In recent months we have been asking if the tide is turning for youth work? Our question is given fresh impetus by the welcome news that John McDonnell has registered his desire to see the inclusion of a commitment to a statutory Youth Service in the Labour Party’s Manifesto. Particularly encouraging is his insistence that this should happen as an integral element of a ‘New Education Service creating lifelong learning from cradle to grave’. See below the full text of his contribution to the GFTU Union Building Conference 2018 plus video.
McDonnell’s intervention is all the more timely as next week’s IDYW national conference on March 9 in Birmingham will be exploring a set of proposals that might inform the re-emergence of open youth work and a democratised Youth Service. Watch this space.
John McDonnell: Contribution to GFTU Union Building Conference 2018.
The General Federation of Trade Unions has an important and distinct role to play in the British trade union movement.
As it approaches its 120th year it is fitting to see that it is still dynamic and leading the way in terms of the transformative power of trade union and community education.
The GFTU’s education programme is the biggest and most imaginative in the Movement and supports trade unionists in developing the practical skills, political and economic understanding and sense of history that are so vital today.
But it is also good to see that the GFTU is consciously reaching out to the wider public to keep the flag of trade unionism flying and reaching out through exciting events such as its youth festival to the next generation of younger trade unionists.
I recognise that trade union work to re-engage the younger generation will also be assisted by the rebuilding of the Youth Service so callously pulled apart by the Conservatives. This is why I am supporting the inclusion in the next Labour Party Manifesto the commitment to create a statutory Youth Service as part of the New Education Service creating lifelong learning from cradle to grave.
I am very impressed that the GFTU is offering new training courses for trade union trainers with Leeds Beckett University and Newman University. This is pioneering work indeed and will create a new generation of fully trained and qualified trade union trainers.
Such tremendous commitment to education within the GFTU is also reflected in its commitment to the Shout Out Project. This is greatly appreciated and we hope that together through my office, the GFTU and affiliated unions to bring greatly needed civic and personal and social education back to our communities.
The GFTU Education in Action programme is well worth a visit.