Education Minister, Kirsty Williams, joined a number of youth work organisations in the Senedd yesterday for a Youth Work Week showcase event celebrating the impact youth work has across Wales and to publish the new Youth Work Strategy.

The strategy, founded on young people’s voices and developed in collaboration with key partners within the voluntary sector, statutory services, Education Training Standards, Education Workforce Council, and Estyn, sets out a vision for the future of youth work in Wales with 5 key aims ensuring that:

1. Young people are thriving
2. Youth work is accessible and inclusive
3. Voluntary and paid youth professional youth work staff are supported throughout their careers to improve their practice.
4. Youth work is valued and understood
5. We have a sustainable model for youth work delivery in Wales.

Reaffirming her commitment to achieving these aims, Kirsty Williams said:

“I want Wales to be a country where young people thrive, with access to opportunities and experiences, in both Welsh and English, which provides enjoyment and enriches their personal development.”

Rachel Benson, Equality, Inclusion and Programmes Manager at Youth Cymru, said:

“Youth Cymru are delighted to be part of this year’s Youth Work Week. This is a valuable opportunity to raise the profile of youth work, celebrate its impact and to come together to share best practice. Young people from Youth Cymru and our member organisations had the opportunity to shape and inform the new Strategy; they spoke about the importance of youth work being accessible, inclusive and providing safe spaces for young people to develop and thrive. We welcome its publication and the vision it sets out.”

We started the day with a stall brimming with goods to promote our work and the work of our members, but we were also thrilled to have some promotional materials from Eurodesk UK as we are in the UK partners network and value the service they provide. Eva from the Birmingham-based team even made the jounrey down to celebrate with us, and to give us some brand new leaflets, bilingual as usual, which is always appreciated from an organisation based over the border. The leaflets are part of their recent re-branding, and you can inspect the new look in more detail here:

On the day we got to hear from some brilliant young speakers about their youth work experiences, including young staff at several CWVYS members. Sophia from YMCA Swansea talked about her work and experiences with mental health issues and the I Am Whole project, and Egija (also from YMCA Swansea) spoke of the climate emergency and her recent journey to the United Nations in New York, which was featured in the European Youth Portal!

The event showcased the diversity and quality of Youth Work provision across Wales, but it was particularly good to see so many CWVYS members represented. It was an event sponsored by Llyr Grufydd AM who holds voluntary youth services in high esteem and is a valued supporter and champion on youth work in the Senedd. Thank you to everyone who organised, supported and turned up on the day, a special thanks to Rachel from Youth Cymru for bringing us all together.