As an important contribution to the lives of our young people the Limerick & Clare ETB acknowledges the valuable role that youth work plays in communities throughout Limerick and Clare. We recognise that youth work and those involved in delivering it at the local level contribute to the strengthening of those communities.
The Youth Work Act 2001 defines youth work as:
“a planned programme of education designed for the purpose of aiding and enhancing the personal and social development of young persons through their voluntary participation, and which is —
(a) complementary to their formal, academic or vocational education and training; and
(b) provided primarily by voluntary youth work organisations.”
Youth work, therefore, sits comfortably with the vision of the Limerick & Clare ETB which aims “to enhance the quality of learning and life in our community”. The realisation of this vision will be achieved by, inter alia, “the provision of comprehensive high quality education, training and life-long learning opportunities to address the personal, social, economic and employability needs of our community”. The LCETB values youth work as an important element on a continuum of lifelong learning that engages with, primarily people in the adolescent phase of life and up to the age of 25 years. In this context it is appropriate that, among its other functions, Section 10 of the Education & Training Board Act 2013, confers on the ETB the role of supporting the provision, coordination, administration and assessment of youth work services in its functional area and the provision of such information as may be requested by the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs in relation to such support. The Limerick & Clare ETB is aware of the wide range and generally high standard of youth work programmes and services being provided across the region. Through the support provided by our youth officers, LCETB is committed to ensuring that quality and variety will continue to be hallmarks of youth work provision in our region.
In approaching the strategic development of youth work programmes and services in the region, we acknowledge some key elements of youth work that will inform the work of the ETB. These include:
• good youth work does not just happen – it is planned and delivered by people, both paid and voluntary, who are committed to the work they are engaged in;
• youth work has an educational purpose – to enhance the social and personal development of those involved so that they are better equipped to be fully engaged citizens of their community and society;
• youth work is built on the voluntary participation of young people, and because they make the decision to engage or otherwise, it must recognise and respond to the interests and concerns of those involved – the young people and their social groups must be central to the youth work process;
• youth work programmes and services have, historically, been provided by voluntary and community based organisations who have built up considerable knowledge, experience and expertise in their work.
The LCETB recognise that the young people Limerick and Clare are citizens and participants in our society. The national policy framework for children and young people, Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures, sets out a vision of Ireland as:
“the best small country in the world in which to grow up and raise a family, and where the rights of all children and young people are respected, protected and fulfilled; where their voices are heard and where they are supported to realise their maximum potential now and in the future”.
Through its role in the strategic development of youth work programmes and services for Limerick and Clare, we are happy contribute to the realisation of that vision.