Plans to train new youth and community workers with on-the-job
training have led to concerns that standards will fall,
writes David Brown.
The National Youth Agency said work-based training would provide
a quicker and more cost-effective way to meet the demand for new
staff. It has recently set a target of one youth worker for every
400 13- to 19-year-olds, which will require an additional 3,000
full-time staff in England,
At present the only way to qualify as a youth worker is to
complete a higher education course validated by the agency.
The Joint National Committee, which represents the interests of
employers, youth agencies and staff, has suggested the lowest-grade
staff need only be qualified to NVQ level 2 (GCSE equivalent). The
National Youth Agency hopes this will enable local authority and
voluntary sector employers to allow volunteer staff to become peer
educators or assistant youth workers before training through a
modern apprenticeship and a foundation degree.
But the Community and Youth Workers Union has condemned the
proposals to lower the basic qualification requirements, saying
that better pay is crucial to increase recruitment.
The union said: “We seek retention of a full JNC qualification
for all full-time workers and a minimum level 3 (A-level
equivalent) qualification for all paid posts. Many are now calling
for at least a three-year degree.”