Youth Work Bulletin: Now available!

June 2022



A word from our new Board Chair


Sharon Lovell

I am delighted to be writing as Chair of the new Youth Work Strategy Implementation Board and I look forward to working with you as we progress the implementation of the recommendations of the Interim Youth Work Boards report 'Time to Deliver for Young People in Wales'.

The next phase of this important work will be to achieve a sustainable delivery model for youth work services. What we have achieved so far has only been possible with the collective collaboration from the sector, Welsh Government and the Minister and I will continue to engage with you all as we enter the next phase.

I do want to take this opportunity to thank my fellow interim youth work board members and youth committee who have got us to this stage. The dedication, commitment and passion for youth work has been outstanding during very challenging times. Thank you to Jo Sims, Eleri Thomas, Efa Gruffudd Jones, Simon Stewart and Dusty Kennedy. The Chair of the Interim Youth Work Board, Keith Towler, has shown outstanding leadership and I know the dedication he has shown and the way he has respected and engaged with the sector has contributed to the commitment of an additional 11 million over the next 3 years to support the implementation of the recommendations. Thank you, Keith.

I am looking forward to recruiting individuals to the Youth Work Strategy Implementation Board who can turn a vision into reality. I would be grateful if you could share this advert as widely as possible through your networks to encourage a wide and varied field of applicants. Together, we will prioritise our work plan and work with young people and the sector to achieve them. The beginnings of that work will look at a funding review for youth work, strengthening statutory legislation and the roles/responsibilities of any potential national body. I will be committed to working with young people to ensure they are at the heart of decision making.

As we all look forward to Youth Work Week (23-30 June), this bulletin focuses on issues that relate to creating a workforce that is sustainable across Wales; taking into account the diversity in our rich language, culture and work towards ensuring it is a sector that is understood and valued.

I want to leave you with a quote from a young person to demonstrate the difference that YOU and the youth work services you deliver are making.

Youth work makes me feel accepted, it’s the one place I feel I can be myself. It’s a really safe place and space, I can see my friends and have fun. When I was homeless, they housed me, when I felt lost, they found me – I want to be a youth worker one day.”

Young Person’s Voice

Mari’s Story: volunteering at the Denbighshire Urdd Eisteddfod

Mari Roberts, is 16 years old from Betws Gwerful Goch and attends Ysgol Brynhyfryd, Ruthin. Mari was a member of the ‘Criw Croeso’ at the Denbighshire Urdd Eisteddfod and shares her experience of volunteering as part of the ‘Welcome Crew’ – sharing maps, answering queries, and giving advice.

“I really enjoyed myself volunteering for the week. One of the highlights was dressing up as Mr Urdd and people of all ages queuing up to take selfies with Mr Urdd!

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We had so much fun, even when we were washing dishes for the young competitors during the CogUrdd cooking competitions.

The free tickets this year made such a difference – so many local people attended. All my friends came, even ones that don’t usually come to the Eisteddfod, and there was a great buzz on the field. It was great showing them what the Eisteddfod was all about – the stalls, the events and all the live bands at the end of the week.”

Mari was a member of the Musical, “Fi ‘di Fi” [‘I am who I am’] written especially by Angharad Llwyd Beech and Ynyr Llwyd for the young people of Ysgol Brynhyfryd and Ysgol Glan Clwyd. “We started practising in 2020, and it was great meeting other young people in the area who wanted to be in the part of the show. Then when Covid came we didn’t know if we would ever be able to perform the show. So being back together again was an incredible experience and seeing the show coming together was so exciting. We were finally allowed to perform in front of a live audience and being on stage performing with other young people was amazing.”

Mari also competed at the Eisteddfod with the school and won 1st prize with the ‘Indigo Academy’ for Extracts out of a Musical. “Competing with my friends and winning 1st prize was such an honour. Some of the members had learnt some Welsh for the first time to compete and learn the songs in Welsh. It was a great feeling to represent our area whilst having so much fun learning new songs and skills. Winning 1st prize was the icing on the top.”

