Youth work takes a holistic approach when working with young people and the relationship between young people and a youth worker is entirely voluntary.
We work with young people aged between 11 and 18 (up to 25 years) supporting them to enhance their personal and social development and to enable them to have a voice, to be able to influence the world around them and to have a positive place in their communities. Youth Workers offer young people safe spaces to explore their identity, experience decision-making, increase their confidence, develop inter-personal skills and think through the consequences of their actions. This leads to better informed choices, changes in activity and improved outcomes for young people.
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child provides a set of principles and standards, spanning civil and political as well as social, economic and cultural rights that have international endorsement. It was ratified by the UK Government in 1991. Article 3 of the UNCRC states the duty in all actions to consider the best interests of the child and Article 12 states that all children have the right to express views on all matters of concern to them and to have those views taken seriously.
Democracy and decision making is as important for young people as anyone else. It is often the case that young people struggle to have their views taken into account, and Youth Services work with young people to support them in having a voice in areas that concern them. This takes place through Local Youth Forums, authority-wide Youth Councils, project/unit level committees, as well as through unconventional practices that aren’t committee based.
Dudley is part of a West Midlands-wide Youth Work network which seeks to share good practice, provide peer support and bring young people together to enhance Youth Voice delivery.