Young people, youth work, youth service. National youth service strategy for Wales

National Youth Strategy WalesThe National Youth Service Strategy for Wales (2007), unlike the national strategies that appeared in Scotland and England, had a reasonably firm grasp of youth work and the potential contribution it could make. However, it was rather undermined by a failure (like the other documents) to properly address civil society, not bringing forward significant additional funding, and its insistence on a raft of targets to be met.

Download Young people, youth work, Youth Service (2007) (pdf)
Download The National Youth Work Strategy for Wales 2014 –2018. Supporting young people to reach their potential and live fulfilled lives

Young people, youth work, Youth Service (Welsh Assembly Government 2007) set out the Assembly’s strategy for youth services. It is a continuation of the policies and concerns that found expression in the Extending Entitlement framework of 2000. That document argued that every young person in Wales had a basic entitlement to:

  • Education, training and work experience – tailored to their needs;
  • Basic skills which open doors to a full life and promote social inclusion;
  • A wide and varied range of opportunities to participate in volunteering and active citizenship;
  • High quality, responsive and accessible services and facilities;
  • Independent, specialist careers advice and guidance and student support and counselling services;
  • Personal support and advice – where and when needed and in appropriate formats – with clear ground rules on confidentiality;
  • Advice on health, housing, benefits and other issues provided in accessible and welcoming settings;
  • Recreational, and social opportunities in a safe and accessible environment;
  • Sporting, artistic, musical and outdoor experiences to develop talents, broaden horizons and promote rounded perspectives, including both national and international contexts;
  • The right to be consulted, to participate in decision-making and to be heard, on all matters which concern them or have an impact on their lives.

Youth work

Young people, youth work, Youth Service argued that youth work had the following characteristics:

1. the voluntary involvement by young people who have chosen to engage in the process. 2. being age specific, focused on 11-25 year olds. 3. a non-formal education approach. 4. being driven by a young-people-first approach. 5. a universal approach

While there was a fashionable concern with outcomes, the specification of these for youth work was much wider than that which appeared in the English and Scottish strategies. The Welsh strategy looked to active participation, wider skills development and enhanced emotional competence. Like the English and Scottish strategies there was a failure to grasp the nettle of spirituality, however.

Some shortcomings

In addition, little new money was promised for the development of the work, and there was a continuing failure to address the issue of civil society. This is a crucial omission given that youth work was born, and only really make sense as a creature, of civil society. The paper also set out a raft of targets in terms of what services had to achieve. While understandable in terms of current approaches to policy formation and implementation, the use of such targets too often descends, in practice, into a lot of ‘box-ticking’. Actually building services and developing community responses to the needs of young people is a much slower and uneven process than this sort of approach can allow.


HM Government (2004) Every Child Matters: Change for children. London: Department for Education and Skills.

HM. Government (2005) Youth Matters, London: Department for Education and Skills.

HM Treasury (2007) Aiming high for young people. A ten year strategy for positive activities. London: HM Treasury/Department for Children, Schools and Families.

National Assembly for Wales (2000) Extending Entitlement:  supporting young people in Wales, Cardiff, Corporate Policy Unit.

Scottish Executive (2007) Moving Forward. A strategy for improving young people’s chances through youth work. Edinburgh: Scottish Executive.

Welsh Assembly Government (2007) Young people, youth work, Youth Service. National Youth Service Strategy for Wales. Cardiff: Welsh Assembly Government.

Download Young people, youth work, Youth Service (pdf) (from Welsh Assembly Government website).

Check out the English Ten year strategy for services to young people (2007) and the Scottish Executive’s National Youth Work Strategy (2007)

How to cite this article: Smith, Mark K. (2007) ‘Young people, youth work, Youth Service. The National Youth Service Strategy for Wales’, The encyclopedia of pedagogy and informal education. [].