Can youth club combine forces with the internet to create a modern desirable youth service?

The internet… the world in which many of us now live in. People can access the internet from near enough anywhere in the world, young people are growing up in an age where access to the internet is increasing and alongside this is their access to social media, gaming, online study, shopping and a whole host of other things.

Upon reflection of my own experience (I am considered a young person) I can remember back to my Primary School education where we had one computer for the whole school to access which meant that we used it around once a fortnight or possibly even less, this changed during High School when I had I.T lessons at least once a week and a library with constant free computer access. Now in 2012 I feel strange if I cannot access a computer/the internet for one day, everywhere I go there is computer access, my home, my phone (for when I’m on my travels), my family and friend’s homes, university, work, the list goes on…

If I can take an example from one of the youth clubs that I work in, we have 2 computers for people to use with an internet connection speed of around 0.2mbps (only a slight exaggeration). So as you can imagine people don’t come to us to use our internet!! They come for other things such as sport, cooking, arts and crafts and mostly for social, chill out time in a comfortable place. But for every one person who comes to youth club in our area there must be at least another 100 that don’t attend. Are they all hanging out on social networking sites such as facebook? Browsing the internet or playing games on consoles that use the internet to create gaming communities such as the Xbox live?

The reason that I am reflecting about this is that I can see a drop in the number of attendees at youth club which my team and my manager have discussed. My manager believes it is because young people are all on Xbox live and I have come to the conclusion that while we do not ‘compete’ with the internet for young people’s interest the internet is definitely an addictive, exciting place to be! So will we get with the times and become partners with the internet in the way that we work (for example utilising it for it’s benefits and combining this with our work to create a more tailored youth service) or will we soon end up in a history book/online document?

*Note I am aware that some youth services have already utilised the internet in their work with young people and if you would like to share stories of this please do so.

Peter Senge on Globalisation

This Peter Senge quote sums up globalisation for me and I just wanted to share it…

‘The globalization of businesses and industrial development is raising the material standards of living for many, but also creating significant side effects in the form of a host of social and environmental sustainability challenges. All too often, the production of financial capital seems to occur at the expense of social and natural capital.’

I took the quote from here: http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=0V2zW09DDx4C&printsec=frontcover&dq=Peter+Senge+1990&hl=en&sa=X&ei=50CUULxA6drRBaL4gagP&ved=0CDAQ6AEwAQ

A change in culture? A couple of issues with the capitalist privatisation of public services…

Aside

Image

It is common knowledge that during the consumerist age that we live in institutions such as healthcare and education have slowly (like everything else it seems) become more ‘privatised‘ and less ‘public’, but what possible negative effects are these changes having (or potentially having)? Below I have summarised two points, please comment and add more

A less localised institution – as institutions become more consumer focused within their approach to working with people (or ‘for’ people) it is a very real issue that services are likely to be made more ‘for the masses’ and the aims become generalised rather than for local individuals who receive the service on a face-to-face level. This could further enhance the globalisation process that we are currently in and be more likely to change local cultures to be more ‘global’ friendly or ‘market’ friendly (or perhaps a mixture of those things?) Is this what we want people to be learning from our health and education?

A reinforcement of capitalism – with privatisation comes competition for services and although competition can be a very good thing (for example development comes from healthy competition) competition for the right to produce services such as healthcare and education will surely focus work more around targets, statistics and agendas than around people, and their ‘needs’ or ‘wants’. Competition for these services will enhance the statistic war of who can provide the most ‘cost effective’ and ‘results based’ service. Those of us who work in the field of health, education, youth or community work can compare this to the current trend of ‘results-based accountability’ which has positives and negatives of its own.

This privatisation is a global topic, some people may be endorsing it and others may be trying to reject it (see attached picture!) it is a very real thing that is happening all around the globe with positive and negative results. I hope that through sharing knowledge and discussing the topic we may learn from each other.

References

Information learnt and paraphrased from: Peter Jarvis, 2007. Globalisation, Lifelong Learning and the Learning Society Sociological Perspectives. Oxon: Routledge. It can be found in google books here:

http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=l8iPetH_os4C&printsec=frontcover&dq=Peter+Jarvis+Globalisation,+Lifelong+learning+and+the+learning+society&source=bl&ots=bVMrY6bjFh&sig=xeEkoWemCsTc41x6lyTUS4Cn1SU&hl=en&sa=X&ei=zC6CUIzJGKnD0QWEpICIBA&ved=0CDMQ6AEwAA

Photograph taken from: The Guardian (Sri Lanka) http://www.srilankaguardian.org/2011/11/privatisation-and-keeping-standards-in.html all credit goes to the photographer and the individual who made the sign!

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In-case anyone noticed I haven’t been on here for a while, due to the fact that 1) I have been studying and working hard and 2) I haven’t actually had the internet for a couple of months!!

TEDxObserver-Plan B telling Britain about it’s young people

Video

Please watch this if you haven’t seen it Ben Drew (Plan B) makes some very bold points about how we could all be more community minded, this is empowering stuff and I wish him all the luck he needs to make his project a success!

Thank You

We’re not just playing Pool…morning thoughts

The competitive market that is ‘youth work’ needs youth workers do be able to do more than just play pool and build relationships with young people it became apparent in a meeting yesterday. Youth workers need to aim high within their projects at youth clubs, and then they need to sell themselves in order to gain more youth work.

Yesterday I made the mistake of asking for more work opportunities, turning a meeting into an interview situation that I didn’t quite feel comfortable with and wasn’t prepared for. I was asked about what skills I have and what makes me unique as a worker compared to all the other youth work staff and all the other youth and community students/graduates.

With cuts to youth services all over the U.K and of course some localised youth work being completely cut in parts of England it has become a competitive place to work. Admittedly I’m not the best sales person, especially when it comes to my own skills but I would like to gain more youth and community work. Anyone have any suggestions of how I can build my confidence and sell my skills?

Also the current climate of youth and community work doesn’t just effect paid staff such as myself, what about volunteers, youth work graduates and people know are looking to apply for youth work jobs?

And dare I say how does this effect the young people? Is it ethical that the local authorities who have kept their youth services during the recession will be more inclined to use young people to gain results and prove their credibility as a service for young people?

 

Thanx! Please comment and add to these thoughts.

 

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: https://pedagogyuk.wordpress.com/2012/01/12/had-a-meeting-today/). 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 http://yourideasredditch.wordpress.com/ 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

Saz