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Agenda for 28 March 2022






Minutes and Actions

Minutes of 31 Jan 2022


Update from the Chair, Keith Towler (KT)



Welsh Government (WG) update



Definition of youth work



Community schools: WG



Welsh language pilots: Principal Youth Officer, Caerphilly Council



Youth Work Leadership and Management training: education training standards



Transition planning to the implementation Board



Statement on accessible and inclusive youth work: KT



Any other business (AOB)






Board members:

  • Keith Towler (KT): Interim Youth Work Board Chair
  • Eleri Thomas (ET): Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner, Gwent
  • Simon Stewart (SS): Dean of Faculty of Social and Life Sciences at Wrexham Glyndwr University
  • Sharon Lovell (SL): Executive Director for the National Youth Advocacy Service and Vice Chair, Council for Wales of Voluntary Youth Services (CWVYS)
  • Efa Gruffudd Jones (EGJ): Chief Executive of the National Centre for Learning Welsh

Welsh Government (WG):

  • Hayley Jones (HJ): Head of Youth Engagement Branch
  • Dareth Edwards (DE): Youth Work Policy Manager
  • Donna Lemin (DL): Senior Youth Work Strategy Manager


  • Suzanne Sarjeant (SS): Community Schools Advisor, Welsh Government
  • Paul O’Neil (PO): Principal Youth Officer, Caerphilly Council
  • Emma Chivers (EC): EC Consultancy
  • Steven Drowley (SD): Chair, Education Training Standards Committee (ETS)


  • Jo Sims: Blaenau Gwent County Council, Youth Service Manager
  • Dusty Kennedy: Trauma Recovery Model Academy

Minutes and actions

Minutes from 14th December 2021 were agreed as an accurate and true record.

Action: EGJ asked for the minutes to be updated to note her question to the Minister how could we ensure that the momentum could be kept with regard to the Welsh language recommendation, and how could we ensure that we could track progress in the absence, in the short term, of a National Body.

Update from KT

The recruitment of a Chair for Implementation Board is underway. The Young Persons Committee will meet candidates in advance of the main panel. The Minister will meet with the preferred candidate before confirming appointment.

CWVYS has announced two key appointments: Kathryn Allan, Taith Youth Sector Co-ordinator, and Branwen Nicols, part-time Marketing and Communications assistant (working with Ellie Parker).

Update from Welsh Government: HJ and DR

The consultation on EWC registration closes on 24 May.

Evaluation of Welsh language pilots is currently underway with a view to funding additional pilots to further test approaches.    

Confirmation that Accessible and Inclusive Strategy Participation Group (SPG) has been disbanded and the accessible and inclusive work will be mainstreamed across other work streams and SPGs.

Evaluation of the initial Leadership and Management training course is underway. Board members contributed their own reflections on the course. The consensus was that there may be a need for differentiation to accommodate participants at various stages in their development. It was felt that there is a clear demand for this type of opportunity but that alternative models should also be considered, e.g. a leadership network to enable engagement with critical friends as an approach to continuous development,

As part of ongoing efforts to raise profile of youth work, officials are currently in discussion with the Welsh Government’s Professional Learning Team to plan resources for schools. Officials thanked board members for their representation on the Renew and Reform project board for vulnerable and disadvantaged learners, youth work will continue to be considered by the Board, and in whatever work follows when the Board ends.

Officials are working on a coherent route to qualifications for youth work in partnership with Educators Wales (EW), there is evidence that youth work services are not currently using the site, which needs addressing.   

Officials are in early discussion with the Welsh Government’s central communications team to explore what support might be available to help encourage people into the youth work profession. Board members encouraged a consideration of the tendency for the route into youth work to be via youth work itself. Concern was raised about the need to address the lack of opportunities in the sector before running any recruitment campaigns, specific point raised around the importance of encouraging Welsh Government community based initiatives to carry a requirement for employing youth workers.

A new Head of Branch will shortly be joining the Youth Engagement Branch.

