Youth Work in The Commonwealth

Youth Work in The Commonwealth

A Growth Profession You do not have access to this content

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Commonwealth Secretariat
28 Aug 2017
9781848599659 (PDF)

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Youth Work in the Commonwealth: A Growth Profession establishes a baseline to inform the planning and implementation of initiatives to professionalise youth work in Commonwealth member countries. The study was conducted in 35 countries in the Africa, Asia, the Caribbean/Americas, Europe and Pacific regions.

It catalogues the extent to which the youth work profession is formally recognised in these countries and examines the qualities and rights-based ethos of the various forms of youth work promoted and practiced in the Commonwealth.

The report aims to help countries learn from good practices, and assess gaps in establishing youth work as a recognised profession in diverse contexts.

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  • Mark Click to Access
  • Credits
  • Acknowledgments
  • Foreword
  • Abbreviations and Acronyms
  • Glossary
  • Executive Summary
  • Background

    This chapter examines a broad Commonwealth definition of youth work and the contexts in which youth work is delivered. It also takes the reader through the role the Commonwealth has played in professionalising the sector. It concludes with the purpose and methodology of the baseline.

  • Introduction to Youth Work

    This chapter discusses youth work in greater detail and examines the implications of delivering for young people within a rights-based framework. While serving all young people within a framework that sees them as assets, youth work also has a critical place in addressing the needs and rights of young people in difficult circumstances, in preventing extremist thought and action, in creating peaceful societies, and also responding to specific social needs of young people in contact with the law, or engaged in substance abuse.

  • Defining Professionalism

    It might be difficult to imagine from most perspectives how youth work, some of it undertaken by unpaid volunteers, might be considered professional. One would probably not, given the choice, visit an enthusiastic but unpaid, unqualified, parttime dentist, with no official regulation or recognition by other dentists, for root canal treatment, so why would one send or allow one’s child to be looked after by an equally motivated, if relatively ignorant, educational and/or child care worker with only the claim of being a ‘specialist’? How do you know that this person even had any background checks assuring that they are not a paedophile, drug dealer, someone connected to extremist organisations or child trafficking?

  • Paradigms of Practice

    This chapter is an overview of youth work practice in the very diverse contexts of the Commonwealth. It examines different manifestations of youth work as well as the ideologies and intent that result in different forms of practice, and different outcomes for youth. It also examines synergies between State and non-State youth work – a synergy that the Commonwealth has constantly been concerned with.

  • A Selective History of Youth Work

    The paradigms of practice discussed in the previous chapter have deep historical roots informed by pre- and postcolonial contexts, and synergies across State and non-State youth work. This chapter attempts to place this practice in relation to historical events, youth work domains, and their shaping of youth work.

  • Trends in National Youth Work Practice

    This chapter outlines baseline findings on trends and approaches in State-led or nationally co-ordinated youth work practices. While the focus will be on State-led youth work, it will also cover other non-State national or major regional policy and programme structures, such as in Australia and New Zealand. These structures are, however, often supported by the State (as in Australia and New Zealand), and they also influence State practice (as in, for example, India). Later chapters will examine the relationship (or lack thereof) between practice, and legislation, policy and regulation.

  • Legislation and Policy

    This chapter addresses State legislation and policy that provides official legitimation of youth work as a distinct profession. This is something additional to more generic youth policy, although youth policies imply the recognition of youth work as a profession. It is this recognition that will ultimately enhance youth work processes and practices as discussed in the previous chapter.

  • Professional Associations for Youth Work

    This chapter discusses the building of collective professional identities for youth workers and the role of professional associations in upholding the integrity and quality of the profession. This is a means of affirming the Right to Association enshrined in the UDHR and other human rights instruments as it applies to collegiality in the youth work profession. Twelve countries out of the sample (34 per cent) had youth workers’ associations that help safeguard the integrity and quality of the profession.

  • Qualifications Pathway

    This chapter provides an overview of youth work practitioner education and training, from some of the most prominent short courses directly linked to developing the skills of youth development workers and youth workers, to accredited qualifications providing professional recognition.

  • Regulating Practice

    This chapter seeks to outline the measures in place to regulate youth work practice through assuring practitioner competencies and ethical conduct. It looks at how far youth work is regulated through competency/occupational standards, State/national ethical standards, State/national guidelines, and occupational health and safety standards..

  • Professional Validation of Youth Work Education and Training

    This chapter discusses the concept of professional validation and trends in the professional validation of education and training for the youth work profession.

  • Professional Supervision

    This chapter examines the extent to which supervision specific to the youth work profession has been established in member states.

  • Financial Investment and Youth Worker Remuneration

    This chapter represents the minimal data that was received on a. State investment in youth work and b. youth worker remuneration. It was difficult for countries to assess investment in the profession, i.e. in education and training of youth workers, as well as investment in youth work delivery, due to the fact that it is not recognised as a distinct profession in most member states. Youth worker remuneration was equally hard to assess and compare across regions/member states.

  • Conclusions and Recommendations – Way Forward for Professional Youth Work

    The research strongly indicates that youth work in the Commonwealth is a diverse and multifaceted practice. While it has commonalities in terms of delivery and intent, it does not conform to any one set of techniques or approaches. This is probably reflective of the character of this ‘family of nations’, its cultural and historical diversity, as well as the differences in economic and social background. With this in mind, it would seem to be unnecessary to insist on uniformity for its own sake and wise to be ready to promote mutual learning from the richness of response.

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