Supporting Youth Work
Commission into Young People and Enterprise
The National Youth Agency held an independent commission into young people and enterprise, supported by A4e and chaired by Chloe Smith MP.
The cross party commission looked at barriers that hold back young people’s success including fear of failure, finance and unemployment, and existing support mechanisms.
The commission found young people are discouraged from starting a business because it is perceived as risky, however with youth unemployment higher than for any other age group, self-employment should be considered a realistic option for many young people and more signposting and specialist support needs to be made available. Read a blog post from young entrepreneur Kurt Lee who spoke at the launch.
The commission believes that youth workers are well placed to support young people’s enterprise skills, as well as act as mentors to inspire young people to consider enterprise as a career option. Commissioners are calling on youth workers to become stronger advocates for enterprise.
Other recommendations included:
- Dispelling the myth that enterprise consists solely of setting up a business based upon a large, revolutionary idea needs to change. The ‘TV celebrity’ approach to enterprise is not helpful.
- A need for local role models, mentors and networks for support are needed in ways young people can readily access.
- Recognition that being entrepreneurial can take place full-time, part-time and
at any time would be helpful in encouraging young people to think about this as an option.
- Wider recognition that non-cognitive (soft) skills in young people play as much a part in successful enterprise as the cognitive or technical skills.
The commission comprised:
- Chloe Smith MP, chair
- Lord Mike Storey
- Baroness Oona King
- Sally Orlopp, A4e Director for Enterprise
- Michael Bracey, Assistant Director Education & Participation, Milton Keynes
- Seyi Obakin, Centrepoint, Chief Executive and UKCES Skills Champion
- James Adeleke, Generation Success, Managing Director
- Graham Sykes, Fourteen19, Managing Director.
Commission on Youth Work in Education
The National Youth Agency held an independent commission to assess the value of youth work within formal education across England and Wales. The final report is available here.
The commission found that good youth work in schools can help improve attendance and behaviour, promote achievement and improve home and community links.
Its recommendations included:
- clear mechanisms for bringing together partnerships between schools, youth services and the voluntary and community youth sector
- a joint statement of support from the youth sector
- robust quality assurance arrangements
- good youth work practice in schools and colleges to be recognised by Ofsted.
The commission was chaired by former Children’s Minister Tim Loughton MP and made up of key figures from both the youth work and education sectors.
Commission into Sufficiency
Positive for Youth, the Government’s policy for young people and youth services, confirmed that the statutory duty to secure access to a local offer is to remain.
In line with the localism agenda, decisions about ‘the offer for young people’ will be determined at a local rather than national level. However, the revised guidance for Local Authorities on Services for Young People is unclear what a good or sufficient offer should look like. Positive for Youth simply states:
‘Whether services are provided in-house or externally, and how in-house services are managed, is a matter for local authorities. However local authorities are encouraged to look at new integrated and partnership approaches to meeting young people’s needs…. And to avoid service reductions which may leave young people at risk of poor outcomes.’
As the leading body for youth work in England, the National Youth Agency established a commission to determine what can be viewed as a “sufficient offer” of local provision for services for young people.
The commission was made up of key figures from the statutory, voluntary and academic sectors, and a young person experienced in this area.
After gathering and scrutinising evidence from across the youth sector the commission into sufficiency published its findings into ‘what is a sufficient youth offer’.
One important recommendation was that central government establishes a targeted Youth Premium. Similar to the Pupil Premium in formal education, it would ensure disadvantaged young people get access to high-quality youth work support.