partnership working. Shades of New Labour’s policy, described in a forthcoming piece as, “youth work’s integration into multi-disciplinary teams dominated by child-protection concerns weakened its educational commitment as did policies developed ever more systematically to prioritise ‘early intervention’ and the ‘targeting’ of young people ‘at risk’. Increasingly youth workers were saddled with caseloads of referred young people, causing many to describe their practice as ‘social work-lite’.

In the next few days we will post a variety of youth work voices, which continue to challenge the cliches and the spin, etched deep into these supposedly opposed political utterances.

POSTSCRIPT

Thanks to Raj for this evidence of rifts in the Tory ranks. How seriously should we take this as a possibility?

Theresa May under pressure to scrap David Cameron’s ‘Big Society’ and support young jobseekers

The Government’s social mobility adviser will urge Theresa May to replace David Cameron’s flagship “big society” scheme for 16 and 17 year-olds with high quality work experience and careers advice for all teenagers.

Alan Milburn, who chairs the Social Mobility Commission, wants the £400m-a-year budget for National Citizen Service (NCS), which includes summer camps and community projects, switched to boosting the job prospects of all young people.

One comment on “Government set to publish three-year youth strategy : We won’t wait with bated breath

  1. […] Members of the Commission are keen that the report is circulated widely as a contribution to the national debate about the state of youth work and indeed the government’s claim to be offering us a ‘narrative and vision’ for the future. […]

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