9 June 2021
UK Youth is launching a new strategy to 2025. “Unlocking Youth Work” outlines a bold ambition to impact young lives by unlocking youth work as a catalyst for change. The national charity will work in partnership to build a cross-sector movement, creating a society that understands, champions, and delivers effective youth work for all.
The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the world and it has further exacerbated the inequalities that exist in the availability of support and opportunities that young people need to thrive. 2020 has also reinforced that youth work is poorly understood and underutilised, yet we know it is a critical mechanism of support for young people.
Youth work is an educational discipline that uses techniques to develop the self-empowering agency required to lead a fulfilling, productive life.
Ndidi Okezie, UK Youth CEO, says: “Even before Covid-19 hit, the youth sector was struggling to be understood; unable to sustainably meet the diverse needs of young people in the unique way that it can. Young people are still being left to navigate development opportunities that do not join up. Yes, it’s important to be working on making that navigation easier, but our call to action is the need to re-imagine the whole system itself.
“To solve the key issues affecting young people, it’s crucial that cross-sector leaders and young people are empowered to come together, to share, grow expertise and solve key issues. It is vital that youth organisations have access to sustained quality development provision and that together we grow the evidence base of what works so the sector can scale quality provision for all young people. At UK Youth our focus will be on leveraging cross sector networks to deepen understanding and deliver system level change.”
There are more than 11 million young people in the UK, they make up over a fifth of the population and represent Britain’s future. They are the next generation of workers and leaders of society and yet they are facing a range of significant barriers to success. For so many young people their youth worker is the only person they openly talk to, and their youth club, the only safe space they feel they have to be heard and to explore their character on their own terms.