YouthLink Scotland, the national agency for youth work in Scotland is a key partner in an Erasmus Plus project called “All In”. The All In project involves European partners from at least 7 other countries and one of its objectives was to develop new training materials for youth workers on Inclusive Youth Work practise.
YouthLink invited applications from youth workers across Scotland to be part of testing the newly developed training resources. This testing phase was to take place over one week in Deutschlandsberg, Austria in August.
I received an email on 20th July saying my application was successful and I was delighted to represent Community learning and Development and North Lanarkshire Council is this International learning opportunity.
After 16 hours travelling (and getting off at the wrong bus stop) it was a pleasure to be greeted by my fellow youth workers from France, Spain, Austria, Slovenia, Finland, Bulgaria and Italy. My Scottish colleague was David Shields who works for LGBT Youth Scotland and a community based project; TD1 in Galashiels.
Everyone’s spoken English was exceptional and it was clear that the the youth work experiences from all the countries was different however what remained the same was the commitment to the values, principles and purpose of youth work.
Embedded in the All In training materials are the Life Long Learning competencies and these were demonstrated by all participants throughout the week and recognised through a certificate from the Youth Plus programme.
The training introduced the concept of “Intersectionality” (multiple barriers to participation – beyond the protected characteristics). At first I thought I knew everything about this, however having the time and space to reflect I thought about my own areas of work as Senior Practitioner for youth work. I presented to the group a number of examples of how North Lanarkshire CLD youth work uses a rights based approach to equality and inclusion and I am confident that we are doing a very good job, using youth work methodologies to enable young people and families experiencing Intersectionality to fully participate and reach their full potential.
What I also learned is how to use “Moodle” as a tool to share learning resources and I fully intend to use this as a reminder of my learning and to work with CLD colleagues to look at how we can include some of the learning materials on Intersectionality and Inclusion in our training of part time staff and a CDP opportunity for our full time staff.
Having the opportunity to engage and share youth work practise with colleagues from across Europe was a privilege and I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity. I would encourage all CLD practitioners to consider such opportunities as CDP for themselves but also to consider international learning experiences for those who they work with. As I know this was professional and personal experience for me that will last a lifetime.
©June Ford (Scotland)