set out to look at who is involved in youth work, what they do and why
they do it. This month, Tom Wylie is
our profiled! person...
Executive, National Youth Agency Location:
in post: 5
(SYWO) Can you give us an overview of what
you do in your work?
manage England’s leading national development agency for youth work.
The Agency provides a range of services for those who work with
young people: publications, developmental projects, grants, and seeks to
influence policies about young people.
What do you think made you go into it?
went into youth work because, in my own life, I had experienced its
potential for offering young people new experiences and worthwhile values.
Can you tell us about a 'high
point' in this work?
publishing a new set of standards for promoting young people’s active
involvement in local democracy – and backing this up with a range of
exemplary projects e.g. YouthBank; Philip Lawrence Awards; the ‘Getting
about any low points?
failure by successive governments – now being belatedly rectified –
to support good youth work.
you think there is any sort of pressure that comes with the job you do?
need to balance competing priorities in deploying staff and resources
across a whole range of desirable activities… ‘do more on
anti-racism… on rural issues… on asylum-seekers…. on the
kind of skills do you use in everyday practice?
you think your work is about change? If so, what kind of change do you
think you are involved in?
the policies of major institutions, including those of government, and
the practices of youth workers and managers.
you have three wishes for the young people/communities that you work
with/society in general - what do you think they would be?
people should have a good quality of life now, and not just be
viewed as ‘future citizens’;
people should be valued and praised, not demonised;
who work with the young should have their contribution better
There are students
undergoing training at the moment to become qualified youth and community
workers. What advice would you give them?
they need to concern themselves with turning theory and understanding of
social issues into specific, effective, intensive work with young people
youth work is about helping young people endlessly to re-frame their
situations and supporting them towards positive outcomes.
Tom took part in our
profiles exercise. If you'd like to have a go, find out how to, HERE.
Next month: Jaiwanda Patel, Responsible youth worker