Forming a Youth Service Directory (my working placement for university)

Forming a directory is something I have never done before, not only have I never done it but I have also been asked to do it outside of the area that I work. Why? The reason the directory was proposed to me is that staff and young people of the area would benefit from knowing what is out there for young people to access so that it can be used as a form of partnership referral for any needs/wants that young people have.

Who proposed this idea to me? A youth development officer (YDO), who then arranged for a local community education officer (CEO) to supervise me. During my discussion with the YDO I was very clear about the fact that I didn’t want a CEO who would constantly tell me what to do, as this placement was to demonstrate my own management and development skills. When they explained that I would be to contact all the local youth services, clubs and groups I said yes that sounds like something I can do. What I didn’t explain at this stage (and wasn’t aware of myself) was the fact that I have only ever completed one piece of community work previously (a community profile) which I did as part of a group not by myself and on an area I had more knowledge of.

Now that I am in placement I am realising how my previous confidence  in my own ability and determined attitude to do ‘a good job’ in order to get this project done has made me overlook a few key aspects of it.

-The biggest aspect is that I have completely overlooked young people and their community’s view on this directory (as stated in a previous reflection: After some thought I have put posters up in the local youth/community centres in order to encourage participation and introduce the idea of what is going on. As pointed out by blogger this may not be as effective as I’d like. Very easily it could be ignored, misunderstood and overlooked meaning that it isn’t very accessible to people.

The reason behind this lack of youth input into the project is the result of another issue…

-I don’t have enough time, due to work commitments in the evening to go to their youth clubs, streets, community centres and such. I am only in their community during the time they are likely (depending on age) to be in education, training and work. One of the ways I hope to combat this is to ask the youth and community staff to become involved in the project. As much as I dread asking people to do something for me (especially as I have never met them) I will have to try and ask the local staff to introduce people to the project and find out their opinions on it; what they think should go in there, how it should be laid out/accessibly, who should have access to it and so on.

I do worry that when I leave something in someone else’s hands I cannot guarantee the effectiveness of their work, we are different people and we work in different ways. However their way is probably best as they are the local youth and community workers who will be supported by their CEO’s on this (as I am writing to them explaining the project as well).

-The last key aspect of this directory is that it was not initiated by the local community (as far as I am aware) or if it was then not though my own work. The fact that I have started this project with no previous contact with the community is a shame and I wish that I had tried to instigate this contact sooner.

That’s all my blogging for this moment, please feel free to comment and add your opinions/suggestions to further my personal development and hopefully make this project run more smoothly.

Thank you


Doing a literature review?

My literature review is due in next month and I haven’t even started it yet!!…truth be told I have spent more time thinking about it and panicking than getting my head down and researching!

I have however at least chosen a topic -‘NEET’ (not in education, employment or training) young people. The title will get more specific when I come around to starting it I’m sure.

Also I have managed to find some information on neet young people through research (searching on google scholar and google books), as of yet I have just piled it up ready to read. This is a tactic of not wanting to deal with the looming assignment I’m sure however, this review will have to be done and needs to be started asap.

How am I planning to cope with this?

Firstly we have arranged one student focus group so far which I went to, during this time we discussed how we are approaching the review and clarified exactly with one another what we thought the assignment is asking us to do.

One previous student has giving us a review to look at which is helpful, holding one in your hand and knowing that it is a real thing is helpful (feeling how light weight it is was helpful for me-not a book or a dissertation at all and in fact it looked manageable).

I also have a guide book called ‘doing a literature review’ by Christ Hart which although I will not read cover to cover -as this would detract from the topic- I have found some useful guidance figures which outline the key stages of developing a literature review which helps to show the next step when you’re not sure what to do.

Another thing I did was speak to my tutor about the piece of work, my tutor told me to stop thinking that this was leading onto a research and dissertation proposal and that viewing it as one piece of work instead of one out of three pieces will make it seem more manageable!

If my literature review goes well I may put it on here in about a month…

If anyone has any suggestions on doing literature reviews I’d be thankful to hear of them!!

Please wish myself and all my class mates good luck!

Thank you


Quote for the day and ideas for tomorrow

From the Book Community Development: A critical approach by Margaret Ledwith.

‘Critical pedagogy involves people coming together to explore their own identities across all aspects of difference in order to develop confidence in ‘who they are’ within the structures that define them.’

