Work with the Young Person as the Focus

Work with the Young Person as the Focus

I was recently looking at the Certificate IV in Youth Work training package and wondering the age old question of what makes how youth workers engage with young people different. Different from social workers, teachers, student welfare professionals, mental health workers and all the other professions and para-professions that work with young people. It is an age old question in youth work. What do we do? How is this different from everyone else. In fact it is probably the foremost question of our professionalisation debate. The sad fact of the matter is that most youth workers cannot agree on the core tenets of youth work as a profession. It was with all this rattling around in my head when I came across one performance element in the very first youth work unit and my mind was changed, work with the young person as the focus. If youth work students could just fully get this then all the other debates become minutia.

The third performance criteria states that one of the areas of knowledge and skills that a youth worker must hold is to “work with the young person as the focus“. Now, this may seem like a foundational piece of knowledge and it is, after all it is in the first youth work unit of the Certificate IV (CHCYTH001 Engage Respectfully with Young People). It is also a fundamental skillset that many youth workers forget, or worse are required to dismiss. 

You see there are many people in the world who want to guide our young people. For the most part these people have good intentions. Teachers want students to learn so they can get a job and live as part of society. Parents want their children to be safe. Student welfare staff want young people to have the language, literacy and numeracy skills to graduate. However, do they put the young person first? do they work for the young person as the focus? do they have other motives?

This is the key to great youth work ethos as well as exceptional youth work praxis. I will go into more depth below, but in the mean time lets get back to what the training package informs us about this. There are six performance criteria that youth work students must demonstrate here to be deemed to have the knowledge and skills to be a youth work graduate. They are:

  1. Apply youth-centred practices when working with young people 
  2. Respect the rights, needs and responsibilities of the young person 
  3. Explain worker rights and responsibilities to the young person as necessary 
  4. Establish a professional relationship and boundary expectations with the client 
  5. Identify and manage power inequities in the professional relationship 
  6. Apply principles of ethical decision-making in working with young people 
 
Engage Respectfully with Young People

How do we work with young people as the focus?

Apply youth-centred practices when working with young people 

The Youth worker needs to demonstrate that they have a solid grasp on youth-centred practices and how to implement these with young people. This begs the question, what are youth-centred practices? A few that spring to mind are ‘youth engagement’, ‘youth participation’ and Carl Rogers ‘person centred therapy’. There are a few more, but the idea here is the young person needs to be at the centre of the activity of youth work. So, if the young person is not at the centre of your work, you probably aren’t doing youth work. 

Respect the rights, needs and responsibilities of the young person 

We must have a rights based approach to youth work. The Victorian Youth Work Code of Ethics is explicit about this approach. We as youth workers are very much informed by the United Nation Convention on the Rights of the Child in our dealings with young people. We are also needs based. It is about what our young people need, not their mum, dad, teacher or the local constabulary. The space of responsibilities is a contentious issue for youth workers and is linked heavily to the rights side of things. Here in Victoria we have a Charter of Rights and Responsibilities, it states,  “in protecting the rights of a person there is a corresponding duty to other individuals or the wider society to act responsibly towards them“. As youth workers this means we have the responsibility to protect our young peoples rights, it is not our young peoples responsibility.

Explain worker rights and responsibilities to the young person as necessary 

As youth workers we have many rights and responsibilities. One of our rights is to be safe in our workplace. This is enshrined in work health and safety legislation. Another right is to be paid for our work. These rights and more also come with some responsibilities. Responsibilities such as holding a duty of care, being a fit and proper person and looking out for their safety. Our young people must hear and understand these things. We might even give them an information sheet that explains them.

Establish a professional relationship and boundary expectations with the client 

In his most excellent book “Youth Work Ethics” Professor Howard Sercombe states, “the {youth work] relationship is intentionally limited“. He goes on further to state, “It is a partnership in that space… in which youth worker and young person work together to heal hurts, to repair damage, to grow into responsibility an to promote new ways of being“(2010, p.11). This is one of the most useful steps in the youth work relationship as it clearly identifies to the worker and young person what can and can’t be part of the relationship. We identify timelines for support, clearly identify agreed expectations and put up barriers for protection. This has become an even more important step in Australian youth work since the Royal Commission into Institutional Abuse.

