Working with young people: Roles and responsibilities
Working with young people: Roles and responsibilities

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Working with young people: Roles and responsibilities

1.5 Characters: the Facilitator and the Supervisor

1.5.1 The Facilitator

Description: A facilitator works closely with the individual or group of young people to help them achieve a task and learn from the experience. Implicit in a facilitator's role is the belief that the young people involved are competent and, with the right information, support and motivation, can meet their goal. The term ‘scaffolding’ is sometimes used, meaning that the worker provides a support structure around the task. If the young person wobbles, the scaffolding can keep them on track. The support structure can be gradually dismantled as young people develop their own skills and are able to work with less or no support.

Issues: There are always difficult judgements to be made about when to step in and provide support, and when to let young people find their own way; whether to allow them space to learn through active experimentation, even when the risk of getting it wrong could be damaging to self-confidence or lead to the failure of a project. In the clips of Madcap you will see Gawaine and Steve talking about their roles, and the importance of providing a space for young people to try things out and take responsibility for the outcomes.

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Steve is the lead worker on music projects at Madcap

STEVE
[00.05] I think a lot of youngsters have the ideas in their minds, have ideas that they want to and things that they want to express but they may not have the means or the ability to do that. So what I am actually trying to do is make something that’s amorphous in their mind you know actually concrete I guess, you know that's what it sort of comes down to. So I am forever looking for what it is they really are after rather than trying to impose my own ideas on what they’re doing.

Text: His work brings him into contact with some potentially problematic young people.

STEVE
[00.40] A lot of the people that come to me are referred to me via various social services groups like Connexions or er well the young offenders team, you name it but they come in and potentially I have got the very worst young people who are, are well known for causing massive problems elsewhere.
STEVE
[01.01] We might be able to get a mix sorted so that you’re actually going out with something that is relatively complete and then you, but you…

Text: Anyone referred here becomes the lead musician on their own music project.

STEVE
[01.08] And yet, by having one at a time what happens is they come in and I say to them, well if you are working with your friends, bring them in. So they tend to bring their mates in who bring other mates in and soon you have a group of people who are actually already, they have already worked on their own dynamic, they work and if they are falling out then usually it’s a lot easier to deal with that because they’re already friends they know each other.
STEVE
[01.31] As you hit that note just put your head up slightly, yeah, so that you get it. Text: Building confidence is one of Steve’s first objectives.
STEVE
[01.35] At first you may have to put an awful lot of input in to make them realise they have even got good ideas and then you can gradually back off as the time goes on but when they start to realise that their own ideas have value and they do work um you can sort of back off and allow that to happen.

Text: But everyone who comes here has different abilities and aptitudes.

STEVE
[01.57] You may find that the person has come in with um, you know have loads of lyrics and they they write lyrics every day and they are absolutely brilliant so it, that that process of gauging where they are first is incredibly important. Gauging without any kind of judgement is also incredibly important and so everything they are doing you have got to say, you have got to bring out what is good about it so it is not a case of lying and saying it’s good when it’s not but um it is to actually bring out what is good about it.
STEVE (sings)
[02.29] ‘Watching it towering me. Sending me down…’ No that wasn’t quite right
JACKIE (sings)
[02.32] …’sending me down’
STEVE
[02.34] Yes, so it’s lower, so it’s… It’s crucial for the first stage of a creative project to be non-judgemental.
STEVE
[02.36] Sometimes that stage is called origination and I think that’s the most important thing, is to keep everybody smiling, and keep everybody feeling that their ideas have value and to actually bring no judgement whatsoever at that point and and so usually the people that are making the most judgement on themselves are the young people themselves so they’ll say something and oh no that's rubbish you know, and you go, and it is so important to make sure that they understand that it most certainly isn’t rubbish and even if it is rubbish maybe you’ve got to get the rubbish out the way before the good stuff comes so for God’s sake just do it, you know.

Text: For every project Steve and the band leader start by working up a plan.

STEVE
[03.16] In fact what you have got is a rolling plan but the, so therefore the plan doesn’t dictate what actually happens but what the plan does do is, is give purpose to the whole process. And I think that having purpose is really essential is, is what it’s all about. With purpose comes discipline and that’s not imposed discipline necessarily, um it’s, it is the kind of discipline that the young people actually want themselves. They want to create this thing, they want it to happen and I keep my, my job I guess is to keep reminding them.
STEVE
[03.50] Er and I’ll get the levels right, and sort of mix a bit so that you can hear everything right. And then we’ll go for it.

