Newsletter 1 - Youth Work Bulletin - Autumn Edition


14 September 2018 - Issue 1 - Autumn 2018


The purpose of this bulletin is to provide you with an update on developments over the last year since the previous update.  Going forward we will produce a bulletin quarterly and if you have comments or suggestions please get in touch via 

Youth Work Conference 2018

The Youth Work Conference took place on 21 March at the Angel Hotel in Cardiff.  The Minister for Welsh Language and Lifelong Learning attended to introduce herself to the sector and set out her ambitions over the year to come.

These ambitions included establishing an Interim Youth Work Board to help drive forward a challenging agenda for youth work in Wales, the development of a new long term Youth Work Strategy that would be underpinned by a clear action plan, and the publication of the reviews that have taken place over the last 18 months including a Review of Extending Entitlement and the Review of the Youth Work Strategy.

This set the tone for the rest of the day and this national conference provided an opportunity to showcase best practice, raise awareness of and promote the impact of quality youth work throughout Wales.  The day was filled with presentations by key speakers Graeme Tiffany, Delyth Lewis, Jess Achilleos and Steve Drowley. There were good discussions around what a good youth work offer should look like, mental health and the `Together for Children and Young People Programme’, as well as presentations from the Welsh Youth Parliament and others.  Workshops were also conducted during the morning and afternoon sessions with attendees having the opportunity to hear about current ongoing work taking place across the youth work sector. It was also an opportunity to hear directly from the young people themselves as part of the young person panel. 

These workshops were also an essential part of the new strategy development and the feedback collected is being considered in detail.

Youth Work Week 23 – 30 June 2018

Youth Work Week is an annual event that provides youth work organisations and young people with the opportunity to celebrate the achievements and impacts of youth work.

This year, on 26 June, a showcase event took place at the Pierhead building in Cardiff Bay. It gave youth work organisations from the statutory and voluntary sector the opportunity to promote and showcase the good work that they do with the young people of Wales. 

The Minister for Welsh Language and Lifelong Learning attended and was delighted to meet young people, youth workers and youth work organisations. Numerous events and activities took place across Wales, with the week ending on a high at the Youth Work Excellence Awards.


Youth Work Excellence Awards 2018

Youth Work Excellence Awards 2018
Youth Work Excellence Awards 2018

The 2018 Youth Work Excellence Awards took place at the Principality Stadium, Cardiff on 29 June. It was an opportunity to recognise and celebrate the outstanding youth work that is taking place across Wales. 

The evening was hosted by Catrin Heledd, a journalist for BBC Wales with great entertainment from The Chopra Heaton-Duo (Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama) and The Magee Brothers. Both acts were an integral part of the night and set the mood perfectly for an evening full of enjoyment.

Thank you to everyone who helped to make this such a great event!

A list of the winners and runners-up can be viewed here. The finalist videos are also available to view on You Tube.   

Work will shortly be underway to start planning the 2019 Youth Work Excellence Awards!

Interim Youth Work Board

At the Youth Work Conference the Minister for Welsh Language and Lifelong Learning outlined her plans for a new Board, in person and through her Written Statement: ‘Youth Work in Wales: moving forward together’. The Board, made up of expert representatives from the field of youth work, will help us stay true to our vision as we develop and deliver our Youth Work Strategy.

Keith Towler  


 In June, during the Youth Work Excellence Awards, the Minister for Welsh Language and Lifelong Learning announced the appointment of Keith Towler as Chair of the Interim Youth Work Board. 


This was warmly received by the audience. This was followed by a Written Statement on 2 July that can be accessed from the National Assembly for Wales website.


The application process for remaining Board members closed on Monday 3 September. We aim to have Board members in place during the Autumn and are looking forward to appointing skillful and knowledgeable individuals who will help steer the strategic direction of youth work in Wales.

Youth Work Reference Group

The Youth Work Reference Group has been running for around four years during which time it has informed delivery of the current Youth Work Strategy.  This group has also proved to be a valuable resource for informing key discussions around youth work in Wales, and for providing advice and guidance to both government and other key stakeholders. 

Members of this group have been important contributors to the Children, Young People and Education Committee’s inquiry into Youth Work and subsequent follow up. 

In more recent months they have been working with the Welsh Government to look at the evidence base and consider next steps in terms of the development of a new strategic approach.

Working closely with Keith Towler, Chair of the Interim Youth Work Board, the group has now reconsidered its role and remit and have agreed to become a stakeholder group. In this form, they  will provide task and finish support to the work of the Board. Membership of this group will also be changed to ensure appropriate representation of the sector.