Identify and manage power inequities in the professional relationship 

As youth workers we must recognise that we have power over young people. We might try to minimise its effect, but it is there. How we go about identifying this, potentially with our young people and then managing it is central to being able to build and maintain out relationship. One key way to do this well is to have regular supervision where you are challenged about this.

Apply principles of ethical decision-making in working with young people

Having a code of ethics is a really important step for professional youth work. However the document is useless unless it is put into practice. As youth workers we need ethical decision-making frameworks to help us navigate the murky waters of youth work practice. One clear decision imperative is that our young people are our primary consideration, or as the training package puts it we work with the young person as the focus. We are big fans of Virtue Ethics at Ultimate youth Worker and we use this extensively in our work, however there are a number of ethical decision frameworks that can help us to put our young people at the centre of our decision making processes.


If we are to take youth work to the heights of professionalism we must be able to identify what makes us unique. One of the very clear practices that sets us apart is how we view those we work with. Not as helpless clients but as young people free to determine their futures. For us to engage respectfully with them it must not be from a stance of the all knowing adult. We often say to youth workers that our job is that of a sherpa. We are a knowledgable guide who walks alongside young people and we help to carry the load occasionally while they strive to reach the top of the mountain they are climbing at the time.

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Aaron Garth

Aaron Garth is the Executive Director of Ultimate Youth Worker. Aaron has worked as a youth worker in a number of settings including local church, street drug and alcohol outreach, family services, residential care, local government and youth homelessness since 2003. Aaron is a regular speaker at camps, retreats, & youth work training events and is a dedicated to seeing a more professional youth sector in Australia. Aaron is a graduate of RMIT University and an alumnus of their youth work program. He lives in Melbourne with his wife Jennifer & their daughters Hope, Zoe, Esther, Niamh and son Ezra.

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Podcast 041: Listen to Engage

In todays episode of the Ultimate Youth Worker Podcast, “Listen to Engage”, Aaron speaks to us about the need for youth workers to listen respectfully to their young people. One of the keys to developing respectful engagement with our young people is the skill of listening to gain understanding of how they view their experiences.

Listen to Engage

We have two ears and one mouth, so the proverb goes, so listen twice as much as you speak. As youth workers we engage in a relational profession. We speak, we listen, we engage. Unfortunately, we can sometimes forget this. We listen to inform our young people of our opinions. We refute or rebut their view of their experiences. To answer before listening is our folly and our shame. Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent. For us to engage respectfully we need to put our young people at the centre of our engagement. Treat them with dignity, understand their experiences from their point of view and respect their autonomy

Six steps to good engagement

Here are a few tips that will help you to engage respectfully with your young people. When having a conversation it is extremely important to listen well.

Pay attention

It is easy for our minds to wander. If we do not pay attention it is impossible to engage well. We need to be active listeners. Use our minimal encouragers. Look them in the eyes when they make their points. Focus on what they are saying. Actively listen.

Hold your judgements

Hold your tongue, your beliefs and judgements. This is key to relational practices. What we think is not important here. It is all about being focused on the young person.

Reflect on what has been said

Take time to think. You do not have to speak straight away. Let what has been said truly sink in to your brain and heart.

Clarify

Seek first to understand before you seek to be understood. Make sure you understand what has been said. If you are unsure ask questions to clarify.

Summarise

Once you have paid attention, held your judgement, reflected on what had been said and clarified any misunderstanding this is a good time to summarise and paraphrase what has been said to make sure you have fully understood your young person.

Share

If you have done all of these things then you will have earned the right to speak into the lives of the young people.

Today’s resources

Here are links to some articles and training that have bearing on todays podcast:

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Aaron Garth

Aaron Garth is the Executive Director of Ultimate Youth Worker. Aaron has worked as a youth worker in a number of settings including local church, street drug and alcohol outreach, family services, residential care, local government and youth homelessness since 2003. Aaron is a regular speaker at camps, retreats, & youth work training events and is a dedicated to seeing a more professional youth sector in Australia. Aaron is a graduate of RMIT University and an alumnus of their youth work program. He lives in Melbourne with his wife Jennifer & their daughters Hope, Zoe, Esther, Niamh and son Ezra.

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Reflecting

Podcast 018: Reflecting in the moment

Reflecting
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In this episode of the Ultimate Youth Worker Podcast ‘Reflecting in the Moment’ Aaron speaks with Jessy about the importance of critical reflection in the moment. We hear about critical reflection all the time in our degree programs, we read about it in journal articles, yet we rarely find the time in practice. 

