Wrexham Glyndwr University’s international focus on Youth Work highlighted at European Convention
A senior academic from Wrexham Glyndwr University has discussed international youth work at a convention of leaders seeking to forge a European network for the sector.
At this year’s European Youth Work Convention, youth work professionals from across Europe came together to discuss the latest developments in youth work – and to look at ways in which closer links can be built between youth workers across the continent.
Simon Stewart, Dean of Glyndwr’s Faculty of Social and Life Sciences, attended the convention in his role as a member of Wales’ Interim Youth Work Board alongside Dareth Edwards, who was representing the Welsh Government’s Youth Engagement branch.
During sessions at the convention, Mr Stewart updated delegates both about the work being done at a national level by the Board, as well as talking about some of the innovations which his own university has made to boost links across Europe and beyond.
He said: “This year’s convention may have been a little different to usual – as with so many events this year, it was adapted to a digital format in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“However, that didn’t stop it from being a great week, which helped youth work professionals from across Europe to meet, share ideas and best practice – and to look at ways in which we can strengthen our working relationships.
“The UK Delegation met to consider ways of building relationships further in Europe following the convention, and I’d like to thank Simon Chambers from the British Council for his work during the week. I’ll also be reporting back to the Interim Youth Board about this year’s convention and what work we need to do in response.”
Mr Stewart attended the convention because of the strong focus in his research work on international youth work and intercultural learning – and during the week he spoke about the ways in which an innovative Wrexham Glyndwr University module is helping to build an international community in the sector.
The module – which students take as part of Glyndwr’s BA (Hons) Youth and Community Work programme – focuses on International Youth Work, and is the only one of its kind offered in Wales.
It has seen students undertake youth work placements with partners in countries as diverse as Ireland and Gambia – both building direct links through these placements and learning how to continue such links through their youth work practice.
Senior lecturer in Youth Work at Wrexham Glyndwr University, Hayley Douglas, added: “Through the module, we support students and help them to gain an understanding of what international youth work is, and how to explore the role of international youth work in supporting young people, and youth workers, to develop cultural awareness of themselves and others.
“There’s lots of ways this can be done through youth work – as many of our students who have been through the course can tell you.
“Links can be forged through youth workers organising – or supporting young people to organise – study visits, exchanges, or volunteering internationally.
“By doing this in different cultural contexts and settings, they help build communities among young people globally – through learning on the module, they gain both the wider knowledge and the practical skills they need to keep forging these links.”
To find out more about Youth and Community Work at Wrexham Glyndwr University, visit: https://www.glyndwr.ac.uk/en/Undergraduatecourses/YouthandCommunityWork/
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