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Youth work conference lights path to professionalisation

18 February 2016

A line-up of experts has been announced for the second Commonwealth conference dedicated to youth development work, to be held in Pretoria, South Africa from 8 to 10 March.

Some 50 renowned Commonwealth and global speakers, including leading youth work academics, practitioners and policy makers, are to deliver speeches and presentations at the event, which is the foremost youth work forum of its kind.

Hon. J.T. Radebe, Minister in the Presidency for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation will welcome delegates to the conference, which this year will explore the theme, “Engaging Young People in Nation Building – The Youth Worker’s Role.”

Commenting on the value of the event, Hon. J.T. Radebe said, “This conference has quickly become regarded as the preeminent symposium for knowledge creation, sharing, and intellectual reflection on youth work anywhere in the world.”

Conference speakers will offer their perspectives on supportive legislative and policy environments for the profession, and advocate for greater professionalisation of the sector, as well as share good practice case studies. Keynote speeches will include:

  • Mduduzi Manana (South Africa’s Deputy Minister for Higher Education and Training) will argue that “supporting education and training of youth workers is our business.”
  • Miguel “Steppa” Williams from Jamaica (Caribbean region winner of the Commonwealth Youth Worker of the Year 2015) will address delegates on “the role of youth work in building cohesive nations.”
  • Gideon Sam (Commonwealth Games Federation and President, South African Sports Federation and Olympic Committee) will explore the role of youth work in the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Commonwealth Deputy Secretary-General, Deodat Maharaj, will also be in attendance at the event, underlining the Commonwealth’s commitment to youth work and development.

Highlighting the fact that youth work paves the way for constructive thinking, action, and positive social relations, as well as national and global development, Mr Maharaj said, “The Commonwealth sees young people as personifying the vibrant hope and potential of any society.

“The Commonwealth has been a pioneer in advocating for youth work education and training, and professionalising youth work for the past 40 years. We will continue to advocate for the professionalisation of youth work to ensure that it commands the policy status it requires. The Commonwealth will continue to give youth workers the recognition and respect they richly deserve”, Mr Maharaj continued.

The conference’s advocacy for the professional recognition of youth work will be based on papers and discussions that provide some answers to questions such as:

  1. Is the impact of youth work being strategically thought of in terms of contributions to national and global development?
  2. Why should countries invest in youth work?
  3. What evidence exists that shows linkages between youth work successes and national development?
Further information about the event and registration details
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