The Youth Work Reference Group (YWRG) met on 10 August 2018.
They have now met 6 times this year, further details of the current role of this group is in Annex A. The purpose of circulating the following key messages is to enable the sector to understand the work that the YWRG has been undertaking, and that which is planned.
• At the latest meeting, the YWRG met again with Keith Towler, Chair of the Interim Youth Work Board for Wales. They discussed the role and remit of both the Board and the YWRG and agreed that there needed to be a changed focus for the Group. Therefore from the October 2018 meeting the YWRG will change to a Youth Work Stakeholder Group. The work of the group will feed into the work plan of the Board and further discussions about this will take place once the Board is established. As part of this there will be further consideration of the Terms of Reference of this group and the membership.
• The group discussed the Estyn Report `Youth Support Services in Wales – The value of Youth Work’. They welcomed the opportunity for this discussion to take place, it was broadly acknowledged that the report was timely and the findings will now feed into the development of the new Youth Work Strategy.
• The group were made aware that Keith Towler would shortly be sending out two statements, the first to the wider sector giving them information about his role and his intentions over the next two years; Message from the Chair – Sector CYM ENG the second aimed at young people; Message from the Chair – Young People CYM ENG . Keith asked all group members to disseminate the messages when they were published to their own stakeholders, and any young people they work with.
• The group received a presentation from Kelly Harris from the Welsh Youth Parliament. They welcomed the opportunity to have an update on how things were progressing, and to have the opportunity to work with Kelly and her colleagues going forward as the Parliament develops, and to further explore how this can help to shape the development of the Youth Work Strategy.
The group discussed the need for Welsh language support and provision to be a key part of the new Strategy, linking in with other work such as Cymraeg 2050. The group agreed there needed to be greater coherence with the way services are both funded and provided across Wales and this would be a challenge for the Board going forward.
The Youth Work Reference Group (YWRG) was established in December 2014 to support Ministers to implement the National Youth Work Strategy. The remit of the group has changed over time and revised Terms of Reference were agreed in January 2018 which states;
“the purpose of the Group is to provide advice, support, guidance and challenge to Welsh Ministers and the Welsh Government on youth work in Wales. The Group has no executive powers and is advisory in its purpose.”
In March 2018, the Minister for Welsh Language and Lifelong Learning set out her intention to develop a new long term National Youth Work Strategy, and recruit a new interim Youth Work Board. Details of the statement she made in March can be found <here>.
The YWRG have played a key role in taking forward this work and the members of the group have remained committed to work needed in developing a new Youth Work Strategy for Wales. This has included giving consideration to key areas that will underpin the strategy, and processes for engaging with young people and the sector in its development.
Current membership of the YWRG includes representatives from the Welsh Government, the Welsh Local Government Agency, local authorities, Principal Youth Officers, Council for Wales of Voluntary Youth Services (CWVYS), Estyn, The Professional Association of Lecturers in Youth and Community Work (known as TAG), Education Workforce Council (EWC), Education Training Standards Wales (ETS), Trade Unions, the Association of Directors of Education in Wales (ADEW), Ethnic Minorities and Youth Support Team (EYST), youth workers, Children’s Commissioner for Wales’ Office, and independent youth academics.