Following the National Youth Agency’s release of the annual monitoring of youth and community programmes, managing director Leigh Middleton has been commenting on the findings.
Speaking to Children and Young People Now magazine, he said:
“Over the past few years the numbers of youth and community work graduates following the traditional path to local authorities as professional youth workers has plummeted from a third in 2013 to just 3% last year. Graduates are now most likely to be employed in the voluntary sector or in a whole range of settings where youth work is integral but not discernible in the job title such as on grant-funded programmes, housing agencies, schools and community work.
“This changing face of youth work employment is chicken and egg – the absence of traditional youth work roles is impacting on recruitment to higher education courses, whilst, compounded by severe cuts to public services and fewer graduates, youth work roles have broadened too.
“NYA’s annual monitoring information on the destination of youth work graduates also indicates more research is needed to find out more about the types of employers within this category. We’re working with our Education and Training Standards to explore this and hope this will help us understand more about developing routes to make youth work training as accessible as possible. We’re also supporting the sector to develop a new youth work apprenticeship standard including degree level apprenticeships.
“Yet despite the sector’s flux, JNC recognised programmes continue to provide youth and community graduates with the skills to operate in a range of different settings and contexts, equipping them for the challenges ahead.”