Latest CONCEPT traverses youth work, adult education, governance and mental distress

CONCEPT

Another stimulating group of articles from our good friends at CONCEPT.

Vol 8, No 2 (2017)

Summer

Latest from Y&P – Brian Belton on Colonised Youth

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Brian Belton

Colonised youth

Brian Belton’s provocative paper looks at youth identity, and how responses to young people tend to undermine understanding of this group’s economic and political position.

The ethnic discourses that have been the basis for apartheid and genocide have been effectively reinterpreted by ‘enlightened’ benefactors, helpers, professionals, activists and academics as the supposed means of addressing what are essentially economic, social and/or political causation. Standing back it is hard not to understand the attempts of these well-meaning groups to ameliorate structures fundamental to the economic formation via an ethnic or racial discourse. It is difficult not to feel that this is a bit like trying to stop a leak in the roof by a change of attitude – the application of subtle psychological tactics and the preaching of moral imperatives to solve hard practical defects. Essentially this saves on tools and replacement materials, but it will not stop the leak; it’ll just get worse. Not quite like buying second-hand water cannon to address potential rebellion of disaffected youth in the hot days of August but about as pointless.

It is perhaps by now redundant to point out how this chimes with the professional and rights-conscious responses to youth that fail to do much more than perpetuate the deficit position of the young by way of moral placebo and calls for adult ethics to be enacted. This is deeply colonial; the social agenda with regard to youth is thus founded on assumed deficiency of age, and so subject to a form of colonial oppression.

I suspect it’s not at all redundant.

 

 

Unite calls for youth affairs minister to coordinate policies for young people

Video of the presentation plus Q&A from yesterday’s fringe meeting at the Labour Party conference. Thanks to Nick Robinson

A call has been made for a youth affairs minister to coordinate services for young people across government by Unite, the country’s largest union. 

The demand for a minister with a seat in the cabinet will come in a new research report to be launched by the union at the Labour party conference on Sunday (24 September).

The need for a senior minister to knock heads together across Whitehall comes after a period which has seen youth and community services in England seriously eroded by the Tories’ austerity policies since 2010.

In the foreword to the report, Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “Alongside these devastating cuts, youth workers have simultaneously faced attacks on their very profession itself.

“The research findings confirm our fears that the imposition of austerity
measures have devastated the sector. Employers are engaged in a divide-and-rule exercise which feeds ‘a race to the bottom’ and increasingly imposed a ‘one size fits all’ culture on the sector.”

The key demand in the report is for a specific minister for youth affairs to be an advocate for young people in government. The role would straddle Whitehall departments and assess government policy on the aspirations and lives of young people.

This ministerial appointment should be accompanied by a statutory youth services bill that places new legal duties on local authorities to provide a professional youth service and consult young people on changes, such as cuts, closures and removal of services.

Unite national officer for community and youth workers Colenzo Jarrett-Thorpe said: “What this research identifies is the systematic erosion of youth services in England since 2010. This report is a blueprint for action and a key recommendation is the appointment of a cabinet-level youth affairs minister.

“He/she would have the ministerial clout to cut through across departments to ensure coherent and joined-up policies that benefit young people, often with serious personal problems, and the staff that provide those services.

“We strongly support the Joint Negotiating Committee for Youth and Community Workers as the quality benchmark to maintain the pay and employment conditions, status and professionalism of youth workers in these challenging times.”

The report also contains the results of a snapshot survey which revealed that 55 per cent of youth workers had experienced change to the services that they deliver; with 73 per cent of those replying that these changes had a negative impact on the provision of services for young people.

The report Youth Work: Professionals Valued was launched at a fringe meeting at the Labour party conference entitled: Moving forward: Rebuilding Youth Services under a Labour Government in hall 4, Hilton Brighton Metropole on Sunday (24 September) at 16.00.

The Youth Work Unit Yorkshire and the Humber was commissioned in April 2017 by Unite to conduct this research. It was a direct response to an attempt by the Local Government Association (LGA) to remove the national collective bargaining agreement called the Joint Negotiating Committee for Youth and Community Workers (JNC) in 2015-2016. 

Once there were many, now but one? UK Youth and Ambition merge

We got a sniff of this latest manoeuvre in the youth sector the other day and it has come to pass.

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Youth work organisations UK Youth and Ambition have merged, it has been announced.

The announcement is accompanied by the usual managerial rationalisations, the two CEO’s vying to outdo one another in a contest of cliche. Anna Smee, chief executive of UK Youth claims, “we feel we are much more credible now as the one leading organisation that works across non-uniformed and, to some extent, uniformed youth organisations.” Emma Revie, chief executive of Ambition, said coming together strengthens both organisations. “By joining forces with UK Youth, I’m confident we have the potential to be greater together than the sum of our parts and I’m excited to see what we can achieve.”