This episode explains how reflective practice is key to our work as youth workers and how reflecting in the moment is core to best practice.The best youth workers actively seek to identify opportunities to reflect on their own interactions and practices with young people. they then seek opportunities to address any concerns or areas for development.

Great youth workers look for models we can tailor to our work

Aaron Garth

The rate of youth workers who are leaving the sector is one of the highest in all professions. Vicarious trauma and burnout are listed as some of the highest causes of youth workers leaving. In fact this is part of what led to us starting Ultimate Youth Worker. We had seen many of our friends and colleagues leave the sector, when something as simple as a little critical reflection on a regular basis would have helped to keep most of them excited and empowered to do the job for longer.

Three levels of reflecting

In this podcast Aaron looks at the three levels of reflecting used by the Ultimate Youth Worker staff team:

  1. Reflection on the issues. Venting is the most common way we see this happen. It is bitching at its best. We release the pressure cooker and let loose on everyone around us. This is ok in small doses but when it is continuously happening it is quite damaging.
  2. Critical reflection. It brings a level of depth. Looking at our values, understanding of the world, our own history and how all of these things influence how we reacted in situations.
  3. Reflexivity. Taking our understanding of all the stuff we have been critically reflective about and then turning our new found knowledge into action.

 Today’s resources

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To help out the show:

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Aaron Garth

Aaron Garth is the Executive Director of Ultimate Youth Worker. Aaron has worked as a youth worker in a number of settings including local church, street drug and alcohol outreach, family services, residential care, local government and youth homelessness since 2003. Aaron is a regular speaker at camps, retreats, & youth work training events and is a dedicated to seeing a more professional youth sector in Australia. Aaron is a graduate of RMIT University and an alumnus of their youth work program. He lives in Melbourne with his wife Jennifer & their daughters Hope, Zoe, Esther, Niamh and son Ezra.

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Let’s talk about reflective practice.

Reflective Practice

I was in a youth advisory committee meeting for a local council last week and we asked each young person what issues they are passionate about. One of the answers really stood out to me, a young person said “I am passionate about recognising and understanding my privilege and using it to give a voice to those less fortunate than me”. How many 14 year olds do you know that can reflect so deeply on a topic such as privilege? I was astounded and inspired.

This got me thinking.. when have I been required to be critically reflective about myself and my work? Whilst there is some reflective practice involved in team meetings, supervision (that’s a whole other story in itself) and trainings, I don’t recall a time where the main focus was on critical reflective practice. With this in mind I decided to get in touch with you, our Ultimate Youth Worker community, and find out what your thoughts are on reflective practice.

Here are some of the responses:

“Youth Workers should use this process to talk about the things that are affecting you personally. What has been a situation with a client that are made you uneasy, or made you frustrated or angry, or made you nervous, or that you have ‘hit the wall’ with a client. You should unpack that and get in touch with what is going on, it will help you.”

– Paul McDonald, Anglicare Victoria.

“Reflective practice is extremely important in youth and social work to avoid experiencing vicarious trauma. A few years into my career, I worked with a particular family that caused me to suffer vicarious trauma. I was young myself and their story was particularly harrowing and frustrating. I wasn’t in the headspace, both professionally and personally, to truly acknowledge how this situation was affecting me. I had one-on-one supervision but at that time it wasn’t adequate, and I would stay late every day, long after everyone else had gone home. After many months of this, the trauma seeped into my personal life and eventually I realised what was happening. As my career has progressed and I have now managed a team, I see the vast importance of reflective practice, both individually and as a group/team.

Within our team and site, we have one-on-one supervision, group supervision with a child psychiatrist, group supervision with an occupational therapist who is a child trauma specialist, as well as practice reflection as a site. These are absolute non-negotiables now and are compulsory for all required staff to attend. The work we do is tough, and without these safe spaces to be able to reflect on what we do and how we do it, as well realise how our work affects us, we cannot do the best work for the people we support.”

– Sammy Hoppe, Launch Housing.

It’s great to see positive comments on reflective practice, it goes to show that there are some structures and processes out there that work really well to support staff in their personal and professional development. However I have come across a large number of youth workers who express the opposite concerns about the support they are getting with regards to reflective practice. In our experience at Ultimate Youth Worker, we find that this is partly due to a lack of a clear model for critical reflective practice for youth workers. One particular model that we find effective in our practice is Jan Fook and Fiona Gardiners framework for critically reflective practice, outlined in their book ‘Practicing Critical Reflection’.