Personally I love this quote and relate to it as I work, live and learn in diverse social environments, I never feel threatened by other people within society because I’m open to discussion with everyone.
On this note I’ll mention that I hope to join a ‘F.A.N’ (friends and neighbours) group tomorrow. These groups are free of charge and meet for 1hour a week. The reason I like the sound of ‘F.A.N’ groups is that their whole focus is talking English with each other and anyone with any level of English is welcome. Wish me luck!
Feel free to comment below with other ideas, quote and such,

Thank you

How the British government deals with youth unemployment…

Upon reading the Metro this morning I was slightly delighted to find people have been commenting on the government led unpaid work schemes.

The scheme is that if you are on JSA (job seekers allowance) which pays under 25’s £53.45 per week maximum than you will be asked to work  for a company (which you may have a choice in to a certain extent) for a period of time (maybe up to six months). The programme is open to those who are over 25 and also claiming JSA however they have a longer wait to be ‘asked’ to attend an interview on the topic and receive a higher rate of benefit at £67.50 per week.

Find out more on the ‘work programme’ here:

If one is to refuse the work programme the job centre may stop your benefits, so when they ask you to go on the programme there is no choice, except the choice of work opportunities that they can arrange for you. For example; if they have a work placement at two shops you may get to choose which one you work at.

What does participation on the programme offer the enrolled individual? Work experience, building a relationship with a company that may choose to offer you a job and it could also build your confidence if you have been out of work.

There are however some downfalls to the scheme which may or may not have been overlooked by the government such as; people who are working full time for JSA are otherwise pre-occupied from looking for their own PAID job, people who work for these companies will not necessarily gain employment at the end of their work period and if companies know about this then they are more likely to employ free labour than advertise paid job vacancies.

So here is the story of a young woman who felt forced to go into work placement with the job centre and feels that she has lost out:

A summary of the comments in today’s Metro:

‘A job is a job if it’s fair.’

‘What benefit would it be to receive a fifth of the pay of an employee to work’?

In reference to a young female in the above linked article who worked in Poundland on the scheme ‘of course [name] didn’t get a job in Poundland [referring to the end of her work placement] -it [Poundland] would be mad to offer her a job when it has a consent supply of free labour’

Please comment below with any experiences, opinions or such on this topic!

Thank you!

Had a meeting today…

…and figured that throughout my university placement which is ‘forming a directory for young people’ in three local areas that I have focused on finding all the info myself and doing all the work myself hence not actually asking any young people what they think. What a great ‘youth worker’ I have been!! Not only is it not giving young people an opportunity to suggest local services that they would like to feature in the directory but I’m probably selling myself short of information as it’s their area and not mine -so they may have a much better idea and maybe even some contacts!!

This shall be rectified, posters will go up inviting suggestions for the directory and if there’s interest maybe a focus group…any other suggestions? 🙂

Thank you!

What did the newspaper say about British Education today?

Well I haven’t blogged for while as I’ve been busy in my family life over the holidays, just thought I’d get back into the habit by commenting on a couple of stories that caught my eye in the Metro newspaper.

The First:

Was about accusations that teachers have been bribing pupils to stay off school and out of the way during inspections. Allegations (which have been made to the Educational Times Supplement) stated that pupils have been paid sums of money to miss the day or have even been taken on theme park trips so that inspectors do not witness their behaviour. Ofsted are treating 38 complaints as a ‘handful’ of ‘possible misrepresentation’ of schools positions.

All this makes me wonder, first of all who in their right mind as a teacher prioritises hiding badly behaved young people during inspections so much that they’re willing to risk bribery? How do these young people feel about being hidden from school inspections? And what does it teach people about behaviour, consequences and accountability? It would be interested to see whether this has actually been happening in schools and how it can be combated in the future. It’s sad that teachers fell this much pressure to achieve during inspections, and I think if these allegations are true it may be because teachers ultimately want their school to have a good reputation.

The Second:

Cases of teaching misconduct and incompetence are too be abandoned due to unavailable scheduling of hearings before the General Teaching Council for England is ‘abolished’  (metro). Cases seen as highest priority will still be address, but lesser cases will have to remain unheard and unresolved. If this is true I wonder what kind of justice this offers the people who are involved in the cases. Mostly you can assume a lot of the reports against teachers will  have been made by pupils as they are the main witnesses to teachers during the school hours (although they will not be the only ones to complain). If a person has taken the time, effort and confidence to question a teachers behaviour and complain about it then it’s a shame that the cases may not receive hearings and be resolved/have appropriate action taken. Also it’s a shame that where allegations have been falsely made teachers will not have the opportunity to be heard and to prove their competence, which would make it harder to combat any rumours which may arise from the issue.

If anyone has any information or insight into these  issues please fell free to comment as I’d like to be further enlightened on them

Thank You

Referrence: Metro Friday, January 6th 2012. Front page and page 5.