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Our youth are our future

Our youth are our future
Youth in New Zealand can have their lives transformed by people who are qualified to provide them with support and guidance. This is the view of the national advisory committee on youth development which oversees the Bachelor of Youth Development – the only qualification in New Zealand which provides a full degree in the discipline of youth development.

“Youth Work is its own profession and it’s really important that those overseeing the people who work with youth encourage their workforce to get qualified,” says Committee Chairperson John Harrington.

John Harrington who works for the Canterbury Youth Workers Collective says, “Youth work often gets confused with social work, but it really is a specialist field. Many young people in this country experience a hard time during their development and it is vitally important that Youth Workers, who work with young people, are skilled and qualified. What they need is professional guidance and support which is brought together and enhanced through degree level study.

Our Committee has a vision that everyone working with young people have the opportunity to study and achieve a qualification. As a sector we encourage young people to remain engaged in learning and this applies equally to our own workforce.

“We estimate there are more than 3000 Youth Workers employed in New Zealand and many volunteers. The vast majority have no qualifications or only a certificate. The standard of service and support to our young people is really improved when you have a workforce who not only have a strong base of life skills and experience to offer, but who also understand the development requirements of youth as a separate group to adults and children – skills students learn on the Bachelor of Youth Development.

“We want to produce more graduates in New Zealand with the Bachelor of Youth Development qualification. Our young people deserve it,” says John Harrington.

Andy Pilbrow leads the Youth Workers in Secondary Schools pilot which sees nine youth workers from Family Works Northern and the Anglican Trust for Women and Children working with youth in South and West Auckland. “The government expectation is that youth workers are qualified. This is a good thing. Practice needs to be supplemented by theory.

“People involved in the specialised field of youth work need an evidence base gained through academic training to complement their practical skills. They need good information and good training.

“Increasingly academic training is required for youth workers to perform their job to the expected standard. As an example youth workers are required to keep good case notes, write reports and make referrals. Academic training provides the skills for this part of the job. The Bachelor of Youth Development is the only degree of its type in New Zealand and signals that a youth worker has the right skills and attributes required to fully undertake the role.

In light of the need for qualified workers especially in Auckland, WelTec has expanded its intake for July 2014 and invites interested individuals to contact us now. Scholarships are also available.
An Employer and Community Event for interested students, employers and community leaders
What: Learn about the professional development opportunities for the youth workforce and hear from lecturers on the Bachelor of Youth Development
Who: WelTec – only New Zealand training provider of the Bachelor of Youth Development
Where: Viaduct Events Centre, Halsey Street, Auckland
When: Monday 16 June 2014 from 5.30pm until 7.30pm


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