Youth Work Bulletin - COVID19 - 16 July 2020

COVID19 Special Edition 8 - Youth Work Week - 16th July 2020


A word from our Board Chair

Keith Towler

Keith’s voice

Since I last wrote, the First Minister has announced a number of changes, including the re-opening of community centres from 20 July. The First Minister’s Written Statement that accompanied this announcement also referenced the vital role of youth work services across the voluntary sector and local authorities, and signalled that sector specific guidance was on its way. I am happy to update that we have had the first meeting of the working group convened to develop this guidance that will support the Youth Work Sector with planning for a phased increase in services.


One of the most illuminating parts of the day was a presentation by the Co-Chair of the Covid-19 Technical Advisory Cell, Fliss Bennée. Some of her messages were extremely sobering, we are definitely not out of the woods! Yet it was heartening to hear about the huge impact the lockdown has had on reducing fatalities, and to know that the sacrifices we have all made in Wales have saved many thousands of lives. This is where we have a really important role as a sector, in helping our young people (and our colleagues) understand the importance of the choices they make to protect themselves and to protect other people, and this is something we will be referencing in our guidance. 

This latest issue of the bulletin focusses on Skills and Employability. The economic impact of the pandemic is definitely one of the biggest challenges facing our young people at the moment, Britain’s economy contracted by 2.2% in the first three months of 2020 – its sharpest decline in more than 40 years. There is evidence young employees are most likely to have lost work due to furloughing, job losses and hour reductions. The Welsh Government is taking steps to support people into employment or self-employment, securing learner continuity and progression in the labour market throughout this pandemic (there is more information on this in the 'Have you heard' section below).

Nonethless, young people are feeling worried and demotivated. Anxiety about their future will be exacerbated by the impact of the lockdown on young people’s overall mental health and wellbeing.

I recognise youth work cannot provide a panacea for all of these ills. Nonetheless we are still there for young people, and we have a vital contribution to make. Youth workers in Wales already play a key role as lead workers, supporting young people with multiple barriers into education, employment or training, through the Youth Engagement and Progression Framework. Wider youth work also contributes to this agenda. We support young people’s wellbeing and their mental health, we are the trusted adult young people confide in. We encourage them to be optimistic, to grow and develop, to take opportunities and learn new skills, through experiences, training and volunteering. This bulletin builds on this and gives a flavour of what the sector offers to boost skills and employability.

Finally, in the previous bulletin I talked about the Black Lives Matter demonstrations and the role of Youth Work in upholding non-discriminatory practice. With this in mind I am delighted to be able to announce that the Ethnic Minorities and Youth Support Team Wales (EYST) have kindly agreed to guest edit a special edition of the Youth Work Bulletin, which will be issued next week. As a sector we pride ourselves on our reflective practice and our ability to keep on learning and developing. I believe we all have a great deal to learn from organisations like EYST and I am really looking forward to reading their special edition of the bulletin.

In the meantime, take care, stay safe.

Keith Towler

Young Person’s voice

Princes Trust

Caitlyn Morgan, 20 , Fochriw, Rhymney Valley

“Hi, my name is Caitlyn. I am 20 years old and I live in Fochriw, a small village in the Rhymney Valley.

2020 has been a difficult year for a lot of young people like me, but with the support of youth workers, I have been developing my skills and employability throughout this lockdown. My confidence is growing every day, and I feel prepared for any job opportunity that comes my way.

After my summer job came to an end last September, I had been unemployed for five months when Lynsey, one of the Communities for Work team, introduced me to Prince’s Trust Cymru. The Prince’s Trust were running a three-week retail programme in Cardiff, with job opportunities at the end of the programme. Lynsey thought I would be a good fit for it, so I decided to give it a go.

I was very nervous at first. I hadn’t really been to Cardiff on my own before, so Lynsey offered to join me on the first day, which really settled my nerves about travelling. Having Lynsey there gave me a great boost of confidence on the Taster Day, and the team at Prince’s Trust Cymru were so supportive as they accepted me onto the course. The retail programme was really good and I learned a lot of new skills in a short time. I felt like I was thriving in the retail world and was set to get a job, but unfortunately due to the announcement of lockdown on the last day of the programme, the retail company were not able to take any of us on.

This was obviously very disappointing, but I gained so much from the course. Despite being quite shy on the first day, I really came out of my shell in those three weeks and have realised that I want to work with people in my next job. I am definitely a people person now!

During this lockdown, I have been doing lots of things to keep my mind active. As well as looking after my nan, I have attended a number of online employability sessions with The Prince’s Trust, which have helped me to further improve my skills, including CV writing and interview skills; I am learning to put my best foot forward.

While youth workers have helped my confidence reach new heights, living in a rural area continues to be my biggest barrier to work. Public transport doesn’t come by my village regularly (it didn’t even before lockdown) so as the world starts to return to normal, I hope to find a job that makes me happy, and won’t require too much travel!”

Special Focus: Employability and skills

Each bulletin we focus in on a specific theme. In this issue, the focus is on the value of youth work to the employability and skills agenda. 