“The Eisteddfod this year felt as it was really part of us, the local young people. It gave people like me so many opportunities. And it was so inspiring for us to show our talent, our language and heritage to other people who attended the event. I think it will make a difference to the language and to other young people in the area.  It’s inspired others to learn Welsh and to love the Eisteddfod.

“If the Eisteddfod comes to an area I would recommend volunteering at the event – it was an amazing experience. We’ll never forget it, and we’re already making plans to go to next year’s Eisteddfod!”

Special Focus: Workforce Development

Our special focus for this issue is workforce development. Sharon Lovell discusses why one of the priorities for the Board is to create a youth service that is driven by a sustainable workforce that provides a one-sector approach to valuing what youth work is and does.

“Workforce development is hugely important. It’s essential we make progress - raising awareness of youth work as a career choice and a place for volunteers to feel welcomed and trained appropriately. Providing ongoing training and opportunities for staff and volunteers to have access to continual personal and professional development is of fundamental importance to creating sustainability. This, in turn, will ensure young people receive excellence in youth work provision.

Recommendation 13 in the Interim Youth Work Board’s report 'Time to Deliver for Young People in Wales' describes the importance of developing a workforce development plan that addresses the issues of recruitment and retention, induction, promotion, career development and values volunteering. It is a plan that will raise the standards of youth work.

We know that the sector is full of skills but what we find challenging is sharing these skills, knowledge and understanding across other policy areas. Youth work methodologies, principles and practices make a huge difference in other settings such as education, health, housing, leisure and social care. The implementation of a youth work development plan created nationally but which allows space for regional and local needs would drive progress towards ensuring we have a diverse and accessible service that meet the needs of all young people.

Some of the issues we need to address further as we progress are “Do we want an inspected sector? How do we strengthen the registration of youth workers, how do we implement an outcomes framework that truly reflects the difference youth work makes and how are young people at the centre of defining those outcomes?

Information and digital spaces have become so important in addition to face-to-face work and we have to support our workforce to be equipped with the skills, knowledge and appreciation of the importance of youth information in  keeping young people safe whilst enabling them to have a right to access information.

I know the youth work sector is already full of creative, skilled, committed individuals and our work going forward will strengthen the confidence and ambitions of youth work services across Wales with and for young people”.

Getting started in Youth Work

Kelly YMCA

Kelly Powell is in her first year of study (Level 4) for the BA (Hons) Youth and Community Work (JNC) at Wrexham Glyndwr University. Currently on placement at YMCA Swansea, Kelly explains her experience of beginning a youth work student.

“My route into youth work has actually been a bit of a strange one!

I have always wanted to work with children and young people and before the pandemic I was in the process of becoming a Teaching Assistant in a school. When access to school wasn’t allowed because of coronavirus, I decided to do a safeguarding course that was being offered by the YMCA in Swansea. I’d seen the course by chance, when I started going in the YMCA to use the gym – so I signed up mainly because I thought it would be useful when I went back into school.

Once I’d got involved with the YMCA and spent time there, I started to realise that there was so much about youth work that appealed to me – I’d just never really thought about it.

I love the fact that participation is youth-led and voluntary, and I love the idea of working with a range of ages. The safeguarding course improved my confidence and at the end of it I decided to apply to continue studying – I haven’t looked back since.

The course I’m now studying is Wrexham-based, but I am able to study online. The support from the department has been great – everyone is very accommodating, which is really important to me especially as I’m dyslexic, so I find some aspects of study challenging. The course provides lots of knowledge about the theory of youth and community work, as well as the opportunity to do placement work and learn from other professionals. I’ve had brilliant support, which is really important when you are studying and working as well. I’ve found it’s also massively helpful to have people around who have been through what you are doing - this is especially important I think for anyone learning online, where you don’t have the support of others in the classroom.

I’m on placement at the YMCA in Swansea at the moment, which is brilliant and the support has been fantastic here. I’ve been working on an employability project, I’ve helped plan workshops, run youth club, and at the moment I’m helping plan Summer of Fun activities. One of the most valuable things I’ve learned about working with young people is the importance getting to know them, understanding their stories and being led by them. I find building relationships with young people and working out how to help them so rewarding. I love every minute of it!

