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Strengthening the Contribution of Youth Workers

Hon Nanaia Mahuta
Minister of Youth Affairs

Media statement
6 June 2007

Strengthening the valuable contribution of youth workers

The government is looking at practical ways to support and strengthen the positive contribution made by youth workers including those who work with at-risk or very vulnerable young people says Youth Minister Nanaia Mahuta.

This follows a recent Ministry of Youth Development survey of the professional development and training needs of youth workers.

"I welcome the results of the survey which will be used to inform further work by both government and the private sector as to how they can continue to support youth workers," says Nanaia Mahuta.

"The findings show a high level of demand from youth workers for opportunities to increase their skills, effectiveness and qualifications, delivered in a way that meets their needs."

"We are committed to ensuring that youth workers receive access to high quality training opportunities, including making training a mandatory requirement with organisations employing youth workers, and signing up to the finalised national code of ethics," says Nanaia Mahuta.

The Ministry will drill further into the data from the survey to identify any regional differences in training needs, and will engage with regional providers to identify how these needs can best be met.

To assist the further development of the youth worker workforce, the Youth Development Ministry has contracted the National Youth Workers Network Aotearoa to develop a national code of ethics for youth work and to develop and support regional networks.

The Minister also acknowledged the work of the National Youth Workers Network in contributing to the survey and for the work on their national research report project, "Real work".

"We are seeing the positive impact of youth workers especially with hard-to-reach young people, for example the contracting of youth workers in response to recent youth gang issues in South Auckland has been very effective. We need to strengthen and support their important work.

"The ongoing recognition of the important role of youth workers, increased emphasis on the need to invest in professional development and training of this workforce better enables youth workers to respond to the needs of young people and support them to make positive changes for the long term. This survey should be utilised by government and non-government agencies when they make investment decisions in the youth sector. Just like good teachers we need to invest in youth workers to ensure that we have quality professionals working with our young people" says Nanaia Mahuta.

A copy of the report is available here.

ENDS

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