Wednesday, May 20, 2009

South Ostrobothnia Folk High School (Thu 14.05.09 am)

THE MOG BLOG continues...

So, after the JIBBO centre, we moved on to the folk high school, about five minutes away:

A really impressive building and grounds, especially in the lovely weather!

This is a private (fee paying) school that offers a vocational youth work qualification. This qualification is free and is recognised as a national youth work qualification in youth work.

The training is very much "on the job", so if anyone is considering providing a placement for a worker, this is the place to start.

I won't go into too much detail as to the programmes on offer here as all the info you need can be found using the link above. However, if you're interested in offering a placement to Finnish students just get in touch with me.

For me, the really intersting point that came out of this visit was around age. The course is aimed at 14-19 year olds and Satu (Teacher, Educational Subjects) expressed some concern at people of this age choosing a career who's main area of work is aimed at themselves.

In Wales, with the development and introsduction of the degree course in youth and community work, there may well be a similar issue as we see more and more young people choosing youth work as a career option withouht, perhaps, the experience to back it up.

As Satu expressed, it can be difficult for younger people to fully appreciate a youth work situation without relevant, professional experience. The paralell here in Wales can often mean there is a disparity between those with the experience and insight and those with the qualification.

Another point that junps out at me from this is the inclusion (and once again the mutual exclusivity) of youth work as part of the wider vocation of information work. Here in Wales, it is often the case that workers are given the guidelines and mantra of youth work as to "offer information, advice and guidance" without necessarily investigating and exploring the implications and reach of "information".

Of course there are arguments on both sides and the very fact that a national qualification that raises the profile of youth work is by no means the least important. However, I certainly feel that there is always room for reflection and actoion based on that reflection in order to improve the quality of our services.

I hope this is a discussion that will go on.

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