Have Your Voice Heard!
30 October 2015
National Youth Work Week (2-8 November) celebrates the value of Youth Engagement
In 2014/15 Hertfordshire County Council Youth Connexions worked with almost 17,000 young people around the county delivering over 9,000 youth work sessions, including weekly youth projects, social action projects, volunteering opportunities, youth councils and forums, detached and street work, school holiday programmes and outdoor educational activities.
Through attending these sessions, young people can develop their personal and social abilities, gaining key life skills in preparation for adulthood, the world of work and further education. Young people are able to work towards nationally accredited schemes and qualifications, such as the Level 2 Certificate in Youth Work Practice, City and Guilds, AQA units and Duke of Edinburgh Awards. They also become valuable contributors to their community.
National Youth Work Week 2015 (2-8 November) will see the second annual Youth Connexions Awards take place at County Hall, providing an excellent opportunity to celebrate some of the remarkable work and progress shown by young people with the support of Youth Connexions.
The theme for this year’s National Youth Work Week is ‘Have Your Voice Heard’, and the subject of youth empowerment is central. Youth Connexions delivers a number of Youth Councils and Forums around the county, including some in partnerships. Over 50 young people are actively involved, giving them a taste of how decision making processes work, and a chance to have their voices heard on local issues.
Young people’s voice and opinions are integral to the delivery of all Youth Connexions projects. Young people are consulted as to the type of projects delivered, the content of the programmes and are directly involved in the delivery. Examples of this are young people events, at which young people are involved in planning, promoting and organising, and have the opportunity to perform in front of their peers. Young people can also volunteer at youth projects to gain crucial workplace skills. At present there are over 70 young volunteers working within Youth Connexions projects.
Another example of Youth Voice and engagement is the 2016 Herts Young People’s Manifesto, which has been informed by a consultation of over 9,500 young people within the county who are eager to have their voice heard, share the issues most pertinent to them, and effect change.
Young people are encouraged to actively participate within their community, putting their ideas into practice, through youth action and volunteering projects. Last year, Youth Connexions supported nearly 900 young people to take part in the National Citizen Service (NCS), which has seen them choose a community cause, plan the project, raise money, and carry it out. This summer alone, over £4,500 was raised to support community projects.
Young people entertained senior residents at Age Concern’s Apton Centre in Bishops Stortford with a game or two of Jenga with during their NCS social action project
As a result of projects such as these, a recent survey of over 1000 young people who have been supported by Youth Connexions indicated that 79% of those consulted felt that they were more confident and better at listening to others, while 80% said that they had improved their decision making skills.
For further information regarding National Youth Work Week, please see the National Youth Agency website.