Text: Steve believes working towards a goal is a very effective form of discipline

STEVE
[03.57] They actually have ownership of it and all I’m being abrupt with is their tendency not to do the work, but it’s their work it’s not mine, so hence you know we, we don’t have discipline problems, because that’s what it’s about. They know it’s their work and they know that the result of it will be their you know, will be their thing.

Text: The goal may be a CD, a live performance, or a set of lyrics.

STEVE
[04.20] Young people I think (laugh) as a, as a breed tend to have brilliant ideas but find it difficult to actually bring something to a close. Actually, I say young people, I’m sure we all find that difficult, um but it is in the bringing something to a close, and completing it in some shape or form, that says look, I can do it, I’ve got this, this is mine, this is it, this is the stake in the ground and listen to me on this CD or, you know, and that is what actually creates confidence in doing the next project and it because what it’s saying is that my ideas are valuable, they work.
STEVE
[05.05] How about if we hang it up or no, one of you hold it and we stick a microphone at both ends. Text: Steve believes his ability to do the job is tied to his love of music.
STEVE
[05.12] There’s no doubt about it that what drives me is my love of music So I am very, very enthusiastic about music, and, and I’m also aware that I have, you know that, that’s where my skills lie.
JACKIE(sings)
[05.28] ‘has turned again.
STEVE
[05.30] Ah, you’re doing something really interesting. That’s what you’re doing. Text: He sees no divide between Steve the project worker and Steve the musician.
STEVE
[05.36] So for example somebody may sing a snatchet of melody which is all out of tune and everything, and my skill. I have to listen to what they’re really trying to do, use my musical skills to work out what it is they really want to do, play it back to them and say “Is that what you meant?” But if I wasn’t musical I wouldn’t be able to do that. So I’m really feeling that whatever youth work, that you know a good youth worker has got, if they are going to work within a certain medium they have got to know that medium too and not just know it but love it, they’ve got to love that medium and that’s what you express to the young people that you’re working with.
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Text: Gawaine’s connection with Madcap goes back a long way.

GAWAINE
[00.03] I first started coming here about 14 years ago, something like that, because they used to have a lot of gigs here and so you know when I was roughly the age of the people that come here now’s age, I was coming here and getting drunk and getting up to shenanigans because they had a lot of music and a lot of bands and stuff playing here so I’ve been coming here for a while but about four years ago, I think Steve started here then and I came along to a gig and obviously ended up chatting to him and he showed me into the studio.

Text: Gawaine’s own past may help him relate to the centre’s more troubled users.

GAWAINE
[00.32] I was homeless for a while but I got myself a place, I was living in a hostel for a while and sort of been getting myself sorted out over time and sort of so I’ve been trying to move into a career which I actually enjoy doing because I can’t work in an office and I can’t work in a factory because you know they are not environments that I like, I like creative things and interacting with people and that.
GAWAINE (background chatter)
[00.51] The frequency switches the gate….the right frequency for that one…

Text: Gawaine was lucky enough to get a Musician’s Union New Deal placement at Madcap.

GAWAINE
[00.57] Well, I’m just trying to pass on knowledge mainly, that's what I mainly do. I want them to be able to do, you know do and you know that anything I know and I am more than willing to pass on to them. Do you know what I mean, so it’s like I’ve got a lot of technical knowledge which I’ve picked up over time from studying and if I can condense that and pass it on to someone who can use it in five minutes then it’s worthwhile and useful knowledge then. That’s what I see myself doing really, passing on knowledge and enabling people to do what they want to do, you know.

Text: Gawaine’s work at Madcap involves close collaboration with Steve.

GAWAINE
[01.24] Steve is um more, more of a musician, he works with a lot with bands and he’s been doing, has been working as a musician for quite a while so he’s more there, he can direct them from that kind of aspect, so he can get them to sit down, hum a few words and then write a tune around it basically. You know, work out the chords, play the melody and arrange it that way. I am more technical. I can handle you know the mixing and recording side of it more easily than Steve can and Steve is obviously more fluent at dealing with the musical aspects of it. So we’ve got different strengths but they work together kind of thing so I think that’s how it works really.

Text: This partnership with Steve has taught Gawaine a lot of new skills.

GAWAINE
[02.01] Dealing with people because I mean a lot of it is obviously dealing with people, social situations basically. You have got to try and coax them into giving their best performance, you’ve got to coax the creativity out of them, know when to go in and tell them to do this and know when to step back and to give them some space to do what they want to do.
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