The value and impact of Youth Work on the lives of young people will be investigated in the largest piece of research of its kind in Europe.
Researchers at Plymouth Marjon University, have received the funding of 302,000 Euros to deliver the project from Erasmus Plus.
Leading the research, Dr Jon Ord, says it will demonstrate the positive impact of Youth Work and provide vital evidence needed to level the playing field of inequalities in Youth Work Services across Europe.
Dr Ord said: “This is the first research of its kind and will identify the authentic impact of Youth Work by really getting to the heart of what’s important to young people, in order to promote a service which is under threat.”
“The project will result in a multi-lingual, online open access learning resource to provide training and information for those in the sector. Data on the impact of youth work across Europe will be collated into an open access Ebook and will present research that Government policy makers cannot afford to ignore. “
“Youth Work services in the UK have been cut dramatically in recent years, but this is not the case everywhere. Some of our European partners invest significantly more in resources for training and expertise in their much larger youth services, and those countries reap positive intergenerational outcomes in their communities.”
In Helsinki with a population of 600,000 people, it has an annual budget of 33 million Euros for its Youth Service. Devon has a similar population with a budget which has shrunk from around £5.5m to around £1.75m.
The project will roll out the participative evaluation method across the UK, France, Italy, Estonia and Finland. The method involves young people directly in the process of evaluation by asking them what difference Youth work has made to their lives; identifying what has been the most significant change throughout their engagement with services. The changes are expected to be many and varied and include changes in their outlook and aspiration, significant growth in confidence, as well as academic achievement, or gaining employment. It may also reflect the resolution of problems such as overcoming bereavement or an addiction.
Dr Jon Ord Jon, Associate Professor at Plymouth Marjon University has worked for 20 years as a youth work practitioner and published ‘Critical Issues in Youth Work Management’ with Routledge in 2007, and ‘Youth Work Process, Product & Practice: Creating an authentic curriculum in work with young people.’ Lyme Regis: RHP.
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