In short, the framework is broken down into three phases and is usually facilitated in small groups, but it can also be used in a one-on-one setting. Firstly, the participants are asked to go through the process of ‘unsettling assumptions’. In this stage, the participant is asked to reflect on their practice and how it is affecting them, but they are also asked to unpack their assumptions based on their social and cultural context. The reason the term ‘unsettling assumptions’ is used is to ‘shake up’ the thinking of the participant in a way that they start to experience a degree of discomfort and explore hidden assumptions that they normally wouldn’t. Which in a supportive and clinical environment can foster greater and deeper learning. The second phase focuses on linking the learnings from the previous stage with theory and practice relevant to the individual and their work. In the third phase, which we argue is potentially the most neglected part of reflective practice, the participant goes through the process of linking their changed awareness with changed actions. This third phase is the most important part of reflective practice.

In their book, Fook and Gardiner state that “The climate and culture of the critical reflection process are probably as important as the tools and techniques used.” They continue by describing how important it is for the facilitator to create an environment where participants acknowledge the potential pain, risk and vulnerability involved with reflecting. I would love to say that I’ve had such a detailed and structured reflective practice session in my years as a youth worker, but unfortunately this is not the case. A story that I’m sure is all too familiar. What are your thoughts on this model? Would you want it to be implemented in your workplace? Share your comments in the section below.

If you would like to read more about the model, we suggest reading “Practicing Critical Reflection” and “Being Critically Reflective: Engaging in Holistic Practice”. If you feel you need more support in this area, contact our Director, Aaron Garth at aaron@ultimateyouthworker.com.au to have a short discussion about how we can support you.

Thank you to all of our amazing community members who have sent through their thoughts and ideas on reflective practice, we really appreciate your input.

Until next time, watch out for the crocs!

Jessy Hall

Jessy is the Community Engagement Coordinator at Ultimate Youth Worker. Jessy has been working as a youth worker since 2014 in a variety of different roles. His passion for youth work began whilst volunteering on a YMCA program for young indigenous leaders, after being inspired by the strength and passion of the young people on this program he immediately began his studies at Chisholm Institute of TAFE where he completed a Diploma of Youth Work. Since then, Jessy has expanded his knowledge and skills in the field by working in residential care facilities, being part of an Australian first evidence based foster care program (TFCO) and partaking in various trainings in youth mental health and other relevant areas to his work.

Jessy currently lives in Melbourne but is about to embark on the journey of a lifetime and drive around Australia in a four wheel drive with his partner. He plans to work along the way and explore the different opportunities available for youth workers in Australia. Jessy has dreams to one day start his own organisation dedicated to developing the next generation of socially engaged and passionate young people.

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Code of Ethics

Youth Work Code of Ethics

Youth Work Code of Ethics

Youth Work Code of Ethics

I remember when I first started as a youth worker. I knew that ethics were important, that they underpinned the work that I did and that a youth work code of ethics existed in Victoria. However, being the gung-ho youth worker that I was, I was more interested in diving head first into the nitty gritty stuff rather than sitting down and dissecting how a code of ethics might better inform my practice and inform my ethical decision making. Over the years I have spent a lot of time reflecting on and refining the work that I do and this has led me to spend a lot more time developing a more rounded and ethical approach to my work. Whilst I would argue that I naturally act within an ethical framework, it can be helpful to know the “guidelines” set out by the industry professionals in your area. This is where a code of ethics comes into play. Having a code of ethics can guide you in the right direction with regards to professional development, increase your longevity in the field and help you to fully understand your roles and responsibilities on a micro and macro scale.

Earlier this year we spoke with Professor Howard Sercombe about his work developing a youth work code of ethics in Australia. I’ve listened to it and summarised a few key learnings that I drew from it, however I do encourage you to listen to the podcast and then have some discussions with your colleagues about the information raised. Here is what stood out for me;

  • Whilst we can perform our job ethically without necessarily having a code of ethics written down, having it written down allows us to be more conscious of the work we do and why we do it.
  • It gives us a common language to use with each other and allows us to define ourselves and our role to other professionals.
  • There is no nationwide code of ethics. Some states are opposed to a code of ethics, however those states that do possess a code share ones that are similar in their makeup.
  • A code of ethics is not a list of rules. Youth Work is such a broad field and the circumstances we face are so varied that having one set of rules would not work.
  • A code of ethics can be described as “terms of engagement”; core principles that govern our overall approach to working with young people.

