In an announcement expected to be made before midday today, the Government is due to reveal targetted work force development for the youth work sector. While this is not a surprise, the nature of the training very much is.
The government has been focusing on ‘positive activities‘ for young people and has been keen to see the outdoors used more in youthwork provision. This has led to a training relationship with the army whereby any employed youthworker (statutory or voluntary/faith sector) who works over 21.75 hours per week will be expected to do an 8 week mandatory course in fitness, fieldcraft and expedition leadership, then two weeks refresher every two years. While this programme will be residentially based at a military base the government were keen to stress it’s not ‘boot’ camp (maybe a ‘trainers’ camp?) Part of the programme will be unique to youthworkers and part will make use of existing army initial training programme.
This initiative apparently is linked to the stepping up of the JNC as a degree qualification and a concern that it is becoming too cerebral a discipline. The briefing also noted that a number of youth workers were less than fit, but majored chiefly on the fact that the outdoor environment was being under-used in work with young people. The training will be a condition of the ISA registration for employed youthworkers.
"We hope to see a workforce of fitter, healthier youth workers who are as comfortable in the middle of Dartmoor as they are on the edge of a Pool table. A skilled body of workers who can lead and deliver
‘positive activities’ with young people in an outdoor environment" Briefing doc p2
The government and Army training co-ordinator Major Charlie will be announcing the full details this morning. The training won’t start until 2009 (The first trainees reporting for training on April 1st) and is expected to use the residential barracks and training centre at RAF Gagfield.