Outcomes in Youth Work: the problem of product

19 July 2011 — 25 Comments

Just over 2 years ago I completed my degree in Informal & Community Education. The final dissertation for my studies evolved somewhat from its initial idea and ended up with the title ‘Outcomes in Youth Work: the problem of product’.

Here’s the synopsis:

This project aims to explore the recent rise in outcome-driven youth work set out in the government Connexions strategy, and research the impact that it has had on practice. The research takes the form of two online surveys for workers and three face-to-face interviews with part-time statutory workers at a local youth club. As such, it is not focused on measurable statistics or hard evidence, but instead relies upon the considerable experiences of those in the field that have to show outcomes in their work with young people.

Although there is a wide range of opinion expressed in the research regarding the use of outcomes, some key themes are drawn out:

  • The suggestion that youth work is currently undergoing an identity crisis due to a dilution of its core values.
  • A concern that the outcome-driven model promoted by the government has significant flaws when applied to youth work practice.
  • An argument for the greater use of reflective practice in youth work rather than target-focused monitoring and evaluation.

In addition, this project demonstrates that the Connexions strategy has had a significant impact on youth work practice and that there is a distinct divide between those who accept its outcome-driven approach and those who deplore it. At the end there are some conclusions and a suggestion for a possible way forward.

A great deal of my research for the project took the form of online surveys which I posted on this blog here and here (and other sites elsewhere), so I thought it was about time to post the final result.

As it’s obviously a long document, I’ve made it available as a pdf download (2MB). To get a copy, all you have to do is share a tweet or a facebook post. Simply click on the button below to share your status and access the file for free!

If for some reason you don’t have a twitter or facebook account, leave a comment below and I’ll email you the link.

I’d love to hear your feedback, so please let me know what you think!

Jon

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I am a qualified youth worker, writer and consultant based in Littlehampton, UK. I’ve worked in the voluntary youth sector for over 12 years, am married to Kirsty and we have two daughters named Hope and Eloise.

Check out ‘Journeying Together: Growing Youth Work and Youth Workers in Local Communities‘ and read my opening chapter.

25 responses to Outcomes in Youth Work: the problem of product

  1. I am a Coordinator of a Youth Drop-In Program in Canada and constantly struggle with the “tunnel vision” requirements of public funders. I would be very interested to read your paper.

    • Hi Melissa, thanks for the comment. I’ll email you the document. While many of the themes may be relevant, I’m not sure how the particular issues we face in the UK apply to your practice and culture in Canada. I’d be very interested to hear what you think. 🙂

  2. Kath Schofield 4 August 2011 at 9:15 am

    As someone with one foot in the world of youth work and the other in education I have mixed feelings about outcomes in a youth work contexts whilst also feeling that the brilliant work done by young people should be acknowledged

    I would like to read your research

    Best wishes

    Kath

  3. Hi,
    I am a youth worker in belfast and battling with my thoughts on outcomes in the youth work context. Can they complemet the youth work process or are they totally opposed to it? I would be interested in reading your dissertation.

    Vinty

  4. Hi Jon I’m currently doing a dissertation on youth service and the death of its universal work, and would be very interested in reading your work thanks

  5. Hi I am a youth worker in Belfast currently struggling with the ongoing demands of outcomes whilst ensuring the engagment is voluntary and building a positive relationship with young people. I would be very interested to read your dissertation l. M

  6. Hi, I’m currently completing my dissertation with MMU and alongside my work I am continually facing red tape and barriers brought about by measuring outcomes. I would be interested in reading your dissertation as this is what I am currently researching. Jack

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

  1. stewart cutler (@stewartcutler) - 19 July 2011

    I downloaded the free pdf ‘outcomes in youth work’ from @bobweasel. Check it out! #youthwork http://bit.ly/raeAWk

  2. Rosie (@rosiemumford) - 19 July 2011

    I downloaded @bobweasel’s ‘Outcomes in Youth Work’. #youthwork http://bit.ly/raeAWk

  3. Gemma Dunning (@gemmadunning) - 19 July 2011

    I downloaded the free pdf ‘outcomes in youth work’ from @bobweasel. Check it out! #youthwork http://bit.ly/raeAWk

  4. Tasha Turberville (@Tashaturb) - 19 July 2011

    I downloaded the free pdf ‘outcomes in youth work’ from @bobweasel. Check it out! #youthwork http://bit.ly/raeAWk

  5. Jenny Stabler (@JenStabler) - 19 July 2011

    I downloaded the free pdf ‘outcomes in youth work’ from @bobweasel. Check it out! #youthwork http://bit.ly/raeAWk

  6. Naomi Stanton (@NaiStanton) - 20 July 2011

    I downloaded the free pdf ‘outcomes in youth work’ from @bobweasel. Check it out! #youthwork http://bit.ly/raeAWk

  7. mike palin (@mikepalin) - 20 July 2011

    I downloaded the free pdf ‘outcomes in youth work’ from @bobweasel. Check it out! #youthwork http://bit.ly/raeAWk

  8. Daniel James (@danndubzfan) - 25 July 2011

    I downloaded the free pdf ‘outcomes in youth work’ from @bobweasel. Check it out! #youthwork http://bit.ly/raeAWk

  9. Jon Tuchband (@jontuch) - 28 July 2011

    I downloaded the free pdf ‘outcomes in youth work’ from @bobweasel. Check it out! #youthwork http://bit.ly/raeAWk

  10. Gareth Prytherch (@synergytrain) - 28 July 2011

    I downloaded the free pdf ‘outcomes in youth work’ from @bobweasel. Check it out! #youthwork http://bit.ly/raeAWk

  11. Fisherking (@Fisherking3) - 6 August 2011

    I downloaded the free pdf ‘outcomes in youth work’ from @bobweasel. Check it out! #youthwork http://bit.ly/raeAWk

  12. Annick@KCcentral (@AnnickatRBKC) - 29 August 2011

    I downloaded the free pdf ‘outcomes in youth work’ from @bobweasel. Check it out! #youthwork http://t.co/hXPRdqd

  13. Shaun Lowrie (@shaunlowrie) - 19 September 2011

    I downloaded the free pdf ‘outcomes in youth work’ from @bobweasel. Check it out! #youthwork http://t.co/928ixreE

  14. Pete Gray (@Alvincacti) - 26 September 2011

    I downloaded the free pdf ‘outcomes in youth work’ from @bobweasel. #youthwork http://t.co/eMcllc7Q

  15. Kevin Munday (@kevin_munday) - 15 October 2011

    I downloaded the free pdf ‘outcomes in youth work’ from @bobweasel. Check it out! #youthwork http://t.co/9bzahQXK

  16. Thomas Neilson (@CllrTomNeilson) - 17 February 2012

    I downloaded the free pdf ‘outcomes in youth work’ from @bobweasel. Check it out! #youthwork http://t.co/6OLex646

  17. Outcomes Framework for Youth Work | JonJolly.com - 20 March 2012

    […] changes that occur in young people as a result of our work. It was the focus of my undergraduate dissertation and last year the youth sector was criticised by the education select committee for not being […]

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