Youth Work Ethics

With this mind, I have taken some of the key responsibilities from “The Code of Ethical Practice for the Victorian Youth Sector” and outlined ways in which they inform my day to day practice as a youth worker. The Victorian Youth Work Code of Ethics states that “The youth work practice responsibilities describe key elements of what youth workers do when guided by the youth work principles. They are the essence of youth work practice and are important in youth workers fulfilling their responsibilities. The youth work practice responsibilities are not placed in order of importance, but are all of equal value”.

Young People as the Primary Consideration.

This means thinking about, then doing, what is best for the young person. So even if other people are involved in your work—like the young person’s parents or another worker—you always make decisions in the best interest of the young person”.

I hear all the time “we have the young person’s best interest at heart” or many other variations of the same sentiment. But what does it actually mean in practice? I regularly try to think back to when I was their age and how I would have responded to certain situations, then put myself in their shoes. Being able to understand a young person’s situation from their point of view allows you to truly consider what is best for them at that point in time. From this point of view, you can connect with them on their level and act as an advocate.

As a residential youth worker, a prime example of “young people as the primary consideration” is the Looking After Children documents (LAC). The Department of Health and Human Services states that “Looking After Children (LAC) is an outcomes-focused approach for collaboratively providing good care for children placed in out-of-home care. In Victoria, LAC provides the practice framework for considering how each child’s needs will be met, whilst that child is in out-of-home care. It is used for managing out-of-home care in accordance with the Best Interests Case Practice Model cycle of information gathering, assessment, planning, implementation and review”.

Parts of the document are completed by the caregivers, and parts are completed with the young person to ensure they have a say in the outcomes they want from being in out-of-home care. The goal setting element of this document is extremely important and can be an empowering process for the young person if done correctly.

Boundaries.

The youth work relationship is strictly professional. Professional boundaries intentionally protect both the young person and the worker. Youth workers will maintain the integrity of these limits”.

Some of the young people I work with make it their mission to find me on social media. For the most part they are successful. This has led me to finding ways to conceal my online identity and I have even deleted some accounts to avoid causing any issues. For the most part this is not a real issue though, as the boundaries are very clearly set out in the beginning.

This is such an important responsibility to adhere to when working with young people. Depending on the service and your role, you have to walk a fine line between between being a “friend” and being a “worker”. Professor Howard Sercombe states that the relationship between a youth worker and a young person creates a space of safety and security that can make it easier for them to disclose. As a youth worker you connect with the young people on their level and form a close and trusting relationship, but you must also make sure that they understand your role and the responsibilities you have. For instance, the legal responsibilities you have in terms of mandatory reporting. As stated above, this is for the protection of the worker and the young person.

Cooperation and Collaboration.

This means you work together with other people to get the best results for young people. For example, you might involve another service or the young person’s family if it’s appropriate (and the young person gives consent)”.

To practice this responsibility ethically would involve putting differences aside and always having the child or young person’s best interests at the forefront of your practice. As the age old saying goes “it takes a village to raise a child”; the same applies for the social services sector and the young people and children we support. We are constantly liaising with family members, other services and government organisations to ensure the best possible outcomes for the people in our services.

I am currently involved with a program that is a prime example of cooperation and collaboration. Treatment Foster Care Oregon (TFCO); a foster care based program, includes four key professionals that are working with and for each young person around the areas of individual therapy, skills coaching, family therapy and education. Every week, we meet with the young person, their carers and their family, as well as have a clinical meeting. In this meeting, professionals share ideas, make sure we are all working towards the same end goal and develop a fully collaborative plan for each young person’s time in the program and beyond. This model displays transparent regard for the young person, what they want to achieve and how. This is extremely important when working with other professionals and / or other organisations, as the young person must firstly give consent but also have ownership over their case plan.

Recognition of Indigenous Peoples.

Youth workers recognise that we live on the traditional lands and waters of the Indigenous peoples of Australia. They recognise that culture and connection to land and community is a right for Indigenous young people and that they have a right to cultural safety. Youth workers will be respectful of Indigenous culture at all times and recognise the importance of culture as it relates to Indigenous young people’s self-esteem and sense of identity

In 2015-16, Indigenous children aged 0-17 received child protection services at a rate around seven times that for non-Indigenous children, and they were 10 times as likely to be in out-of-home care(Australia’s Welfare 2017: in brief, AIHW).