URDD Apprenticeship Programme

Urdd Apprencticeship

The Urdd Apprenticeships Department offers training opportunities for individuals over 16 years of age across Wales. Provision has grown a lot over the last two years and the Department is able to provide up to 150 apprenticeships at the same time. Apprenticeships are offered within the sports, youth work, outdoor and childcare sectors.

In line with the development of specific skills within the above sectors, promoting Welsh language skills in Urdd apprentices’ workplaces is essential. The department's schemes of work give apprentices the opportunity to develop new language skills, whether oral, written, public speaking or even communication skills on our social media. The department sees it as important to help the apprentices transfer their language skills from those suited to the school or home to the skills that are essential in the workplace, and a key part of the scheme's development.

As part of the development of the Urdd’s Apprenticeship Department, an Essential Skills Hub has recently been launched. One of the main aims of the Hub was to enable the apprenticeships to embed digital communication, numeracy and literacy skills into the main programmes of learning. It also provides an opportunity for apprentices to achieve Essential Skills qualifications through the medium of Welsh and this provision is also available to outside organisations or individuals.

For further information on the Urdd's apprenticeships visit the website: or e-mail

For more information on the essential skills boost and potential provision, please email

Boys’ and Girls’ Clubs of Wales Active Inclusion project: Subway to Success


The lockdown period has proved to be a difficult time for many young people. Although certain things are returning to normal, it is likely to be a difficult period for young people with youth unemployment set to be at record levels. Boys’ and Girls’ Clubs of Wales is hoping to help young people back into work during these difficult times through their Active Inclusion funded project ‘Subway to Success’.

B&G Club Subway 2

The project, led by youth workers, works in partnership with Subway UK to provide opportunities for young people aged 16-24 to gain new skills and experiences and, subsequently, gain supported employment at Subway restaurants within Wales. Although the project will restart in the coming months, Boys’ and Girls’ Clubs of Wales is pleased that over the past year, out of 32 participants, 18 have undertaken four months of supported paid employment and 12 have been employed by Subway on completion of the project. The project has been able to support young people with transport costs and the tailored support that has enabled them to become more confident whilst undertaking their first employment opportunity. Simon Naylor who gained employment as part of the project said “this opportunity has helped me develop as a person and learn new skills, I am so pleased to finally get a job and have the opportunity to work at Subway - Thanks to the youth workers at Boys’ and Girls’ Clubs of Wales for all their support”.

Once the country returns to normal, the youth work sector will be very busy supporting young people's wellbeing (and rightly so), though there will also be a need for employability projects that are led by youth workers who can help young people re-engage with employment opportunities. If anyone would like any further information about the ‘Subway to Success’ project please contact Grant Poiner via email

WG Green logo

The Welsh Government’s offer on skills and employability will be crucial to support displaced workers to return to work, support employers to recruit, and stimulate hiring of young people and apprentices, and new business start-up.  A suite of provision will underpin the Welsh Government’s ‘Covid Commitment’ - to anyone over 16 in Wales, to provide advice and support to find work, pursue self-employment or find a place in education or training. For further information please refer to

Within Wales - My Youth Work/What Youth Work Means to Me

Each edition, we’ll shine a light on a different youth work organisation

Nicola Murphy, Rhondda Cynon Taf’s Youth Engagement and Participation Service (YEPS)

Tell us about your work and the challenges you face

Rhondda Cynon Taf’s Youth Engagement and Participation Service (YEPS) supports young people aged 11 to 25 to improve their resilience to deal with current and future challenges, supporting their well-being and their positive engagement in and contribution to the communities in which they live. To do this, the service works closely with schools, communities and other services to help resolve any difficulties that affect a young person’s engagement, working in partnership in order that young people can benefit from the opportunities available locally.

The achievement of this aim has never been so important, as our young people and youth workers deal with the impact of the Covid-19 crisis. Our new ‘virtual’ delivery model has been swiftly developed and rolled out and we have seen the Youth Engagement and Participation Service focus and adapt to support the delivery of key Local Authority programmes of work.

How are you applying your skills during the pandemic?

Firstly, we have developed an Employment, Education and Training (EET) section on our young person’s website, Wicid,tv which features instructional videos on a range of topics such as applying for a job, STAR techniques and virtual job interviews. More videos are being added on a weekly basis. The EET section also includes links to apprenticeships on offer in Rhondda Cynon Taf (RCT), Careers Wales support, information about college virtual open days and contact details for in-house EET support - all in one, easy to access place. Any new EET articles or support items on the website are heavily promoted through our social media sites on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. The views we have been receiving are encouraging and we anticipate many young people making contact with us through social media over the summer for support.

Secondly, we have made EET support more accessible and easier to engage with during these difficult times.  Prior to the Covid-19 crisis many of our young people would have received support via their school. With face-to-face working temporarily on hold, we have been able to offer our delivery partners a variety of virtual and social media platforms to utilise to send out a consistent message to post-16 young people that they are still able to access advice and guidance in relation to all their employment, education and training needs. We are grateful for the partnership working which has been undertaken by all.