In September I’ll be starting the next year of the course (Level 5) and once I graduate, I’m looking forward to seeing what opportunities working in youth work will bring.”

Within Wales

Across the youth work sector recruiting professionally qualified youth workers (qualified at the time of appointment) is acknowledged to be a challenge.

Youth work services in Ceredigion County Council and Torfaen CBC are using an apprenticeship approach to help overcome this.

apprentice ceredigion cc

It combines work and study and gives apprentices the opportunity to gain valuable, on-the-job experience while studying towards industry-recognised qualifications. Some of those apprentices agreed to share their stories…

Gareth’s story, Ceredigion County Council

The story of Gareth’s recent apprenticeship is featured in a promotional film by WeCare.Wales here: English Version, Welsh Subtitles.


Ceredigion Youth Service first embarked on a Corporate Apprenticeship Scheme hosted by the Council’s Learning & Development Team in 2019, appointing Gareth John, a recent graduate. Gareth’s commitment and drive to learn and progress within the field was clear. 

He gained experience in a range of youth work settings including school-based, outreach, participation and open access. As a result of the apprenticeship scheme, combined with his natural and able approach to youth work, Gareth progressed to permanent employment as a full-time youth worker with the team. He is currently working towards completing his Level 3 qualification in youth work. When asked whether he would recommend an apprenticeship to others as a gateway to a longer-term career, Gareth said, “Absolutely, […] after going through the apprenticeship year and securing a full-time job within the youth service it made me realise how lucky I was to have the opportunity to become an apprentice. You are able to gain vast knowledge and experience about the service whilst also getting a good wage.”

Annie’s story, Torfaen CBC

For the past five years Torfaen Youth Service has run a thriving youth work apprenticeship programme.  21-year-old Annie Green is part of the latest cohort to complete the scheme, together with 24-year-old Shona Johnson, 20-year-old Kaci Oram, 20-year-old Ella Judge, and 21-year-old Gabrielle Jolliffee.


In a working partnership approach, apprentices are hired as trainees on a one-year programme that consists of taught and work-based learning sessions, with paid employment for 30 hours a week on an apprenticeship wage within Torfaen Youth Service.  

Apprentices who complete the training programme gain Joint Negotiating Committee (JNC) accredited youth work qualifications as well as hands-on experience within a youth work setting. Apprentices also take part in a Torfaen Youth Service training programme, covering topics such as working within a team, communication skills, placement practice and personal progression.

Annie describes how the scheme has supported her in recognising her own ambitions to be a youth worker, explaining that “it has been a fantastic learning opportunity for me as I lacked the confidence to access formal training at my local college.

“I have been able to experience what working in a real-life environment is like, I have gained so many new skills and I have built my confidence up. Besides, I now have a recognised qualification that will assist me in kickstarting my youth work career. Excitedly, I have secured a place at university this September. “

For more information on apprenticeships in Wales. Apprenticeships | GOV.WALES

Around the World

Centenary Peace and Goodwill Message: The Climate Emergency

The Urdd's centenary Peace and Goodwill Message for 2022 is a call to action by the children and young people of Wales to the young people of the world, to use the importance and power of their voice to urge governments and large corporations to take urgent action to save our planet.

In the Urdd’s centenary year, the 2022 Peace and Goodwill Message was launched at a dedicated event in the company of the First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford at the Nobel Peace Center, Oslo, Norway. Also present at the event were the students from Aberystwyth University who created this year’s message.

To strengthen the international importance of the message, a formal partnership was formed between Aberystwyth University students and a group of students from the University of Life Sciences in Norway.

The students discussed their concerns and complaints about the climate emergency and there was an opportunity to discuss ideas with students from the Norwegian Institute of Life Sciences. Following these workshops, they recorded a series of personal climate emergency promises which include travelling less, buying local produce, making better use of makeup, avoiding fast fashion, and campaigning on environmental issues. The individual pledges (in Welsh) can be viewed here.