The above statistic is alarming. In my work I am ten times more likely to work with an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) child or young person than a non-ATSI child or young person. This highlights how important it is to have a deep understanding of how to appropriately and ethically work with ATSI people.

I was lucky enough to begin my journey as a youth worker within an ATSI leadership program in Melbourne. Through this I was able to learn a lot from local ATSI young people and elders about the importance of culture, not only in their lives, but in the lives of non-ATSI people too. One important lesson I took from this experience was that ATSI culture is so expansive and differs all over Australia. So in order to be culturally sensitive in my practice I have to familiarise myself with the history and customs of each different community I am working with australian online casinos here.

There are many ways in which having an ethical practice with regards to recognition for Indigenous people can be achieved. A few simple but important things that can be done are;

  • Knowing the traditional owners of the land you live/work on and display a flag or sticker to show your acknowledgement.
  • Perform an acknowledgement of country at the beginning of meetings/events.
  • Participate in cultural awareness training at your workplace.
  • Know the history of Australia and the details around its’ invasion.
  • Know the appropriate language and terms to use when talking to and about ATSI people.
  • Attend events in support of ATSI rights and recognition.
  • Familiarise yourself with laws and important documents that relate to the history and recognition of ATSI people. Such as the “Bringing them Home Report”, and more recently the “Uluru statement from the heart”.

Knowledge, Skill and Self-care.

This means you commit to ongoing learning. For example, you might read new research or take special training. Self-care means you’re aware of and take responsibility for your own physical and emotional wellbeing. This is important because you help young people best when you feel well yourself. Your organisation also has a responsibility to support your professional development and self-care

At Ultimate Youth Worker we have spent a lot of time speaking about self-care. Our last blog post was entirely dedicated to self care as it is such an important part of ethical practice. 

Knowledge is also part of this section of the code and is just as important. Within all the work that I do, knowing the legal boundaries and expectations of my role is just as important as knowing organisational ones. Trainings such as those from Youth Law have formed an integral part of my understanding around mandatory reporting and age of consent laws. As these laws can change, it is your ethical duty to ensure you are up-to-date with the laws that affect your role.

As part of my own quest for knowledge, skill and self care, I participate in the World Youth Worker Network. It is a facilitated peer support network run by Ultimate Youth Worker solely dedicated to the longevity of youth workers through personal and professional development. The network has given me a deeper understanding of my core values, my purpose and goals in life. It has played an integral part in ensuring that I have the best ethical practice possible.

The other responsibilities in the Victorian code of ethics are privacy and confidentiality, duty of care, social context and anti-oppressive practice: non-discrimination, equity and self-awareness. As stated at the start, no single responsibility is considered more or less important than the other, and most of them are overlapping in how they affect our day to day practice. Are you familiar with the code of ethics for your sector? Do you think it’s important to have a code of ethics and apply it in your everyday work? We would love to hear your thoughts and feelings on this topic. Leave a comment on our socials and get the conversation started!

If you would like to read more about different codes of ethics in Australia, you can access them in the links below:

The Code of Ethical Practice for the Victorian Youth Sector.

Australian Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics. 

Western Australian Association of Youth Workers Youth Work Code of Ethics.

Youth Ethics Framework for Tasmania.

NSW code of ethics.

South Australia Code of Ethics.

Jessy Hall

Jessy is the Community Engagement Coordinator at Ultimate Youth Worker. Jessy has been working as a youth worker since 2014 in a variety of different roles. His passion for youth work began whilst volunteering on a YMCA program for young indigenous leaders, after being inspired by the strength and passion of the young people on this program he immediately began his studies at Chisholm Institute of TAFE where he completed a Diploma of Youth Work. Since then, Jessy has expanded his knowledge and skills in the field by working in residential care facilities, being part of an Australian first evidence based foster care program (TFCO) and partaking in various trainings in youth mental health and other relevant areas to his work.

Jessy currently lives in Melbourne but is about to embark on the journey of a lifetime and drive around Australia in a four wheel drive with his partner. He plans to work along the way and explore the different opportunities available for youth workers in Australia. Jessy has dreams to one day start his own organisation dedicated to developing the next generation of socially engaged and passionate young people.

