BREXIT and youth work

Brexit text with British and Eu flags illustration

Brexit has come

So last week saw Britain vote to leave the European Union. The Brexit referendum saw an unprecedented youth voice get quashed by the roar of the elderly seeking a return to a Great Britain of old and Baby Boomers who are worried that their pensions are being sent oversees. Throughout the campaigns the fear mongering was phenomenal. From concerns about refugees and financial performance to the beliefs of politicians every opportunity has been taken to spread fear in the Empire.  The most concerning issue from this whole ordeal was how easily this happened.

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32CB754C00000578-0-The_polling_data_showed_big_differences_between_how_different_ag-m-11_1459672827371Almost half of the population of the United Kingdom either didn’t vote or were unable to vote in the referendum. Many of those who were unable to vote were young people and refugees. The very people that the Brexit vote will affect the most. Of those who did vote, a significant proportion of of those who wanted to remain in the European Union were young people. This begs questions for youth workers, not just in the United Kingdom but throughout the world… When will we listen to young people? What does this mean for youth support services? What opportunities will avail themselves to young people and what will they lose? These questions among many others have been the focus of discussion by many of recent days.

A few thoughts from an Aussie whose family was banished to this great south land from the cold and dreary shores of England:

  • A country which has built itself on a nationalist framework will always struggle to let it go and play well with others. It was inevitable that Britain would leave the EU. Sadly until the voice of those who remember the height of British nationalism are silenced the generations will be stuck in the past.
  • The push of Neoliberalism will always seek to see splintered economies where some will prosper and most will eek out a meager existence. The mere existence of a Union is an afront to those seeking freedom in trade.
  • Young people have always been pawns to the will of the old. Young people are not listened to and do not have a strong enough platform from which to change this. As youth workers we spend our careers trying to amend this.
  • We live in a society which looks at the here and now. The future is of little consequence. Climate change, Economics, social breakdown and corruption all come from wanting a better now rather than a better future. We have more food than ever before and yet more poverty. We have more medical technology and yet die from preventable disease. Our now is more important too us.
  • Young people will always have to deal with the rubbish left by the old until there is a revolution. When power is held by one group over another there will never be freedom. Power must be distributed equally amongst all. Young people are under the power of those who are older, but that will only last until young people feel slighted enough to rise up. Better to share than be over ruled.

The future is now uncertain for Britain and more widely the European Union. Both sides of the debate believe they know what will happen and both will be certain in a few years. But one thing is certain, Young people believe their voice is not being heard. Brexit just proved it.

 

 

 

UltimateYouthWorker

Aaron Garth is the Executive Director of Ultimate Youth Worker. Aaron has worked as a youth worker in a number of settings including local church, street drug and alcohol outreach, family services, residential care, local government and youth homelessness since 2003. Aaron is a regular speaker at camps, retreats, & youth work training events and is a dedicated to seeing a more professional youth sector in Australia. Aaron is a graduate of RMIT University and an alumnus of their youth work program. He lives in Melbourne with his wife Jennifer & their daughters Hope, Zoe and son Ezra.

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National Youth Week 2016

National Youth WeekNational Youth Week

Every year adults around the country set apart a week to celebrate the exciting time of life called youth! The arrogance of adults! That we would think young people deserve a week of focus and then pack it up for another year. That governments would put the measly scraps of funding towards running youth week is a telling symbol of their lack of care or respect for young people. The fact that the Federal Government still does not have a Minister for Youth is a clear indication of how inept government is at taking seriously the voice of young people.

The more adults try to placate young people the more we miss the amazing things they have to teach us. When we hear people say that “young people are becoming…” we need to remind them that young people are already fully human with all the rights that come with being so. What it felt like to not be listened too. What it felt like to be ignored except to be reprimanded. The older we get the more we forget our own youth.

[Tweet “The arrogance of age must submit to be taught by youth. Edmund Burke”]

As a society we pay young people less, simply because they are young.  We believe that young peoples opinions are lesser because they have less experience. We believe that one day young people will make great citizens, but not quite yet. As a society we must submit to be taught by our young people. They are not only the hope for the future, they are our hope now. If we continue with our arrogance of age the future looks bleak.

