NUI Galway Researchers in Innovative Collaboration with Youth Workers

Mar 06 2014 Posted: 14:35 GMT

Meeting in Sligo examines research demonstrating that youth work engagement is of considerable benefit to young people

The Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway is engaging with youth workers in the community as part of a two-way dialogue between academic researchers and youth work practitioners.   A forum entitled ‘Research & Practice Talking’ held in Sligo this week provided an opportunity to share and discuss findings of research into youth work undertaken by NUI Galway among Foróige services over recent years and to highlight innovative programmes and projects that may be incorporated into future research programmes and wider practice. 

The forum heard that youth work resulted in greater knowledge and skills in key areas for young people as well as increased confidence and self-belief.  Youth work was seen to bring a greater sense of connection to community for young people and provides opportunities for them to contribute positively to their communities. 

NUI Galway Professor Pat Dolan, UNESCO Chair in Children, Youth and Civic Engagement said "Given the available research, across Ireland, we are in a greater position now to get youth engagement right.  It’s no longer just about getting it done."

Dr Bernadine Brady, also of the of the UNESCO Child & Family Research Centre and School of Political Science & Sociology said “ there is now a compelling body of research evidence that youth work makes a difference in people’s lives."

Susan Redmond, Manager of the Foróige Best Practice Unit, said ‘We have developed a strong working relationship with NUI Galway; they have assisted us in evaluating our programmes which yields great learning and also confidence in what we do. Our work has also had a wider impact on our staff and the young people they work with. Staff are more critical in their work, they employ self-evaluation tools and they use evidence to inform the work they do. Ultimately, the young people benefit from this kind of engagement as it means richer and higher quality youth work develops”. 

The UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at the NUI Galway is based in the School of Political Science and Sociology. Founded with support from The Atlantic Philanthropies and the Health Services Executive, the Centre undertakes research, education and training in the area of Family Support and Youth Development with an emphasis on prevention and early intervention for children and young people experiencing adversity.

Foróige is a national youth organisation whose programmes are supported by a wide range of sources including the DCYA, HSE, Department of Justice and philanthropy.

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