Youth work institute to launch in autumn

Neil Puffett
Friday, April 26, 2013

The Institute for Youth Work will open to qualified, non-qualified and student youth workers in September, it has been confirmed.

The announcement comes after the National Youth Agency agreed to fund the start-up process.

Maralyn Smith, national programme manager at the National Youth Agency (NYA) told CYP Now that there is a strong need for the institute.

“With the landscape changing, there is a real recognition that this is a really important time for youth work and the sector needs support,” she said.

“There are a whole range of different organisations that provide a voice for the sector, but nobody who specifically speaks for the youth worker on the ground in the range of different environments we are looking at.”

NYA backing to set up the institute will see Smith and some of her colleagues – the equivalent of two-and-a-half full-time posts – working on the launch.

Part of this will involve the creation of an ethical framework, which members will be required to sign up to.

A draft version of the framework will be put out for consultation in June.

There will be three levels of membership – student, a "member" level for those working with young people without a formal qualification, and a "certified" level open to professionally qualified youth workers.

Smith said that over time the hope is to create an alternative route to certified level in order to recognise youth workers who have “extensive” experience but lack a professional qualification.

“We want to provide a mechanism so they can become certified members,” she said.

Membership subscription fees will be settled following a consultation with prospective members on how much they would realistically be willing to pay.

The NYA will also fund the creation of a website for the institute and the development of resources.

Once the institute has launched, it is hoped that running costs will be covered by membership subscriptions.

Decisions on whether to introduce a licence to practice and create new levels of membership will be decided by the membership.

News of the institute's September launch comes after years of discussion over whether a body should be created.

The institute was first mooted in April 2011 by the Catalyst consortium – a government-funded group of youth organisations comprising the National Council for Voluntary Youth Services, the NYA, the Social Enterprise Coalition and the Young Foundation.

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