Thirdly, the YEPS website and social media platforms are being used as a way of addressing any individual support that is needed by young people who could find themselves not in education, employment or training (NEET). Contact details for sources of support including Transitional Support Workers, Careers Advisors, RCT’s Looked-after Children’s Team and RCT’s EET team are all freely available for young people to directly message.

In the very near future, the website will be hosting a virtual Work Experience week which we are very excited about. This will feature surveys, quizzes, work experience preparation videos, employability videos and provision to assist with any support needs.

Where to find out more

To get a flavour of the type of information and resources we are making available, please log onto Links to our social media platforms are also included below. Please get in touch with any queries.

Around the World

Each edition, we’ll shine a light on some of the different youth work approaches or activities taking place beyond Wales.


Trainees of the European Economic and Social Committeeinitiated a webinar, ‘Let's talk youth, employment and COVID-19!’ The webinar explores:

  • how European recent and imminent graduates, apprentices, job entrants and young professionals are directly and indirectly affected by the Covid-19 crisis
  • whether governments´ and institutions´ crisis response policies address European youth
  • which established EU programs to propel youth employment could be mobilized as a response to the crisis
  • best practices initiatives organized by European civil society, entrepreneurs or social partners to take this crisis as a turning point, fuelling new and innovative business and employment opportunities
  • lessons future job entrants should draw from this crisis.

A recording of this webinar is available here.


The European Youth Information and Counselling Agency (ERYICA) recently held its 31st General Assembly. ERYICA has 40 European national and regional members and promotes quality youth information practice and policy. Members of the Digital Youth Work Advisory Group attended for the Welsh Government.


The executive reported on a busy year, including:

  • development of an impressive online training package
  • research into young people’s digital access youth work preferences
  • young person led service design of youth information services

Members also discussed the impact of the pandemic and implications for digital youth work; sharing challenges and solutions.


Have you heard?

Each issue we provide space for individuals and organisations to share information with their peers.

Last month, working with the Marketing Group, Welsh Government commissioned ProMo-Cymru to produce a video to celebrate Youth Work Week with contributions by young people from various youth settings in Wales. Some of them spoke fondly about how youth work had helped them with their employability and skills. Take a look here

This video is available for you to use as you wish to help promote the value and impact of youth work

Comm music

Community Music Wales has an exciting online mentoring project focusing on supporting young musicians to develop their musical skills or looking at ways to progress as an artist by learning how to present themselves in an industry setting. Sessions are free and will be delivered safely online either as one to one with a Mentor or in small groups.

Interested? Please email for more information.

Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) Certificate of achievement 2020. Young people across Wales have continued to work towards achieving their DofE Awards, despite the challenges of staying at home and social distancing. The DofE has launched a new accolade that recognises the fantastic accomplishments of these young people – the ‘2020 DofE Certificate of Achievement’. Find out more here.


In response to lock down Cardiff Music Conference is going online! Ministry of Life (MoL) Youth Services have an exciting series of seminars and workshops coming up drawing on industry professionals. For more information and regular updates check out and

If you would like to get your young people involved, please email or for more information 

Rebel mams

Ministry of Life (MoL) Youth Services have been working with Ysgol Glan Ceubal Rebel Mams in Gabalfa. During lockdown they have held a movie themed, socially distanced treasure hunt across the community and have plans for further engagement with the local community by drawing hands to make angel wings that will make a mural at a location in Gabalfa. To get involved go to

The Inspire Project is supporting children aged 8-12 during lockdown. It follows the 'NHS 5 Ways to Wellbeing', focusing on children's wellbeing. Activities are posted online for children across Wales. In the future, Inspire plans to send activity packs to families. Professionals and families can refer children by contacting


Cardiff Youth Service has developed a consultation to offer an opportunity of reflection and gather the views of young people and youth workers to explore what youth work is. This was completed in lockdown through using mentimeter which was free to use, and was completed by 62 young people, volunteers and professionals, based in the Cardiff Youth Service and other youth services and shared on digital platforms to extend its reach. To find out more please contact Dayle Luce ( or telephone 07773 487975 ).

Cardiff YS

Welsh Government has produced a non-statutory guide to remind practitioners working across agencies of their responsibilities to safeguard children and to support them in responding to concerns about children at risk. This guide links to and should be used with the national Wales Safeguarding Procedures . You can download the procedures onto your mobile phone. Links for downloading the App are at the bottom of the landing page on the website at the link above. Once you have downloaded the App you do not need to have a Wi-Fi connection to view them.


Welsh Government has launched a consultation on framework guidance on embedding a whole-school approach to mental health and emotional well-being. The consultation closes on 30 September 2020.

Be Part of the Youth Work Newsletter

The next issue of the newsletter will have Mental Health & Wellbeing as its special focus. Get in touch via email ( by 31st July, to let us know if you want to contribute to it, and we'll provide a style guide for submitting articles to us, with information on the word count of articles for the various sections.

Please remember to use #YouthWorkWales #GwaithIeuenctidCymru when tweeting to raise the profile of Youth Work in Wales 

Meic Gif

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