Definition of youth work

Board members felt that the Principles and Purposes document had to be the starting point of defining youth work in legislation. The overriding ambition is to protect the youth work profession and the funding available for youth work services. Board members shared the importance of a focus on young people’s rights and entitlements, placing a duty to deliver a service to all young people (based on a population needs analysis) in partnership with the third sector.

Board members consider new legislation is required, rather than adapting existing legislation. Reference was made to the Social Services and Well-being Act and its whole system approach, e.g. how can we create “whole system thinking” about what a young person needs in and out of school.

Community schools

Suzanne Sarjeant presented information to the Board about the development of a community schools framework, which will aim to help tackle the impact of poverty on attainment. SS outlined that this would be focused on pulling together the different spheres of influence in children and young people’s lives including their families and the wider community. She highlighted that this would be a whole school approach with opportunities to encourage leadership from within families and communities to best support young people. She outlined that the framework would be based around three key elements, family engagement, community hub and a multi-agency hub, building on existing structures. Additionally she noted that there would be new roles for a family engagement officer and a community schools manager to oversee this work.

Board members asked about the types of job description the posts would hold and if the Joint Negotiating Committee (JNC) youth and community qualifications would be relevant and provided an example of a similar role from Northern Ireland of the youth tutor. They also asked to ensure when developing the framework consideration would be given to those who are care experienced and the role of the corporate parent.

Action: Share Suzanne’s contact details with the Board and forward copies to the presentation.

Welsh language pilots: PO

Paul O’Neill provided an update on the progress with the Welsh language pilots. He advised that he has been working with Ceredigion to consider the shared learning. He outlined the different approaches taken in each area, one with a strong Welsh language workforce and one with very limited staff who spoke Welsh. He also highlighted that the pilot in Caerphilly had not been able to run to plan because of Covid-related issues.

PO outlined that they had undertaken a number of consultations to learn more about their staff in terms of Welsh language usage, and young people’s wants/needs in terms of Welsh language services. He advised that the way in which they were asking the questions had changed to better understand the way in which people were using their language skills rather than a simple scale of whether they speak Welsh. Additionally, it was initially thought that young people did not want to speak Welsh outside of school but they are finding that they do, however they do not know how to access Welsh language services, or the services are not available for them.

PO outlined that through the in depth analysis they are understanding that some young people are put off by the formal nature of learning Welsh in schools, and there was some discussion about the changes to the new curriculum and if less formal methodologies of teaching could help with this.

EGJ who chairs the Welsh Language group thanked PO for the work he has done on this, and indicated she welcomed his observations.

Leadership and management training: SD and EC

Steve Drowley provide an overview of the development process of the Leadership and Management training highlighting that the course will be endorsed by NAEL. SD outlined that there was an evaluation from the course participants and overall the feedback had been positive, with good feedback to help any changes needed.

Emma Chivers highlighted that from a tutor perspective she would also make changes to better understand the starting point and aims of attending of those who undertake this training ahead of it starting.

SD advised they are currently working with Cardiff Metropolitan University to assign 20 credits at masters level to the course, and they are looking at how this training can be an integral part of the framework. Endorsement from NAEL may be achieved by June.

SD further outlined that there was demand for the course, the feedback had been positive and he asked the Board to support further iterations of the course.

DR advised that the course would need to be evaluated and the Welsh Government would need to consider the results of that evaluation ahead of any future funding decisions being taken.

Transition planning to the implementation Board

KT suggested that the next Board meeting presents a good opportunity to meet with and have a handover discussion to the Chair of the new Implementation Board, if the appointment process is complete by then.

Statement on accessible and inclusive youth work: KT

KT asked Board members if they were happy to approve the statement on accessible and inclusive youth work, for it to be shared with the sector.  

Board members agreed for the statement to be shared and questioned whether the statement could be made available in different formats, including a Young Persons version.

Action: Youth Engagement Branch to distribute the approved statement to the sector.