Work Ireland staff, volunteers and young people took part in a Consensus Conference on the Future of Irish Youth Work, the one day conference took place on Saturday 22nd September 2012 in Farmleigh House. The day was a great opportunity for Youth Work Ireland staff, volunteers and young people to be part of a discussion about the critical changes that are taking place in Irish youth work, and to be listened to by policy makers and Minister for Children & Youth Affairs, Frances Fitzgerald.
In preparation for our National Consensus Conference, from April to July 2012, young people, volunteers and youth workers from Youth Work Ireland’s 22 Member Youth Services took part in a wide reaching and exhaustive consultation process which saw 24 workshops and over 400 surveys carried out and completed. During this process young people, volunteers and youth workers were asked a range of questions about their experiences and opinions of what works well in their youth services.
We also had surprise guest appearances from Darragh McDonald, Gold Medal Paralympian in the London Games 2012 and Pat Byrne, winner of RTE’s The Voice. Pat has also in the past worked with Carlow Regional Youth Service.
The questions reflected the key issues that had been identified so far in the developing of the new national Youth Policy Framework and included questions on best practice, community involvement, targeted youth work, programmes, participation and engagement. Frthe hundreds of responses we received, a number of key themes emerged. These themes formed the basis of the discussion and debate in this Conference.