The range of work with young people
The range of work with young people

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The range of work with young people

Examining diversity

By now you will be aware that work with young people uses a variety of locations. However, you will also recognise that the diversity of settings is not simply about the building or other facility within which the work takes place. The difference between ‘settings’ might be represented in terms of a number of features that we can use to describe them:

  • the location of the work
  • the organisation that is responsible for the work
  • the type of work that takes place there and its aim
  • whether provision is part time or full time
  • the role of the person/people doing the work
  • employment arrangements – whether work is paid or unpaid, for example
  • whether the setting receives funding and/or charges fees
  • whether the setting needs to report to anyone else about what it does.

The next activity asks you to look at The Factory Project in the light of the features we have just listed.

Activity 2: Analysing a practice setting

Timing: Allow about 30 minutes

To carry out this activity, you will look at two audiovisual ‘clips’ illustrating the work of ‘The Factory Project’, a youth work project in Loughborough, Leicestershire.

It is a detached youth work project for Asian young men who live locally. It aims to work with those aged 11–25 years of age, but with 80% of time and resources going to work with 13–19 year olds. The project was established in 2000 and aims to increase the active participation of Asian young men in the work of the Youth Service. It was founded by two detached youth workers and a small group of young people who met at a derelict warehouse, which gave the group its name.

The Factory Project seeks to:

  • create space for young people
  • provide opportunities
  • establish challenges
  • develop potential
  • unleash creativity
  • broaden horizons.

To do this the young people have taken part in lots of activities including discussions, debates, campaigning, health education workshops, outdoor pursuits, camping, visits to museums and places of interest, film-making and so on.

The first clip shows one evening’s work and in the second, Andrew, who manages the project, explains how he views it. In these clips, as well as Andrew, we see two part-time workers on the project, Akkas and Kasem. They were both originally participants in the project as young people.

As you watch, note down how you would describe the setting in terms of the features listed earlier in this course. You might find it helpful to use a table like the one below. (We have filled in our thoughts about the first feature to show you what we mean.)

(The content within Activity 2 including the videos is not subject to Creative Commons licensing.)

Skip transcript: The Factory Project clip 1: An evening with The Factory Project

Transcript: The Factory Project clip 1: An evening with The Factory Project

AKKAS MIAH:
Here’s Andrew. He’s late.
KASEM CHOUDHURY:
As usual.
AKKAS MIAH:
As usual for anywhere. Hello Andrew. But anyway, it blew up and then the whole.
KASEM CHOUDHURY:
Anyone injured?
AKKAS MIAH:
No one was injured anyway. Hello Andrew.
ANDREW LAKE:
Hello.
KASEM CHOUDHURY:
Happy Eid.
ANDREW LAKE:
Yeah, same to you. Did you have a good ‘un?
KASEM CHOUDHURY:
We did indeed.
ANDREW LAKE:
Right, I brought all the consent forms for the Eid trip.
AKKAS MIAH:
It’s the Eid trip next week, yeah.
ANDREW LAKE:
All right, ten pin bowling laser quest is what they asked for. Well, let’s go for it then. Shall we? We’ll get you on that training course eventually, when they run more of it, because every course they’ve run has been full to the brim.
AKKAS MIAH:
Oh, have you asked Sheila about any home learning.
ANDREW LAKE:
No. I see her on Thursday morning. Hello.
KASEM CHOUDHURY:
Hello.

[INTERPOSING VOICES]

ANDREW LAKE:
How are you? Are you all right? Good.
AKKAS MIAH:
Oh, Shams, you need to fill in the form, basically.

[INTERPOSING VOICES]

AKKAS MIAH:
We’re on the streets, and we’re going to dish out the consent forms for the Eid celebration, Eid celebration will be next week. And then the week after that, we’re going to be on the streets giving out the fourth anniversary of The Factory. And then we’re going to do a showcase in Mansfield Lodge. Basically, we’re going to show a PowerPoint® presentation of all the pictures since we started, all the way ‘til now. So it’s all the pictures, and we’re going to have a meal and that. And on the fourteenth, we’re going to have a movie night down there.
SPEAKER 1:
Oh yeah, I want to go to that one, a movie night.
AKKAS MIAH:
Here you go.
ANDREW LAKE:
You should sign the back of them.
KAWSAR:
Oh shit, yeah, forgot about that.
ANDREW LAKE:
Sign the back.

[INTERPOSING VOICES]

ANDREW LAKE:
No, we’re Vox Pop. Do you know what happened?
KAWSAR:
What happened?
ANDREW LAKE:
We’ve got about 100,000 pounds to build the extension.
KAWSAR:
Oh, to build the extension? He gave us some things, but he never told us what, gave him the piece of paper saying.
ANDREW LAKE:
Yeah. Well, the government minister came out last Friday to a meeting at the Moira Centre and she’s pulled the money, so there’s a 100,000 pound extension, which will be built on.
KAWSAR:
A 100,000 pound. So what happened to the other areas?
ANDREW LAKE:
No, we can’t get planning permission for them. They’re too expensive, or they’d need lots more money. It’s not feasible.
KAWSAR:
Yeah but, 100,000 pound is good enough for us.
ANDREW LAKE:
I think it’s pretty good.

[INTERPOSING VOICES]

ANDREW LAKE:
What’s wrong with your job?
ZIAUR:
Not very happy with it. I want this job like you, that’s chilling isn’t it.
ANDREW LAKE:
Why are you not happy with it?
ZIAUR:
No, I am happy, but I prefer a different job. I’m going to go back to school next year, something different. I don’t want to work in a factory all my life.
ANDREW LAKE:
No, so why did you leave school so early, then?
ZIAUR:
Yeah, I know. It’s all my friends, mates and that.
ANDREW LAKE:
Peer pressure.
ZIAUR:
Yeah, I know.
KASEM CHOUDHURY:
You do know you have to apply for six universities, not one?
ZIAUR:
I know, I know. That’s why I’m worried, I don’t know which one to go to.
KASEM CHOUDHURY:
Yeah. Because I think Burleigh what they did with us was because I wanted to do chemistry, while I was doing my A level, they offered us a position, just to go to a uni they called it a taster course, just to follow people around who are actually doing the course, to get to actually sit in their lectures. It’s for a whole day, and you get to see a taste of that course.
ANDREW LAKE:
What about the forms, the applications?
AMIN:
I’m going.
ANDREW LAKE:
OK, right. Are you coming on the Eid trip?
AMIN:
I don’t know. Most likely.
ANDREW LAKE:
That’s clear. See you later. But you know, what about the writing of the application forms?
SHAMS:
No good.
ANDREW LAKE:
OK, well we can work on that. There’s certain ways to write them, isn’t there?
SHAMS:
Yeah.
ANDREW LAKE:
And a lot of forms are very similar. If we go down to Tescos, get a form or something, and practise on it, we’ll be all right. We can do that.
AKKAS MIAH:
So right.
ANDREW LAKE:
We’re off now.
AKKAS MIAH:
We’re off. See you guys later. See you next week, guys.
ANDREW LAKE:
See you next week if you’re on the bowling.

[INTERPOSING VOICES]

ANDREW LAKE:
Are you coming on the Eid trip?
SPEAKER 2:
Yeah.
ANDREW LAKE:
Good. See you next week then.
SPEAKER 2:
Actually I’ll see you on Friday.
ANDREW LAKE:
Remember the old factory? It’s very different now, isn’t it?
AKKAS MIAH:
Very. There’s houses or flats in here now and a massive car park.
ANDREW LAKE:
All the jobs gone.
ANDREW LAKE:
What’s the matter? No tunes today?

[INTERPOSING VOICES]

AKKAS MIAH:
How are you guys?
KASEM CHOUDHURY:
Right, it’s the Eid celebration at laser quest and bowling. Are you interested, Alam?
ALAM:
I am actually.
FARUK:
Laser quest and bowling. Can you think of anything else?
KASEM CHOUDHURY:
What can you think of?
FARUK:
You all come up with the same thing all the time.
KASEM CHOUDHURY:
What can you think of, Faruk? We always ask you, but you give us the same thing.
MUSLEH:
Go on, then. I want to see, what’s going on?
KASEM CHOUDHURY:
Eid celebration.
MUSLEH:
Yeah, man, put me down.
KASEM CHOUDHURY:
Laser quest, bowling. Food, food. There’s food.
MUSLEH:
Yeah, put me down.
ANDREW LAKE:
Did you sort all that rent problems out? Did you top anybody off for them to pay all your bills?
PAUL:
No. I’ve paid them all.
ANDREW LAKE:
It’s good, apart from the rent. That’s sorted now?
PAUL:
Yeah, it is now.
ANDREW LAKE:
Did you do that, or did she go down there?
PAUL:
No, I did that and she did half.
ANDREW LAKE:
Did you do it the way I told you?
PAUL:
No, I worked.
ANDREW LAKE:
On the Friday to pay the rent?
PAUL:
No, a couple days a week.
MUSLEH:
I’m fully qualified, but I don’t know if I’m going to put my skills into use or not, you know what I’m saying?
AKKAS MIAH: But there’s a food and hygiene course as well.
MUSLEH: Yeah, I’m going to take that. The place I work at is like, you know I work with you as well on Fridays, and at the Shree Ram. I mean, we’re only like, the kids there, about up to 13, 14. We work with up to 25-year-olds, but it’s not always, you know what I’m saying? The detached youth work one, I don’t know, because I’ve only really done any detached youth work yet, so this is detached youth work, isn’t it?

[JAHANGIR RAPS]

ANDREW LAKE:
You want to do Mela, then?
JAHANGIR:
I’ll give it a go, yeah. Why not?
ANDREW LAKE:
You think you’ll be good?
JAHANGIR:
It’s nothing like scary, is it? It’s normal thing isn’t it.
ANDREW LAKE:
I don’t know. There’s 2000 or 3000 people there.
JAHANGIR:
So? That’ll give me more confidence about my life. If this lot can do it, I want to do it was well. I ain’t gonna back up or nothing, do you know what I mean?
ANDREW LAKE:
I’ll get the entry form.
JAHANGIR:
Yeah, nice one mate, cheers for that.
KASEM CHOUDHURY:
They’re not born to be, or they’re not born to do anything.
SPEAKER 3:
They decide to be gay.
ALAM:
How can people be born gay?
KASEM CHOUDHURY:
No one said they were born gay.
ALAM:
You just said they discover that they’re gay.
KASEM CHOUDHURY:
What it is, as people grow up, they go into relationships, and they explore, they try different things, and then eventually, a lot of people, they.
MUSLEH:
So do you do think it’s natural, do you think it’s right?
KASEM CHOUDHURY:
It’s right for the people who want to be gay, yeah.
MUSLEH:
I’m trying to say, is it natural? Gays are gay because of society, of media, fashion trends, that’s what I think. That’s what society is all about.
KASEM CHOUDHURY:
That’s nature, nurture. That does have an effect on people.
MUSLEH:
Yeah, it has 100 per cent effect.
KASEM CHOUDHURY:
It’s not 100 per cent. You’re religious, you’re against it.
MUSLEH:
No, in religion, in Islam, it doesn’t say to be against gays. It says you should respect them.
ANDREW LAKE:
See you later, then.
KASEM CHOUDHURY:
See you later.
ANDREW LAKE:
Thanks for the rap. It’ll be after Christmas.
ANDREW LAKE:
That was challenging tonight.
AKKAS MIAH:
Very challenging. Describe what you are hoping to achieve in this particular session.
KASEM CHOUDHURY:
To promote Eid celebration.
ANDREW LAKE:
Did we not actually plan the informal discussions? We left space for them. You can do an awful lot of activities, and then you never have any discussions, so that’s quite important. OK, one of the things on top of the form is Adulthood and Independence, and what’s really good about that session is they were learning to talk about a really difficult issue for them, which is quite complex. Now, they couldn’t do that at home, so if we add that in that bit at the bottom there. Future issues.
KASEM CHOUDHURY:
First out.
AKKAS MIAH:
First out. Future issues in there.
ANDREW LAKE:
Because I know their youth worker, and he would be up for that, because it’s part of his job. All right, then?
AKKAS MIAH:
That’s about it, yeah.
ANDREW LAKE:
Signed it?
AKKAS MIAH:
That’s yours.
ANDREW LAKE:
See you later then.
KASEM CHOUDHURY:
See you later.
AKKAS MIAH:
See you later.
ANDREW LAKE:
Do you want to get that light first?
KASEM CHOUDHURY:
See you later.
AKKAS MIAH:
See you week. 6.50 for the Eid trip?
ANDREW LAKE:
Yes.
KASEM CHOUDHURY:
See you then.
End transcript: The Factory Project clip 1: An evening with The Factory Project
The Factory Project clip 1: An evening with The Factory Project
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Skip transcript: The Factory Project clip 6: Andrew’s perspective

Transcript: The Factory Project clip 6: Andrew’s perspective

ANDREW:
The Factory Project began life just after the year 2000, it was a sort of Millennium project. And it was started by myself and another colleague, who were aware that we weren’t really meeting the needs of Bangladeshi young people, so we actually went out on the streets and started to talk to young people. And the first group of young people that we actually met was in a derelict factory, and we talked with them and we went back the following week and talked with them again, trying to understand what the needs were for this type of youth work, it was going to be very much a street project. They told us what they wanted from us and how they wanted it, how we had to adapt and improve what we did as a service, as a youth service, so that we could better meet their needs.
ANDREW:
When we originally started, we started off with a very, very, very small budget, incredibly small, and just basically two of us. And we were both white workers who aren’t Muslim, which is a long way from the members who we were trying to meet the needs of. And we were very frank and said, ‘We don’t have a lot of experience, we have limitations. So can you teach us about Islam? Can you teach us about being young and Asian, and about street life?’ Which they did.
ANDREW:
Our longer-term plan in four, five years was for the young people to become members of staff, because we advertised for two years, and never got anybody applying for the work to be an Asian street worker, because we were specifically looking for someone who was a Bangladeshi street worker, and we couldn’t get anyone. So we did the best we could, and we’ve sort of grown our own workers now, because most of the project work is actually done by young Asian men themselves, and we sort of do more of an advisory capacity in that and help manage and train those workers.

[SIDE CONVERSATION]

ANDREW:
Kasem has done a part-time worker’s certificate course through the county council, which has taught him how to be a youth worker, and that’s done independently of us by County Hall, then we have a training department. He’s worked with them, and that’s a one-year training course where he did a whole series of activities that are work-focused, but also formalised theoretical stuff, and he does that with trainers from other youth clubs, other workers, so he learns from lots of different directions.
ANDREW:
Akkas is just starting to go along that route, and he’s starting to do part-time training courses and things like that as well to improve his skills. But a lot of their learning is around the coaching, the on the job learning about the issues, learning how to manage them.
ANDREW:
A lot of our work is done in the 13 to 19, 20-year-old age range, about 80 per cent of it as part of our planning. So you get very complex needs. 11 to 14-year-olds want a lot of different things to the older ones, so you have to change and adapt. So 11 to 14-year-olds were doing a lot of things that’s around positive use of leisure time, having fun. When you get over 14, 15, you know, things are coming up like relationships, employment, exams, and the pressures of adult life are starting to emerge and focus on you. And our key job is helping the transition to adulthood through those key years so we come out with happier young people that are more positive and know about how they fit into the wider world and, you know, the community at large and how they can help it.
ANDREW:
The group is essentially very traditionally Muslim as well, we do have some Hindus and that as well in the group. But it’s not a religious project. We of Asian Young People aren’t into any religion at all. But it’s a good mixture that does respect different cultures. So when we do things like camping, we plan them carefully so that we can respect as many cultures as possible. One of the camping trips we went on, we had nine different nationalities on it, nine different cultures. What a rich experience, fabulously rich experience, very difficult as a worker to try to meet all those complex needs, because we had a Rastafarian, et cetera, et cetera. It takes good planning and a lot of thought, and you have to know the young people, you have to know what they want to eat, you know, whether they do prayers, and you have to adapt your programme around those specific needs.

[SIDE CONVERSATION]

ANDREW:
Some of the friendship groups we work with on the streets also have within them white young people, and these are friendship groups that are very, very strong and very, very supportive to each other. If anyone comes up to us and wants to talk to us, then we’ll talk with them. We’ll respect the diversity of the groups as well, you know, and the friendships that are important to young people. Often the strongest support systems that young people have are each other.
ANDREW:
I think if all the activities weren’t there and I didn’t have a penny to do an activity, the relationships would still be there, and the work would still go on. When we started The Factory Project out, we had 42 pounds in the bank, that was it, you know. And to set a project up on such a minimal amount of money didn’t matter, because what the young people were wanting was talking, dialogue, a relationship, you know, and that doesn’t cost a fortune. It takes time, not money. It takes time and it takes thought and it takes, you know, consideration. And sometimes, they take a few knocks, but hey, that’s life.
End transcript: The Factory Project clip 6: Andrew’s perspective
The Factory Project clip 6: Andrew’s perspective
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Table 1

