Laura Kelly, a Research Fellow and Ellie Munro, a PhD student, both at the University of Birmingham offer an insightful analysis of the present situation facing youth work and youth services. It’s heartening to read such a supportive and informative piece from outside of our own ranks.
Youth services try to mould young people – how about they help young people mould society instead?
Laurie and Ellie conclude:
Under the current government, youth services look set to further embed an emphasis on civic responsibility, while young people’s entitlements – to affordable housing, secure employment and educational and recreational services – are side-lined. And although Labour’s plans may do more to secure funding and embed services in local authorities across England, they will be weakened if youth services are seen only as a tool for shaping law-abiding and employment-ready young people.
A more radical approach to youth work and services would support young people to identify and collectively challenge the factors that threaten their security and well-being. If any future government – Labour, Conservative or otherwise – truly wishes to empower young people, they will have to be bold enough to take a more politicised view of social action and value youth workers as educators and advocates – not just policy instruments.
Campaign for giving voting rights to 16 year olds. This will surely focus the minds on YP and YW. I see it as a vital key to unlock the door.