Quality Mark for Youth Work in Wales

The Quality Mark supports and recognises improving standards in the provision, practice and performance of organisations that deliver youth work across Wales. It helps those organisations demonstrate and celebrate excellence in their work with young people.

The Ethnic Youth Support Team (EYST), Conwy Youth Service and NYAS Cymru are the latest organisations to be awarded the Quality Mark for Youth Work (QMYW) in Wales. After a robust assessment, EYST and NYAS Cymru were awarded the bronze award whilst Conwy Youth Service renewed their silver award.

Read all about it on the EWC website.

quality mark

Have You Heard?

Designing Digital Services Course

Would you like the knowledge and skills to design digital services using a person-centred approach? ProMo-Cymru, through the Newid programme, is providing a free modular Service Design course for third sector organisations in Wales. It provides access to free digital tools and resources, and skills to solve real-life challenges. Find out more.


June 23-30 is Youth Work Week – are you ready?

Follow @YWWales on twitter and Facebook for all the latest on Youth Work Week news and activities, and download resources from the CWVYS website here.

Youth Work Week – sign up for two special online events

Register here for a special Youth Work Week webinar hosted by EWC, and featuring Jim Sweeney MBE (former Chief Executive, YouthLink Scotland), providing insight into the approaches which heralded a focused and united sector in Scotland. Join the conversation: 23 June, 4pm-5.30, including Q&A session.

Register here for a free Youth Work Week online workshop ‘Building resilience and supporting wellbeing for those working with young people’, the workshop (on 28 June, 10.00-12.00) will be led by Victoria English, award winning mental health consultant.


Challenge Wales Residential Voyages

Challenge Wales has some amazing and exciting adventures on the high seas to offer young people this summer. Summer sailing residentials for those aged 16-25 years old are planned for dates in June, July and August, with bursaries available to help subsidise costs. Find out more here.

Plan International launches Young Change Maker Grant Scheme 2.0

This grant directly funds young people in Wales to run projects in their community that support gender equality. Youth organisations may also support the young person’s project and receive the funding on their behalf. The grant is open to anyone aged 13-24 and living in Wales. Find out more here. Applications close 1 July.

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urdd street games

Urdd Street Games/Gemau Stryd , Cardiff, 18-19 June

This event will showcase sports that are new to the Olympic and Commonwealth Games, encouraging children and young people to take part at a festival in Cardiff Bay. For more, click here.

Educators Wales

Make sure you check out Educators Wales, the free service. It offers you unlimited access to hundreds of jobs, professional learning opportunities and information about career pathways, right across the education sector in Wales.

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Is your EWC registration record correct?

With registration complete for 2022-23, now is the perfect time to check that the information is up to date and accurate. You can check your record now by logging on to MyEWC.

Greater control with new PLP update

A recent update to the Professional Learning Passport (PLP) now gives you greater control over how you interact with your professional standards. Find out more on the EWC website.

How accessible are EWC’s services?

EWC are keen to know how they can improve the accessibility of their communications and services. Tell them what you think by completing this short survey.


Comic Relief Community Fund in Wales

WCVA has launched the 2022/23 funding round for the Comic Relief Community Fund in Wales. Applications will close on 27 June. For more information click here.

Make a difference: become a school governor

School governing boards need people with a diverse range of skills to run effectively. Can you help support young people in your community by volunteering? The charity Governors for Schools will support you to find a local school in need. Register here for a webinar on 29 June providing information about the role, or click here to apply.

National Education Show 2022

7 October 2022, City Hall, Cardiff. Book your FREE entry pass today and come and say hello to @YWWales on stand 59!

Email to access the FREE Seminar Scheme for group bookings.

Upcoming Education Workforce Council events

Take a look and book your place. June events include: Staying Well: Practical mental health and wellbeing strategies for education practitioners in Wales (; as well as a special Youth Work Week event: “None of us is as smart as all of us”: a case study in participation and partnership (

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