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A Practical Solution for Measuring Outcomes in Youth Work: Developing Structured ‘Experiental’ Growth Groups

Author: Dr. Sean Gallagher and Dr. Tony Morgan, Ulster University
This article is a positional paper on the need to reinvent or at least reinvigorate the use of group work in a youth work context. While youth work practitioners work with many diverse groups the imposition of an imposed policy curriculum continues to shape the nature of the group process towards, we contend, a more prescribed set of outcomes.

What we are suggesting in this paper is that if we know the expected outcomes that many young people need to achieve in life in order to make them more resilient and self-aware of their lives, do we need to emulate the formal didactic approach to learning, i.e. as in school? If we have a vehicle in which and from which these outcomes can be achieved do we really need a curriculum? Or more appropriately can the curriculum emanate from the lived lives of the young people themselves?

This paper presents a practical approach to the measurement of outcomes in youth work.  What we are proposing is that the ‘core’ of youth development can be addressed and achieved within an ‘experiential growth group’ and that the process is indeed the product. In other words we are proposing a move away from highlighting the end product of outcomes or ‘expected ‘ outcomes to refocusing on the vehicle in which and from which certain less tangible and nebulous outcomes can be nurtured and recorded.

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Process is the Product: Is There a Need for Measurement in Youth Work?

Author: Sean Gallagher and Tony Morgan, University of Ulster 2013

The central tenet of this article is predicated upon a belief that there is a need to link both the formal with the informal/non -formal sectors without at any point compromising the strengths of either. The analysis within this article deconstructs the ideology and philosophy behind the perceived dominance of the formal sector over the informal youth work sector. It suggests that both worlds need not collide but that they can and should work more closely together in the interest of their common denominator, the development of young peoples’ potential. 

We also contend that youth work practice is qualitatively different from teaching and schooling and that the process used in youth work identifies that difference. We also contend that the inchoate nature of the youth work profession is militating against addressing some of these complex issues that are challenging the essential essence of youth work practice.

A sustainable future: youth work’s contribution to Welsh Government’s ‘Wellbeing of Future Generations’ policy and ‘Successful Futures’ review

Author: Jamie Jones-Mead

The Welsh Government Wellbeing of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015  and the recommendations from Donaldson’s Successful Futures review gives youth work in Wales a refreshed opportunity to prove its value and create for itself a sustainable future.

This article explores the contribution youth work can make to these Welsh Government policy agendas.

Jamie Jones-Mead was awarded a bursary from Youthworkwales to complete this article.

Jamie is a professionally qualified youth and community worker.  He has 15 years’ experience as a youth worker and has worked in a number of settings in Wales, the UK and globally. 

These include in statutory youth services, with young disabled people, young offenders, young cancer patients and significant experience in the third sector.  As well as being an experienced practitioner, Jamie has a particular interest in health and wellbeing, having spearheaded and managed ASH Wales' youth tobacco and smoking programmes, and is currently working in a public health setting.

Handbook – Mobile Youth Provision

Author: CWVYS, various authors 2012

Between 2009-2011 CWVYS was commissioned by the Welsh Government to facilitate the research and publishing of Youth Work Methodology Handbooks or best practice guides for youth workers in Wales. CWVYS facilitated this work by bringing together voluntary youth organisations and maintained local authority youth services. This document is part of a library of Good Practice Methodology Handbooks for Youth Work in Wales. 

This handbook has been developed to introduce, explain or expand on existing knowledge and experience in relation to the provision of mobile youth services. In seeking to meet the outcomes for young people focussed upon in ‘Youth Work in Wales: Principles and Purposes’ document and the National Youth Service Strategy for Wales, it offers ideas and information to best to meet the needs of young people who are isolated due to geographical location, restricted population or limited resources of a given area. 

[CWVYS does not represent that the information contained in the handbook is accurate, comprehensive, verified or complete, and shall accept no liability for the accuracy or completeness of the information contained in this website or for any reliance placed by any person on the information.] 

Handbook – Youth Information

Author: CWVYS, various authors 2012

Between 2009-2011 CWVYS was commissioned by the Welsh Government to facilitate the research and publishing of Youth Work Methodology Handbooks or best practice guides for youth workers in Wales. CWVYS facilitated this work by bringing together voluntary youth organisations and maintained local authority youth services. This document is part of a library of Good Practice Methodology Handbooks for Youth Work in Wales. 

The nature of youth information work varies greatly depending on many different variables such as area, demography and age range. This handbook contains advice, guidance and suggestions for delivering good quality youth information work. It is not meant to be a definitive set of instructions because of those different variables. These considerations have been taken into account so that it caters for the delivery of a wide range of information work across the whole spectrum of Youth Work. This includes it being useable by a voluntary worker in a community hall for two hours a week to a full time professional seeking to establish a youth information service. 

[CWVYS does not represent that the information contained in the handbook is accurate, comprehensive, verified or complete, and shall accept no liability for the accuracy or completeness of the information contained in this website or for any reliance placed by any person on the information.] 

The Level of Voluntary Sector Service Provision in South East Newport

Author: Christine Thomas, University of South Wales 2014

MA Dissertation.

The purpose of the study was to determine the level of voluntary sector service provision for children, young people and families in South East Newport and to seek to identify any gaps in that provision. The study was undertaken as an internship within the Families First programme in Newport supported by the One Newport Local Service Board (LSB). The results will inform the LSB’s Neighbourhood Working Model.

Therefore this study, which is limited to provision relating only to children, young people and families in the geographical area of South East Newport (comprising the wards of Alway, Ringland and Lliswerry) presents the findings of an audit of voluntary sector provision within those limitations.

In order to address the key objectives of the research a combination of surveys, semi-structured interviews and focus groups was conducted between June and October 2013. Questionnaires were administered to two groups: service providers and residents in the pilot area. Three focus groups were conducted with adults, whilst 20 focus groups were conducted with 189 children and young people between the ages of 4 and 15 years from schools across the pilot area. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with adults at Summer Fun Day events.

It was concluded that a substantial level of service provision already exists in the pilot area, but that there are gaps in provision and barriers to access which need to be addressed. Despite this, enthusiasm to participate was high and should be encouraged. There could be merit in exploring the potential of the themes which emerged in an attempt to nurture this interest in engagement. The study confirms the need to increase the range and level of service provision in South East Newport and that children, young people and families would benefit from improvements and enhancements to existing services. 

PYOG: The role and value of youth work in current and emerging agendas in Wales

Author: Principal Youth Officers' Group (PYOG) 2015

Autumn 2015 paper from the Principal Youth Officers' Group (PYOG) on the role of youth work in the current policy environment in Wales.

The role and value of youth work in current and emerging agendas in Wales

Author: Grwp Prif Swyddogion Ieuenctid 2015

Agenda for a Generation – Building Effective Youth Work

Author: UK Youth Work Alliance, 1996

This paper, prepared by a UK-wide alliance of representative youth work bodies, sets out the basis for a fully developed and properly resourced youth policy which the country needs now.

       

 

What is Excellent Youth Work?

Author: Darrel Williams, University of Wales Trinity Saint David 2013

Short paper discussing some of the characteristics which contribute towards young people having an enjoyable, challenging experience from which they can learn through the process of working with a reflective, effective practitioner.

The discussion group included teaching staff and students of the BA Youth and Community Work Programme at the University of Wales, Trinity Saint David. The group took part in a Socratic dialogue on the topic ‘what is excellent Youth Work’, deciding to explore a residential project which has taken place a number of years before.  The group explored questions about the project for two hours and the paper is an interpretation of notes taken at the time of the discussion.