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Lauren

Lauren Oliver

Year of Award: 2016 Award State: Victoria Social Welfare > Children Care And Protection
To improve our ability to nurture the participation, knowledge and potential of vulnerable young people - UK, USA, Nicaragua
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Recommendations

Further to the work I have outlined above, I perceived some gaps in our knowledge and our practice in Australia that I believe need attention:

  1. Research: I have not come across any research that seeks to understand what value lived experience has in helping us to ‘do better’ across the board. This is not to say it doesn’t exist, but in the area of youth work I am unaware of it. Research that clearly demonstrates how lived experience benefits (or impacts generally) community development and social change outcomes would offer fantastic evidence to argue the importance of the work.
  2. Youth Work: As a profession youth work has suffered under funding cuts and a broad lack of value for young people themselves and thus for the sector that supports them. It is, frankly, too easy to qualify as a youth worker via certificate courses that don’t hold students to high standards. They certainly don’t dig deep into motivations or encourage self-insight, let alone address the role of these things in good youth engagement. An overhaul of the qualifications is necessary as part of a broader increase of investment and support for youth work.
  3. Youth Study Tour: I have been hugely fortunate to have been able to undertake my Churchill Fellowship, but given my subject matter I was confronted more than once by a sense of hypocrisy that it was me and not a young person or group of young people travelling to meet with other young people to share experiences and learn from one another. I have ambitions to make this happen myself, but if someone takes it up before me, I’d be very happy to support it.
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