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Podcast 014: Youth Work Ethics

Youth Work Ethics
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Youth Work Ethics

In this episode of the Ultimate Youth Worker Podcast ‘Youth Work Ethics’ Aaron speaks with Professor Howard Sercombe about his over two decade looking at and developing Youth Work Ethics documents.

Howard Sercombe is a leading youth work academic and practitioner.  He has been a pioneer internationally in thinking about professional ethics for youth workers, and was involved in drafting codes of ethics for youth workers across Australia and in Scotland, England, South Africa, Zambia and New Zealand.  His book, Youth Work Ethics has been widely influential.  He has also published widely on the sociology of youth, including the construction of youth in the media and the emerging influence of neuroscience.  He and his partner, broadcaster Helen Wolfenden, have just relocated to Sydney after ten years in Glasgow. He currently holds an honorary Professorship in Education with the University of Glasgow, and is doing primary parenting for Oscar, 4 and Timothy, nearly 2.

Youth Work Ethics with Howard Sercombe

In todays episode Aaron and Howard speak about the development of the Fairbridge code of ethics used by many youth work associations worldwide. How did the code come in to being? Why do youth workers need to think about ethics? How can youth workers think ethically in their day to day practice?

Professional youth workers must think about the concept of ethical practice every day. Codes of Ethics are a significant way for the young people we serve to know what we can and cannot do. They also give youth workers a great framework for ethical decision making, professional supervision and reflective practice.

You can find more information about Howard on LinkedIn.

Today’s resources

Here are links to some of Howard’s latest articles that have bearing on todays podcast.

Thanks for Listening!

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To help out the show:

  • Leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help and I read each one.
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Aaron Garth

Aaron Garth is the Executive Director of Ultimate Youth Worker. Aaron has worked as a youth worker in a number of settings including local church, street drug and alcohol outreach, family services, residential care, local government and youth homelessness since 2003. Aaron is a regular speaker at camps, retreats, & youth work training events and is a dedicated to seeing a more professional youth sector in Australia. Aaron is a graduate of RMIT University and an alumnus of their youth work program. He lives in Melbourne with his wife Jennifer & their daughters Hope, Zoe, Esther, Niamh and son Ezra.

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Podcast 013: Youth Work and Power

Youth Work and Power
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Podcast #13: Youth Work and Power

In this episode of the Ultimate Youth Worker Podcast Aaron speaks with Ben Lohmeyer from Tabor College of Higher Education about his research into youth work and power.

Ben Lohmeyer is a critical youth sociologist and youth worker. He is a PhD candidate at Flinders University and the Program Coordinator of the Bachelor of Applied Social Sciences (Youth Work) at Tabor. Ben’s research interests include: youth, governance, violence (personal, structural and neoliberal) and youth work practice.

Youth Work and Power with Ben Lohmeyer

Ben has worked across a range of youth work settings including alternative education, alternative accommodation and peace building. He has experience facilitating restorative justice processes, designing and facilitating peace building programs as well as grant and policy writing. Ben has is currently completing his PhD in Sociology at Flinders University focussing on youth and neoliberal violence.

In todays episode Aaron and Ben speak about youth work and power. How do youth workers recognise power issues? How do youth workers identify and manage power inequalities in the professional relationship? What can youth workers do when power is imposed by neoliberal structures? How can youth workers show genuine concern in the face of power imbalances? Youth workers must wrestle with the concept of power as it is a significant issue for the young people we serve and in doing youth work with integrity.

You can find more information about Ben’s publications at someyouthfulthoughts.wordpress.com or follow him on twitter @LohmeyerBen

Today’s resources

Here are links to some of Ben’s latest articles that have bearing on todays podcast.

Thanks for Listening!

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Aaron Garth

Aaron Garth is the Executive Director of Ultimate Youth Worker. Aaron has worked as a youth worker in a number of settings including local church, street drug and alcohol outreach, family services, residential care, local government and youth homelessness since 2003. Aaron is a regular speaker at camps, retreats, & youth work training events and is a dedicated to seeing a more professional youth sector in Australia. Aaron is a graduate of RMIT University and an alumnus of their youth work program. He lives in Melbourne with his wife Jennifer & their daughters Hope, Zoe, Esther, Niamh and son Ezra.

More PostsWebsite

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestYouTube