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

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A spectrum of youth work practice

Another model – or way of thinking about practice settings – to which Banks draws our attention is a spectrum of youth work practice.

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Figure 5 The spectrum of youth work practice

At one end of the spectrum there is open-access provision – open to all young people, who choose whether they will participate or not.

At the other end there is practice that is provided for specific young people – sometimes known as ‘targeted’ provision. Targeted work may be provided for named individuals who are seen as in need of particular support or intervention, such as youth offenders. Often, these young people have not chosen to participate.

The term ‘targeted’ is also sometimes used to describe services that are open to all but that are aimed at young people with particular interests or needs. These young people are likely to have made some choice to take part and we would therefore put these settings nearer the middle of the spectrum. Targeted work is often specialist in nature – for example it might involve specialist expertise in areas such as giving advice or counselling.

In the following section we consider how work with young people may be changing over time. Here, again, the spectrum model will be useful.