Education Minister, John O’Dowd, has opened a North/South Conference for youth workers in Dundalk.
The conference entitled “How do we know it’s working?” is aimed at youth organisations and youth workers and focuses on enabling them to better plan for and demonstrate the benefit, outcomes and impact of their work
Speaking at the event, the Minister said: “Youth work is an important aspect in the holistic education of young people and offers them the opportunity to take part in constructive and positive activities in a supportive environment. It can offer something different to all young people but can be especially relevant to those who are disengaged, marginalised or disadvantaged and those who may be unable or unwilling to engage in more formal learning environments.
“As Minister for Education, I have had on a number of occasions the privilege of witnessing the impact of youth work first-hand, and I have been very impressed at the breadth, depth and variety of work that is carried out by youth workers and volunteers.
“However, it is not enough to simply know that a youth work approach is effective. It is becoming increasingly important that we are able to demonstrate objectively that it is working and build an evidence base which demonstrates the outcomes and impact. This will allow consideration to be given to allocating resources where they are most effective.
“This conference provides an opportunity to discuss effective practice and explore ways in which the value of youth work can be measured. It also provides a valuable opportunity to progress collaborative working, between the voluntary and the statutory youth sectors and between the youth sectors both north and south.”
The Minister concluded “The youth service is already experiencing the benefits of collaborative north south links between youth organisations. I hope this conference provides extra impetus for enhanced sharing and collaboration in the delivery of high quality youth work across the island.”
Notes to editors:
1. The conference was a joint venture between Youthnet, a Voluntary Youth Network which represents the interests of more than 70 voluntary youth organizations in the north of Ireland and the National Youth Council of Ireland the representative body for national voluntary youth organisations in Ireland
2. Watch video from the Department of Education on our YouTube channel at: http://www.youtube.com/thedeptofeducation
3. Media queries, contact the Department of Education’s Communication Team on Tel No: 028 9127 9701. Out of office hours please contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07699 715 440.
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