Whilst councils hit the headlines for cutting youth services, other organisations are becoming real advocates for youth work.
The National Youth Agency is working with the Premier League to train football coaches and inclusion officers in youth work skills to support their practice with young people. With 24 football clubs from the Premier and Football League receiving training to date, including Leicester City, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City and Chelsea.
Around 100 club staff are participating in the accredited Youth Work Skills training. The modules covered include theory of youth work, engaging and communicating with young people, safeguarding and young people’s development. The youth work training has proved very popular with clubs and coaches, who find it is helping staff understand young people better and how to work with them effectively; thereby getting the best from their young players.
Maralyn Smith programme manager for NYA, said “Some of those attending have found youth work to be the missing piece of the jigsaw. It makes sense of their experience working with young people and as a result they’re really responsive and keen to put into practice what they are learning.
“The enthusiasm is brilliant – one club is setting up a youth forum, whilst others are asking for all of their coaching staff to be trained.
“Clubs see training their staff in youth work skills as a way of investing in their young players – and we all know how lucrative that can be.”
Ish Latif, youth engagement leader at Leicester City FC said, “Taking part in the NYA youth work training has expanded my work with young people, and I have set up workshops challenging perceptions. The learning has enabled me to challenge why young people have particular views and where they have learnt them from.”