From SWAP / Practical Participation

04 April 2011

Skills for Youth Work in a Digital Age

This workshop provided an opportunity for academics, educators, managers and practitioners involved in Youth Work to identify the key skills needed by youth workers in an age when young people’s lives are increasingly mediated through digital technology, social media and social networks.

As part of the Youth Work Online Month of Action -

The workshop explored:

  • Prioritising digital skills - understanding how digital technology affects young people’s lives, working out how it changes the contexts and challenges of youth work, and identifying new forms of youth work practice using digital tools could fill whole degree courses - but in most cases, time to teach about digital youth work is limited. Through dialogue between workshop participants we identified priority skills for different settings.
  • Approaches to education - with digital technologies and online landscapes changing so rapidly, what approaches work to educate and equip workers with the skills they need? What are the current gaps in education provision? What are the existing resources available? Where are the critical perspectives on digital technology and youth work? This element of the workshop explored ideas and strategies for digital education for youth workers.
  • Resources, opportunities, challenges and collaboration potential - the delegates mapped out existing resources to support education and training around digital dimensions of youth work, and explored current opportunities and challenges to bring digital skills and knowledge into the mainstream of youth work training and education. We hope the workshop provided opportunities for participants to identify collaboration opportunities for taking forward actions to address current gaps.

The workshop will be written up in a short report, and video interviews and reflective blog posts based on the workshop will be shared as part of the Youth Work Online Month of Action Website.

Get involved:

The workshop is open to:

  • Teachers and lecturers on Youth Work and related courses;
  • Academics with an interest in youth work;
  • Leaders and managers of youth services;
  • Practitioners active in promoting digital dimensions of youth work;


Draft Programme
10.00 - 10.30 Arrivals and Refreshments
10.30 - 11.00

Welcome and Introductions

A chance for participants to share their interest in digital skills training and education for youth sector professionals.

11.00 - 11.30

Where are we now? Where do we want to be?

Mapping current resources for equipping practitioners with skills for practice in a digital age, and identifying the challenges and opportunities for developing educational opportunities further.

11.30 - 12.30


Input from key speakers sharing their experiences of promoting digital awareness amongst practitioners:

  • Sangeet Bhullar, WISE Kids - on experiences of running training programmes across a range of youth-sector professional groupings in Wales.
  • Jackie Rafferty - speaking on including digital skills within academic courses
  • Tim Davies - exploring where digital youth work skills could fit within professional qualification frameworks

Each speaker will provide a short input followed by facilitated discussion.

12.30 - 13.15 Lunch and refreshments
13.15 - 14.00

Priority setting

Exercise exploring the most important skills, knowledge and experience for practitioners to possess for working in different contexts. (Idea generation; Post-it note activity; Clustering of ideas and/or dot-voting and discussion)

14.00 - 14.45

Moving forward

Discussions on the ways to respond to the priorities and needs we have identified. (Either full group discussion or small table discussion groups).

14.45 - 15.00

Next steps and close

Agreeing any next steps and ways to continue dialogue.

 Venue and Directions

This event was held in Room 58/4121, Murray Building, University of Southampton.  Maps and directions.


Booking for this event has now closed.


For further information

Please contact

Participation will be free. Limited travel bursaries may be available.


What is the Youth Work Online Month of Action?

Youth Work Online is an online community of practitioners exploring digital dimensions of work with young people - from how to use Facebook to promote positive activities, through to how digital media affects young people’s lives on a day to day basis. Youth Work Online emerged out of an annual unConference. The Month of Action is a new development in the run up to the 2011 unConference - co-ordinated by Tim Davies with support from the Nominet Trust UnLtd Better Net Awards. 


Youth Work Online and the month of action are run on an entirely voluntary basis with sponsorship from Practical Participation. 






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