Making ALL IN work for experienced youth workers

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As part of the ALL IN project, we ran training for youth workers here in Scotland. This was a really different experience from training an international group in Deutschlandsberg, Austria!

The youth workers from Scotland were already knowledgeable about inclusive youth work practice, so my co-trainer, Vicki, and I had to work hard to challenge them beyond the basics. On the other hand, this factor improved the course because each participant brought diverse experience of inclusive practice they could share with the group.

Here’s three ways we adapted the ALL IN training to suit an experienced group.

1. Group problem solving

Each participant had knowledge and experience to bring to the table. We utilised this by running ‘Agony Aunt’ activities throughout the modules. To run this activity, each participant wrote a specific problem or challenge they were facing related to inclusive youth work and then the trainers nominated a different participant to give advice based on their experience. Other participants could add in other tips once the main ‘Agony Aunt’ had answered.

I’d recommend this activity for any group but it worked especially well for groups with lots of valuable experience.

2. ‘Spannering’ scenarios

There’s a phrase in English: “throw a spanner in the works”. This means a problem has come up and it might make it difficult to succeed. We used this idea when designing fictitious inclusive youth work provision by throwing [figurative] spanners into their plans. ‘Spanners’ were challenges or problems that the group had to overcome and find a solution to. For example, one ‘spanner’ was that funding was withdrawn.

Adding these problems gave participants a sense of real life and it challenged them to come up with solutions to challenges that are common for youth work organisations.

3. Participants presenting themselves

This participatory element is already built into the ALL IN training in module 3 when participants present an issue themselves but I want to emphasise that this method is really effective for involving experienced youth workers. It gives participants the opportunity to share their learning and to develop their confidence in presenting.

Quote from training participant

“My experience at an ALL IN was very interesting because everyone had difference experiences that made this course so brilliant, we are sharing and learning a lot of new things. It made me think of and how I can improve my Youth Service in my work such as how can I include everyone. This is a value opportunity for people to take part in and to get the opportunity to improve on themselves and develop in their service or work.”

Jack Speirs – Youth Work Coordinator, Deaf Action