We would like to thank all the members of this group, past and present for their ongoing involvement, enthusiasm and support in taking this agenda forward.  

Youth Work Strategy

Work is currently underway to develop a new Youth Work Strategy, as announced in the Minister's statement on 21 March. Members of the Interim Youth Work Board will have responsibility for ensuring that the Strategy is developed in collaboration with the sector, using expertise and knowledge where needed.

They will have a key role in looking at the accountability structures, and in developing recommendations to Ministers on the most appropriate next steps. 

Central to the development of youth work in Wales is the principle that children and young people will be involved in the design of the new approach.


As a priority, Keith Towler will be engaging with young people from the start and will provide them with an early opportunity to describe what they value and what they want from youth work in Wales. This will be done through a Wales wide youth survey on the state of youth work in Wales. Further details of this will be sent out shortly. 

The European Solidarity Corps

The European Solidarity Corps is the European Union initiative which funds opportunities for young people to volunteer or work in projects in their own country or abroad that benefit communities and people around Europe.

UK organisations of all sizes, from multinational companies to small Non Government Organisations working in local communities, which support social action and promote social inclusion, can submit an application. The first deadline is 16 October 2018.

Funding can enhance organisations’ capacity and provision, while offering a meaningful experience for proactive young people. With the European Solidarity Corps, people from 18 to 30 years old can have the opportunity to engage with projects that make a difference while learning new skills and receiving some financial support. 

Get inspired by reading Fiona Brown’s life-changing experience: she joined a project in Poland, whose UK partner was the Language Academy Wales, volunteering at a school in a small town for three months.

The initiative has a proposed overall budget of 375.6 million euro until 2020. A dedicated website with information for UK organisations will be available from September will be launched soon. In the meantime, you can subscribe to the European Solidarity Corps UK newsletter to receive the latest updates. 

In the UK, the European Solidarity Corps is implemented by the Erasmus+ National Agency, a partnership between the British Council and Ecorys UK. If you have any questions, please contact the European Solidarity Corps team by email:

European Youth Information and Counselling Agency (ERYICA)

The Youth Engagement Branch of the Welsh Government holds the ERYICA membership for the whole youth sector in Wales.  Being a member of ERYICA means that you have access to many different professional and networking opportunities. Their membership counts 36 national and regional networks of youth service provided in 27 countries.

Read about some of the benefits of being part of the European network here

Advice from ERYICA on how to get involved:

European Youth Information Charter

An update of the European Youth Information Charter can be found on the ERYICA website.  

Quality Mark Summer Update 2018

The number of youth work organisations achieving the Quality Mark for Youth Work in Wales is continuing to rise and the Minister for Welsh Language and Lifelong learning enjoyed presenting Quality Mark awards at the Youth Work Excellence Awards including two new gold awards to Pembrokeshire Youth Service and RCT Youth Engagement and Participation Service.

Quality Mark Gold 1
Quality Mark Gold Award Presentation
Quality Mark 2
Quality Mark Gold Award Presentation

There are now 15 Bronze Award holders, including Cardiff Youth Service who achieved the award over the summer, there are four Silver Award holders, and three Gold Award holders.  

Assessors were particular impressed by Cardiff Youth Council as an example of best practice that creates many opportunities for young people to influence high-level decision making in the city.

Quality Mark Assessment Deadlines 

There are two opportunities to submit a self-assessment for the Quality Mark this year. Applications are invited for:

1. Tuesday 25th September

2. Thursday 8th November

Please get in touch with Atkin Associates if you are starting work on your Quality Mark self-assessment so that they can discuss the best way to carry out your self-assessment, how to submit evidence and a realistic timescale for submission. 

Information regarding newly recruited assessors can be found here 

Children and Young People Now

Atkin Associates were delighted to feature in the July edition of Children and Young People Now as part of the special report on Youth Work Impact.  The article highlighted how the Welsh Government leads the Quality Mark and has developed a peer assessment model, which cuts across voluntary and statutory sector and ensures respected professionals and young people are key to the process.  Evaluation shows that working towards achieving the Quality Mark is resulting in improved management practice and face-to-face youth work. It has boosted morale and improved the involvement of young people in many organisations. The article can be found here although you will have to subscribe to read it in full.

Next Bulletin

Our next newsletter is due in December.  Please email any contributions for the next edition by Friday 16 November.

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