For our part we remain sceptical about the claim that this merger will strengthen the voice and quality of the youth work sector. It will strengthen a particular voice, centralised and still wedded to a neoliberal ideology of self-improved young people and self-improved workers. In the present political ferment a plurality of voices would be much healthier.

As it is, as CYPN notes,

The move comes just two years after Ambition, which was known as Clubs for Young People until 2012, merged with the Confederation of Heads of Young People’s Services, the organisation for local authority youth service leaders. Ambition also merged with the now defunct National Council for Voluntary Youth Services last year.

And, indeed, a proposed merger between UK Youth and the National Agency was on the cards for a time last year. We won’t hold our breath if this possibility is soon revived.

It’s worth remembering too that the NCVYS once proudly presented itself as the independent voice of the voluntary youth sector.

To complete the exchange of banalities, Tracy Crouch, the Minister of a government, which has implemented a succession of policies antagonistic to the needs of young people, never mind youth work itself, welcomes the corporate move, “UK Youth and Ambition have both done fantastic work supporting young people across the country and I am confident that this partnership will only strengthen their offering.

“Together I’m sure they will continue to lead the way championing youth voices, and supporting innovation and partnerships.”

By now, though, I suppose we are meant to do no more than shrug our shoulders at such empty rhetoric.

Two new articles from Y&P – On NEETS and Young Muslims

Continuing the promise of Y&P’s revised format, two new, stimulating articles are awaiting your perusal.

From ‘NEET’ to ‘Unknown’: Who is responsible for young people not in education, employment or training?

NEETS

Situating his discussion in its recent historical context, Liam Wrigley examines how young people labelled as ‘NEET’ have now become ‘unknown’ or ‘lost’, arguing that this is due to a lack of clear strategy concerning actors that have been responsibilised in responding to the employment, training and welfare needs of young people.

The number of young people (between 16-24 years of age) who experience being Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET) has been of grave concern, with the rates of young people labelled as not in education, employment or training remaining high (Simmons et al, 2014). In the UK alone, the number of young people who are NEET has fluctuated between 15% in 2002 to 11.5% in 2016 (DfE, 2017). The label NEET has been successively adopted throughout Europe and internationally (Simmons et al, 2014), although there has been great variation in how this policy label has been defined globally (i.e. some countries count unemployed young people who are graduates or in precarious work situations or ‘zero hour’ contracts). The label reflects a growing trend in recognizing young people that have fallen outside the labour market or education. Throughout Europe, the rate of NEET young people remains high, with countries such as Spain, Ireland and Italy recording more than 17% of young people as out of education, employment or training (Eurofund, 2016).

Young Muslims and exclusion – experiences of ‘othering’

 

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Ta to voa.news

 

On the 16th anniversary of 9/11, Stephen Pihlaja and Naomi Thompson explore experiences of exclusion faced by young Muslims in England.

Since 9/11 and the ‘war on terror’ we have seen an increase in terror attacks receiving high-profile media attention in the UK and Europe. In 2017 these have included attacks taking place in London on Westminster Bridge and London Bridge, and at Ariana Grande’s concert in Manchester. At the time of writing, the recent Barcelona attack is the most current example with media coverage ongoing. There is a strong sense of solidarity after such events that has seen people come together in often positive ways to respond, grieve and build community with each other. However, such events are also followed by increased levels of hate crime towards Muslim individuals and communities, and the aftermath of these events impacts on the everyday lives of young Muslims. In addition, both the fact that most ‘Islamist’ terror attacks take place in Muslim countries against Muslims and the hate crime that is levelled against Muslim communities in the UK and elsewhere following terrorist events, go under-reported.

 

Transformative Youth Work International Conference – registration open

REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN at  Transformative Youth Work

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Transformative Youth Work International Conference
Developing and Communicating Impact

4-6 September 2018 at Plymouth Marjon University
This will be the 1st major International conference focusing on the ‘Impact of Youth Work’.

 
AIMS:

  • To disseminate the latest research on the Impact of Youth Work
  • To promote the Impact of Youth Work
  • To stimulate debate about the processes which bring this impact about.

 

 

Includes inputs from across Europe, USA, Australia and New Zealand as well as the publication of the Erasmus+ funded 2-year comparative study of the Impact of Youth Work in Europe.

 
KEYNOTES:
Joachim Schild: (Former Head of European Youth Partnership) – ‘History of Youth Work Impact in Europe’
Dr Dimitris Ballas: ‘A Human Atlas of Europe – United in Diversity’

 
The conference is open to youth workers, youth work academics & trainers as well as policy makers.
Bursaries are available for non-UK delegates

Transformative Youth Work 2018 [pdf poster] – please circulate