Recruitment opens for new national working group to tackle youth advice services challenges

Youth Access is recruiting up to 12 members for a new expert working group focusing on advice provision for young people. 

The National Youth Advice Working Group is being launched by Youth Access alongside the publication of a new research paper that highlights the challenges faced by the sector in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The paper, ‘Workforce and Practice Challenges for Youth Information, Advice and Services’, reveals that 88%1 of services that participated in the research indicated they were likely to reduce activity, with nearly a third saying staff redundancies were likely.

Money was a key issue for services, with 64% expecting to lose sources of funding and 72% expecting to access emergency funds to meet organisation needs. Smaller organisations were more likely to expect financial difficulties.

The research identified greater difficulties in accessing advice, information and counselling for Black, Asian and minority ethnic young people and LGTBQ+ young people. ‘Digitally excluded’ young people also struggled to access support.

Report author Anita Sangha said: “We need to ensure that the limited doors that are available to children and young people today stay open, and this demands a strong, well supported and connected youth sector.”

The new working group will come together to support Youth Access staff to:

  • Define key opportunities to influence change in advice provision for young people
  • Define the needs of voluntary and community sector youth services to respond to the prevailing advice needs of young people
  • Identify the relevant decision-makers at local and national level
  • Draw up specific recommendations or demands to those decision-makers

Youth Access Chief Executive Cassandra Harrison said: “We are creating our new working group to develop stronger connections between youth advice organisations at a local level and build upon our work at a national level to develop a united approach to the challenges faced by the sector.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for young people, and now more than ever it is essential that sustainable support services are in place to meet their needs.”

To apply for membership of the new working group, complete the application form

Panel members will be asked to commit to taking part in at least four meetings over the course of the next 12 months. Closing date for applications is Monday August 16.

Apply to join the National Youth Advice Working Group

Evidence for the report was gathered from youth advice, information and counselling services from around the country via 13 survey responses and eight interviews. Additional interviews were conducted with other relevant stakeholders.