Youth Work

Youth work usually refers to services and provision for young people, established via relationships between youth workers and young people themselves. It is often centered around ideas of empowerment, participation and development. Below are some links to research and resources on youth work in a variety of historical and geographical contexts. Whilst some debates around youth work are covered under the ‘non-formal education’ page, the following relate explicitly to ‘youth work’.

The History of Youth Work in Europe (Vol I-III)

These three edited volumes are an excellent resource bringing together historical accounts of youth work in a variety of European countries that also reflect on lessons for contemporary policy and practice. They can be purchased here or the first two volumes are available as pdfs via a google search. On a related note, one of the editors Filip Coussee has a 2011 presentation on the ‘history of youth work’ viewable here.

Youth & Policy

The articles in this scholarly journal are free to view and download as PDFs and bring together research on youth work and wider issues surrounding youth in a number of international contexts. There are also free Kindle versions and e-reader (epub) versions.

New Directions for Student Leadership (formerly New Directions for Youth and Development)

This scholarly journal presents a special issue on Transforming Youth Organizations to Support Healthy Youth Development (2013). Within this, the article below focuses on youth organizations in the context of positive youth development:

VeLure Roholt, R., Baizerman, M., Rana, S. and Korum, K. (2013) Missing in the youth development literature: The organization as host, cage and promise. New Directions for Youth Development, 139: 13-26.

History of Youth & Community Work Conference Proceedings

In collaboration with Youth & Policy, papers from a series of conferences on the History of Youth & Community Work have been published as edited collections.  A number of back-issues are now out of print, but further details on purchasing the latest volumes can be found here.

National Youth Agency (UK)

The NYA supports youth workers in the UK and publishes a magazine The Edge’ for the wider youth sector.  They also have a Young Researchers Network that encourages and trains young people aged 11-25 to engage in research projects and evaluations.  A series of research reports are available through the resource library here.

Youth Work Wales

not-for profit site supported by the YMCA Wales Community College and University of Wales Trinity Saint David that regularly uploads resources relating to youth work practice.  These contain both contemporary and historical insights and relate primarily to the Youth Service in Wales.  An excellent resource base.

Youth Work in Wales: Principles and Practices

This bilingual booklet (2013) outlines the key principles which underpin youth work.  Whilst specifically discussing youth work in Wales, it contains some wider relevant information for those wishing to find out more about youth work and its related practices.

London Youth

A support network for over 400 youth organisations in London who deliver a variety of programmes across the city. The resources section also provides links to London Youth publications, including articles regarding the impact on London youth of the 2011 London riots.

Academic Research and Collections

The following resources are based on academic research, often in collaboration with practitioners.  Most of the links are free online PDFs, but others are available via Google Books

  • S. Bunt (1975) Jewish Youth Work: Past, Present and Future London: Bedford Square Press
  • B. Davies (1999a) From Voluntaryism to Welfare State. A history of the Youth Service in England. Volume 1: 1939 – 1979 Leicester: Youth Work Press
  • B. Davies (1999b) From Thatcherism to New Labour. A history of the Youth Service in England. Volume 2: 1979 – 1999 Leicester: Youth Work Press
  • J. Spence and C.A. Devanney (2006) Youth Work: Voices of Practice Leicester: National Youth Agency
  • K. Young (2006) The art of youth work Lyme Regis: Russell House
  • J. Batsleer (2008) Informal Learning in Youth Work. London: SAGE Publications
  • Hope, M., Russell, K. and Cooper, C. (2011). Empowerment and Participation in Youth Work. London: SAGE Publications