Julie James AM, Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology
Quality youth work has great potential to enrich the lives of young people in Wales, whether it’s through the experiences it opens up for them or the support it offers. However cuts to funding are threatening the future of youth work provision across Wales. We therefore need to work together towards a strengthened national approach, an approach that is capable of securing consistent youth work offer across all parts of Wales.
During my address at the Together for Young People conference in Cardiff this morning I will announce The Wales Charter for Youth Work. This sets out the Welsh Government’s minimum expectation for youth work to young people across Wales. The Charter is written from the perspective of a young person rather than that of service providers.
The Wales Charter for Youth Work
All young people will be entitled to easy access through the medium of English or Welsh to:
- Safe, warm, well-equipped meeting places providing opportunities for sustained relationships, exciting leisure-time activities in arts and sport, and new experiences which widen their horizons.
- Opportunities to take part in outdoor adventure and in residential and international experiences.
- Opportunities to participate in decision-making via informal and formal structures for youth engagement locally and nationally (e.g. young mayors, youth councils and Senedd). Such arrangements to have clear references to participation standards; to be based on UNCRC principles; and seek to engage young people in shaping and scrutinising the services which affect them.
- Information, guidance and support on matters which concern them including employment, housing and mental well-being. The service can be accessed both through digital media and via trusted and trained adults.
- Encouragement to learn more about their own culture and the cultures of other people.
- Co-ordinated provision by youth workers in all secondary schools and colleges, extending the ‘pupil offer’ and thus enriching the formal curriculum and supporting personal and social development.
- Opportunities to be civic activists e.g. by volunteering.
- Recognition and /or accreditation for their achievements in personal and social development both in schools and colleges and in the community.
To ensure implementation of the Charter there will need to be changes in how the system is governed and funded. I have asked my officials to begin to explore the setting up of a Wales Youth Development and Support Framework, a Framework that will look to develop a representative, strategic body across youth-facing services. The support framework will build on existing arrangement and bring together, initially at the national level, the strategic direction, planning, resources and data gathering.