The debate rolls on.

I was speaking to a group of youth work educators this week when the question of professionalising came up. I was interested to hear their perspectives on the current situation in Victoria.

Some of the issues that were brought up included:

  1. Why diploma and certificate four students would not be able to have full membership when in the field their work is generally the same as that of degree qualified workers.
  2. How a committee looking at professionalising can have good governance and oversight if they only have a select few people invested in the development of an association.
  3. That there has not been a thorough sector consultaton, particularly in rural settings; and
  4. That many students at certificate four and diploma level feel they are being left out of the discussion

Is it best practice to not involve the entire sector in the development of a “Professional Assocciation?”.

Western Australia had many issues in the inception of its professional association that Victoria seems destined to repeat. The sad fact is that not everybody will be happy if a professional association of Victoran youth workers is set up. However, Victoria’s committee should take a page out of WA’s book and consult the sector more widely and network more strongly so as to have more support for an association.
New Zealand spent a much longer time consulting and trialing the ideas of professionalising. To date it is working well. Maybe a longer and more thorough consultation is required.

Australian Government releases Investing in Australia’s young people, a comprehensive listing of services available to Australian youth

The Office for Youth has published Investing in Australia’s young people: A stocktake of Australian Government initiatives for young people. This 251-page report is a detailed listing of the ‘programs, services, payments and policies’ available to Australia’s 3.5 million young people aged 12–25.
Large- and small-sale programs ‘to support young Australians to maximise their educational opportunities and participate productively in the workforce’ are listed. They range from petrol-sniffing prevention programs in remote areas of Australia to the Australian Sustainable Schools Initiative to the Community Street Soccer program. Those who work with youth, young people themselves, policymakers and the wider community will find the report a useful resource.

The report is divided into three parts.

Part 1 contains an introduction and methodology.

Part 2 outlines the Australian Government’s role as it relates to young people. It contains a comprehensive description of each ministerial portfolio’s role in youth affairs.

Part 3 contains the listings of activities and services; it is divided into six headings: Expressing yourself, having fun and being active; Family, community and communication; Health, wellbeing and development; Pathways, work and money; Learning and skills development; and A productive and sustainable Australia.

The report can be viewed at the following link:
http://www.youth.gov.au/Documents/InvestingInYoungPeople.pdf

Beginning of a new era

Youth work in Australia has changed a lot in the ten years I have been involved in it.

As a collegiate we are at a cross roads. Should we follow the path that our fellow workers from WA have taken and professionalise? Should our training become more specialist? Are THEY right when THEY say youth workers just drink coffee and play pool with young people but have no real use? It is tough being a youth worker today.

This blog will track the changes that are happening across Australia and keep youth workers up to date with news and event as they come.

I hope you join me on the Journey.

Aaron