There has been some discussion in Australia over the last little while about lowering the voting age to 16. This would be a good start in showing young people how much we can learn from them. It would also go a lot further than a poorly funded week of placation.

What do you think? Leave us a comment below.

UltimateYouthWorker

Aaron Garth is the Executive Director of Ultimate Youth Worker. Aaron has worked as a youth worker in a number of settings including local church, street drug and alcohol outreach, family services, residential care, local government and youth homelessness since 2003. Aaron is a regular speaker at camps, retreats, & youth work training events and is a dedicated to seeing a more professional youth sector in Australia. Aaron is a graduate of RMIT University and an alumnus of their youth work program. He lives in Melbourne with his wife Jennifer & their daughters Hope, Zoe and son Ezra.

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Welcome to 2015 and a few of our goals

Welcome to 2015! Woo Hoo. Well 2014 throughout Australia and indeed the world saw youth work under the pump. In Australia we saw funding and service provision cuts to deplorable standards making many youth workers question if they are in the right industry. In the UK we saw the Early Day Motion 488 and the debate on statutory youth services funding come to the fore. In the US the debate of where youth work fits in informal education versus standard education is still bubbling away with not much in the way of resolution in sight. These are just a few of the issues which are happening the world over. 2014 was hard.

2015 brings with it some hope. In Victoria where we are based a new state government has come to power which historically has supported youth work and young people. At Ultimate Youth Worker we are seeing a real collegiate push from academia to cement youth work as a profession coming not just in the form of a few journal articles but clear steps of sustainable development. We are also seeing more qualified and passionate youth workers coming into the sector who are willing and able to challenge the status quo than we have seen in years. These are truly exciting times to be a youth worker.

2015 fireworks

2015 is going to be an interesting year for Ultimate Youth Worker as well. We will continue to provide our supervision service and our Employee Assistance Program as we have for the last two years. We will continue our blog posts however it looks like we might be doing it a little less frequently. Our podcast which has been an on again off again project will relaunch in March. We are also composing some training videos which we hope to have on the website and on youtube for you all to use as you want. We are also looking at opportunities to provide more online training opportunities including webinars for you to access affordable training. We are currently looking to provide direct service to young people in 2015 through some tender opportunities which have come up. Finally, we will be providing a course in basic drug and alcohol for anyone who wants to productively help young people work through their struggles.

If there is any way we can support you personally or perhaps your organisation contact us to discuss what we can do for you. We wish you a bumper 2015 and a year of care and continuing success.

UltimateYouthWorker

Aaron Garth is the Executive Director of Ultimate Youth Worker. Aaron has worked as a youth worker in a number of settings including local church, street drug and alcohol outreach, family services, residential care, local government and youth homelessness since 2003. Aaron is a regular speaker at camps, retreats, & youth work training events and is a dedicated to seeing a more professional youth sector in Australia. Aaron is a graduate of RMIT University and an alumnus of their youth work program. He lives in Melbourne with his wife Jennifer & their daughters Hope, Zoe and son Ezra.

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How economic rationalism is changing Australia for young people.

Economic rationalism is hurting our young people

Working with young people is a job drought with concern and trepidation. Young people are looking for hope and opportunity and when they feel there is no hope then with trepidation they strike forth or shrink away. Whether with words or fists we see young people seek to find their hope through striking forth. Through disengagement from social structures they shrink away from a world they see no hope in. It is in this discourse of hope that youth workers work to guide young people to further greatness.
 
In Australia last night the federal budget was put to parliament and to put it bluntly it will hurt young people. Life will cost more, you will get less and the dream of retiring one day will be lost for most. One such area is the ability for universities to set their own rates for course fees. It was only a few years ago that a less intrusive policy in the UK led to less university entrance in the late 1990’s into 2000. Further changes in 2010 led to a tripling of fees which led to riots.
 
 
The push to ‘earn or learn’ means that young people have less time to work out what they want to do. Gap years will become a thing of the past and young people will be up for fifty years of working for the man. If you can’t afford to pay for a course it is ok you can get a loan and pay it back when you earn, however if fees go up as is likely your debt will be much higher than currently. You will also pay it back when you earn less than is currently set. Oh, and you will be fighting with the over 55’s for those jobs you want.
 
