CYPN reports that the AMBITION national conference has been home to contributions from the Conservative government and the Labour Party.
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.
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.
Thanks to Raj for this evidence of rifts in the Tory ranks. How seriously should we take this as a possibility?
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.