The European Youth Forum published in April 2019 a report on The Future of Work and Youth. This is an interesting publication addressing youth work and social inclusion. It looks into the impact of four megatrends on youth and the world of work: globalisation, climate change, demographic changes, and technological advancements.
Among other things, it recommends to invest in young people’s skills! Just like COMANITY 😉
A number of core skills and abilities are called for when working with young people especially those from vunerable and marginalised groups. These vary according to context , the issues and dynamics that prevail within any particular situation, and the power dynamics that inevitably play a part.
Key factors that are widely referenced include aspects of building rapport and trust, empathy and an ability to not only empathise, but indicate that, to those that we are working with – this may be no more than ‘active listening’, but may require considerably more. It needs to be remembered that empathy is not sympathy and that empathy is a choice.
Inevitably, this comes down to an understanding of relationships and the context in which these relationships occur. The quality of these relationships is a key concern.
Below are some links to material that may be helpful or thought provoking.
The European project “Digital Skills for You(th)” aims at developing and piloting a blended learning offer for professionals working with disadvantaged young people. The offer focuses on a strength-oriented approach for their young target group concerning digital opportunities and challenges regarding their personal and professional development and active participation in society.
The project is funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Commission and is coordinated by the German Digital Opportunities Foundation with partners from the Czech Republic (NCBI) and Spain (Fundación ESPLAI). The duration of the project is from January 2017 till December 2018.
Building and maintaining trust is so important for those that work with vulnerable young people, children and families. The experience of those on the margins, perhaps with difficult, turbulent or ‘dysfunctional’ backgrounds, care leavers, absent parents and so on, is frequently one of being constantly let down. Whether that be through schools, state support structures, institutions, legal frameworks, family and other relationships with adults. This is particularly the case with many of those that have had a traumatic experience of early life.
The importance of healthy, affirming and trusting relationships with those that support or work with them is of key importance. It is also unfortunately the experience of many that people, projects, teachers and support workers frequently appear to offer much, but then fail in their promise, workers move on to other jobs, or funding runs out and the young people are left in the lurch. Further compounding their distrust and low self esteem.
When circumstances, situations or time dictate that a working relationship is coming to an end, it is also important that this is honestly and openly handled, with care, in order that growth and development continue, and negative experiences, outlooks and feelings are not further compounded. A number of toolkits and links to useful materials and thought provoking articles may be found below.
Video games and hip hop music often take the rap for inciting violence in the young, but urban youth specialist and lecturer Craig Pinkney knows that is far from the whole story. Craig shares his experience in engaging disaffected and violent youth, going beyond systems to find the root causes. He also calls for this to move from ‘not my problem’, to an issue with much greater community support. Craig Pinkney is a Criminologist, Urban Youth Specialist, Lecturer and Director of Real Action UK – a charitable outreach organisation based in Birmingham who specialise in working with disaffected youth. Notable projects include: ‘Don’t Get Gassed’ a national anti-knife crime campaign which has over 50,000 views on Youtube. Craig is well-known for working with some of the cities most challenging young people, potentially high-risk offenders, victims of gang violence and youth who are deemed as hard to reach. Through mentoring, discussion, advocacy, sport, media, film and faith-based interventions, he believes giving a platform to young people will raise attainment and promote positive social change. Craig also lectures full time at University College Birmingham, specialising in youth violence, urban street gangs, extremism, trauma and black men’s desistance, and is part of the EU Gangs Project.
Temi Mwale – some thoughts on ending youth violence through community healing.
Growing up in London, it was inequality, injustice and her initial observations of the legal system that motivated Temi to study law at the London School of Economics. Her early experiences of crime and violence propelled her to establish The 4Front Project, a youth-led social enterprise on a mission to empower young people and communities to live free from violence. Her team aim to transform the mindsets of young people by providing specialist violence interventions and a platform for young voices to demand better provisions. As Founding Director, Temi has used her education to provide legal empowerment for young people, who she teaches to analyse the social issues that affect them using a legal lens. At 21 years old, she has become a Multi-Award-Winning Social Entrepreneur and a leading voice for change in the UK. Her passion for social entrepreneurship and her uncompromising D.I.Y attitude led her to being named one of Forbes top ’30 under 30′ social entrepreneurs in Europe.