Rising Status of Youth Workers
Posted on Friday, May 30, 2008
Youth workers are becoming increasingly important to local authorities, with growing numbers employed and fewer councils opting out of national pay deals.
Early findings from a study of integrated youth services by the Community and Youth Workers’ Union (CYWU), show a slight increase in the number of youth workers on council payrolls since 2007.
The study, carried out by the Labour Research Department, also showed no local authorities had plans to cut the number of directly-employed youth workers, although the number of part-time workers has declined.
The study discovered almost nine out of 10 local authorities apply national Joint Negotiating Committee (JNC) pay and conditions for youth workers and had no plans to change this. The JNC for youth and community workers sets the national framework used to grade and pay youth work jobs. CYWU said this confirms the professional role for youth work in education and learning, supporting the personal and social development of young people.
Doug Nicholls, National Secretary of the CYWU, said the findings reinforced the importance of youth work in helping young people and strengthened the argument for the formal recognition of youth work staff through registering and licensing.
"Never before has youth work had a greater impact and we are able to evidence its beneficial social and educational effect," he said. "With youth work in the ascendancy, we now need formal recognition of our role, through registration and a licence to practice for youth workers."
Nicholls said youth workers were often overlooked in the national debate about increasing youth participation. "Youth workers have the specialist skills and training to enable young people to manage youth centres and deliver the youth service in all its settings," he said.
More than 80 per cent of local authorities took part in the research, which was commissioned by CYWU to mark its 70th anniversary.
The full report will be published in June.