I was recently asked by a couple of people how I came to use the handle ‘Youthworkable’ so I thought I might share the answer with others too…
It was a distant time, in a place far from whence I currently roam. I was in a meeting with lots of other youth workers and some senior managers discussing the provision in a certain patch of our town. It’s fair to say that the behaviour of this one group of young people had been challenging and what was being proposed was that we stopped working with them altogether because we’d get more work done with more people elsewhere.
So, I can get behind the utilitarian logic of sharing our limited youth work resources amongst a greater number of other young people. Also, it wasn’t my strategic decision to make; this senior manager was telling us this is what we should do and as a relative newbie, as I was then, I’d have gone along with it.
…But!! They went so far as to say that this group of young people were “un-youthworkable”.
It wasn’t myself that spoke first but the whole room started getting rather upset at the term as we all came together to defend the young people in question. We turned over the senior manager’s decision and continued to give support to the group.
It was at that time that I knew I was in the right profession, and the term always stuck in my mind. And like me – it’s a little obscure when removed from context.