Health care will cost more. You will have to pay $7 bucks to go to a GP and add another $5 on top of your medication costs. One in four young people will have a diagnosed mental health issue… sorry that is going to cost you. Many under 25’s are starting families… cha-ching. A general check up… cha-ching. If you have any chronic health issues.. cha-ching. If you are a young person you were less likely to go to a doctor before… now you just can’t afford to.
 
Welfare payments are being cut and means tested differently so that young people will be hurt. Now under 25’s can not access the unemployment allowance and will go on the youth allowance, a loss of a few thousand much needed dollars. The aged pension will not be indexed to CPI so in a few years the pension will be under the poverty line leading to more older people in the employment market at least part-time. Young people on disability will be required to work if they are able in any way and work for the dole is being reintroduced.
 
Transport costs will go up with a fuel tax hike. Family budgets are going to be tighter as the ceiling for family payments has been lowered. All in all young people are being hurt!
 
The economic rationalism in this budget was clearly visible to all watch. Limit the economic drain of individuals. Grow the free market. Rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Australia is only a slice in the world pie however many of these hits have happened in similar ways in all conservative governments worldwide.
 
When we as youth workers focus on bringing hope to young people economic rationalism makes this a really hard sell. Young people do not see hope. They see greed and hurt. How will young people react to these losses??? We just need to look to London in 2011 and Greece in 2012. When young people feel a lack of hope they either fight or flee from a society that they feel does not meet standard.
 
We as youth workers need to get along side our young people and help them to see HOPE. If we don’t the economic rationalist agenda will break them.
 

What are your thoughts?

 

UltimateYouthWorker

Aaron Garth is the Executive Director of Ultimate Youth Worker. Aaron has worked as a youth worker in a number of settings including local church, street drug and alcohol outreach, family services, residential care, local government and youth homelessness since 2003. Aaron is a regular speaker at camps, retreats, & youth work training events and is a dedicated to seeing a more professional youth sector in Australia. Aaron is a graduate of RMIT University and an alumnus of their youth work program. He lives in Melbourne with his wife Jennifer & their daughters Hope, Zoe and son Ezra.

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Why young people need youth work more than ever.

Young people need youth work

The past decade has been a time of immense struggle throughout the world. Mass killings, war, famine, natural disasters, political upheaval and ideological struggles have been the norm for the world. In the midst of the chaos young people have stood together to find a different way. Whether it was the arab spring, the fighting in Crimea or the riots in London young people have seen the way the world is turning out and are questioning some long held truths about economy, education and existence. 
 
Youth work
 
Many see this questioning as rebellion and a lack of respect for long held traditions and laws or worse radicalisation. During the London riots Young people were called delinquents and trouble makers by  educators, policy makers and bureaucrats for asking why education costs so much. Around the world young people are being killed for challenging governments who oppress. Young people are no longer believing the long held truths at face value. Lets be honest, why should they. Those long held truths are causing them to question their future options and lament the generations before.
 
It is in to this fray that youth work is at its most effective. Young people are seeking answers but they are still formulating questions. They know that things aren’t right but they are unsure of how to address the causes. They want to be heard and understood. Youth work as a profession has sought to guide, support and listen to the young people we serve for over one hundred years. Now more than ever young people need to be heard. 
 
Youth workers hold a skill set that supports, listens and guides young people. It is this skill set that young people need and for our society to move forward it is this skill set which needs to be embraced. 
 
What do you think? Leave us a comment below.

UltimateYouthWorker

Aaron Garth is the Executive Director of Ultimate Youth Worker. Aaron has worked as a youth worker in a number of settings including local church, street drug and alcohol outreach, family services, residential care, local government and youth homelessness since 2003. Aaron is a regular speaker at camps, retreats, & youth work training events and is a dedicated to seeing a more professional youth sector in Australia. Aaron is a graduate of RMIT University and an alumnus of their youth work program. He lives in Melbourne with his wife Jennifer & their daughters Hope, Zoe and son Ezra.

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