As part of this module on youth, today we are going to look at current youth initiatives in the UK. Some of which are more successful than others, I must say. The last government spent a lot of money on setting up initiatives that sadly have been left in desperate need of funding since the new government has come into power.
Firstly, volunteering schemes are incredibly successful in the UK. These schemes are cheap to run, which is a huge benefit. In addition to this, the schemes are community based. This means that the benefits are spread widely throughout each local community. The uptake has doubled in the last ten years and I believe this is an area where more focus should be placed.
Secondly, sports clubs are a huge youth initiative, with more than 20,000 emerging in the last ten years in England alone. Although the numbers are very positive, these schemes are expensive to staff. If these are to continue to flourish, this area w ill need a significant cash injection.
Lastly, there are a certain number of drama clubs that have emerged in the last ten years. Although it was thought that these would be hugely popular, they have actually attracted only sm all numbers of students. Moreover, they are costly, and finding a venue for such clubs has proved difficult as many local halls are running at capacity. As a result of these factors, these clubs are not likely to continue in the long term.
To conclude, as we can see, some of the schemes are flourishing, yet many are short of money and other essential resources. In order to enhance the youth experience, the government must identify new schemes which are cost effective, yet enjoyable to teens.
So, what other initiatives could the government focus on? Well, due to the success of the sports clubs, new ‘open spaces’ initiatives are being discussed, for example football tournaments in local playing fields or athletics days in local parks. This could regenerate local areas and renew interest in activities for young people. Staffing would s till be necessary, although young people
could take an active role in organizing and managing competitions. This could cut down staff costs significantly.
In addition to the open spaces scheme, there has been discussion of reinvigorating the ‘taste of work’ scheme, which gives young people a chance to get work experience in a variety of jobs in their school holidays. However, this scheme has met with harsh criticism from some politicians who think that it’s a way of providing a free workforce by stealth. In fact, I think it is fair to say
that this scheme w ill not see any renewed interest because of these criticisms.
Lastly, the scheme that there has been a lot of talk about is the outward bound activities courses, or OBAC for short. This has been successful in many other countries, such as Canada, Mexico and Brazil. The activity courses give young people a chance to get out into the countryside and enjoy nature. As a result of this, they also give teens a chance to learn life skills and experience adventure on a broader scale.