FeatureThe Factory Project
The location of the workThe Factory Project takes place mainly in the street environment.
The organisation that is responsible for the work
The type of work that takes place there and its aim
Whether provision is part time or full time
The role of the person/people doing the work
Employment arrangements – whether work is paid or unpaid, for example
Whether the setting receives funding and/or charges fees
Whether the setting needs to report to anyone else about what it does

Discussion

When we did this activity we filled our table in as follows:

Table 2

FeatureThe Factory Project
The location of the workThe Factory Project takes place mainly in the street environment.
The organisation that is responsible for the workThe Factory Project is a project funded by the local authority.
The type of work that takes place there and its aimThe Factory Project aims to offer opportunities to, and raise the aspirations of, a group who make less use of youth provision than some others.
Whether provision is part time or full timeThe project works at different times of the day and week to fit in with the lives and routines of the young people.
The role of the person/people doing the workAndrew and his team are trained as youth workers.
Employment arrangements – whether work is paid or unpaid, for exampleThere appear to be paid and unpaid opportunities within this setting. It aims to ‘grow its own’ workers and train young people who participate.
Whether the setting receives funding and/or charges feesThe Factory Project started with a tiny budget but has succeeded in obtaining a large grant for a building.
Whether the setting needs to report to anyone else about what it doesThe project carries out evaluation and it also needs to report to those who give funding.

You and other readers of this course may have experience of different types of settings where there are different expectations. For example, some of you may spend time with young people primarily on a one-to-one basis, whereas others will work in group settings. Some of you may work with particular young people ‘targeted’ because of their perceived needs or problems, others will work in settings where young people can come and make use of the facilities during their leisure time. Some may work in youth clubs or centres, while others might engage in ‘detached’ work with young people on the streets.

An important distinction between settings concerns how much money they have to pay for activities and where it comes from. For example, funding may come predominantly from fees contributed by participants; alternatively, the setting may receive money from external sources such as the government, a charitable trust, donations from the public, or some mixture of all of these.

Often when a setting receives funding from an external source this means that those within the setting are required to work in a specified way (with particular young people, for example) and report to their funder on how successfully they have achieved this.

Readers of this course will also reflect the diversity of the sector through different patterns of engagement with young people. For example, if we consider employment patterns, there are many possibilities:

  • you may be working with young people on a voluntary basis, with an organisation such as The Scout Association or St. John’s Ambulance. If so, you are likely to have other activities (such as work or domestic responsibilities) that occupy you for the rest of your time
  • you may be working young people as a part of a different role – such as being a police officer or a firefighter
  • you may be in the early stages of a career with young people
  • you may not be working directly with young people at all but meeting them as part of the family or the local community.

Such differences in personal interest and outlook will affect your expectation of a setting and the setting’s expectations of you.

Interestingly, there is limited recorded evidence about the numbers of practitioners (paid and unpaid) who work with young people or the nature of what they do. Statistics that are available tend to measure certain parts of the sector. For example, YouthLink has measured the contribution made by different categories of worker to voluntary youth organisations in Scotland. These volunteers and paid staff work with a total of 386,795 young people, though the age range is wider than the 13–19 group that we are concentrating on in this course (37 per cent are under 10, 31 per cent are aged 10–14, 24 per cent are aged 15–17 and 8 per cent are aged 18–24.)

Described image
Figure 1 Different categories of worker in voluntary youth organisations in Scotland (YouthLink, 2012, p. 4)

‘Adult’ volunteers are defined by YouthLink as those over 18 and ‘young’ volunteers as those under 25 who have helped on a short-term basis. What emerges clearly is the importance of voluntary workers to these organisations.

A similar picture emerges in other parts of the United Kingdom. In Northern Ireland:

there are at least 27,703 individuals involved in delivering and supporting youth work in Northern Ireland. This is more than the number involved in either the energy & water, or agriculture, forestry and fishing, sectors, in [Northern Ireland].

(Courtney, 2011)

Within this workforce, 90 per cent are volunteers, most of whom are engaged in uniformed or church-based youth work; 8 per cent are part-time paid staff and 3 per cent are full-time paid staff.

In England:

The most recent figures suggest that there are around 5,500 [full time equivalent] youth workers employed by churches and Christian agencies, more than the statutory youth service … . There are also said to be around 100,000 volunteers. Churches have become the largest employer of youth workers in the country.

(Smith, 2007)

Overall, these statistics demonstrate that there are a large number of people who spend at least part of their time working with young people. However, the statistics are still incomplete. The next section concerns an attempt to audit a wider range of activity with young people in England.

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