Wales Moves Ahead
Posted on Friday, September 01, 2000A major conference organised as a partnership between the Wales Assocaition of Youth Clubs, CYWU and the Wales Youth Agency took the Youth Service forward and gave heart and value to vital job throughout the country being undertaken by youth workers.
Wales has been traditionally appallingly underfunded in Youth Work terms and local government reorganisation just worsened this to the extent that now there are only 138 full time professionally qualified workers in local authorities. Some local authorities have one full time worker only. The service is heavily dependent on part time workers and volunteers, yet CYWU is uncovering case after case of employers not sticking to the 1995 part time workers agreement and treating staff abysmally. The local authorities spend about £14 million on the youth service and lottery funded projects amount to about £7 million. But many of these projects have been set up without professional infrastructure and training. CYWU is working through its officer in Wales Courtney Taylor to tackle these issues and is gaining wider recognition amongst employers.
However, the situation looks optimistically set for a reversal. The Assembly will be discussing a paper inOctober which could if adopted lead to one of the most forward looking and modernised services in the world. Following detailed audits and reviews Assembly members, initially motivated by former youth Worker Alun Michael have recognised the central role of the youth service in education and social inclusion. They have seen the need for increasing the full time staffing complement throughout the country and for providing meaningful resources for training and the employment of more qualified staff.
Wales is also leading the way by recognising more and more that there should be a code of ethics in the work and that serious consideration should be given to the prospect of a three year minimum full time qualification course.
CYWU’s Learning Project in Wales has brought hundreds of workers together and offered training and support and representation to hundreds more workers. In addition a regular office has been opened in north Wales as well and the Union is seeking to consolidate these developments over the coming year with more staffing and hopefully a permanent base.