GHWY commissions youth voice projects

Youth Work Unit Yorkshire and Humber (YWU Y&H) is delivering two youth voice projects on behalf of GHWY. 

Working with young people who identify as disabled/having a specific learning difficulty and refugee and asylum-seeking young people, it is conducting a youth consultation to explore views on Higher Education (HE). It is also running a social action project, where participants can raise awareness of the value of HE in their communities. 

The circumstances of these two groups are lesser understood within HE and little pre-existing engagement has taken place. It is hoped that the work will enhance an applied understanding of them and will feed into a collaborative framework approach that GHWY is currently developing to engage with and support young people who identify with certain characteristics under-represented in HE. 

Early findings from the project found that a number of refugees and asylum seekers felt they should prioritise paid work to give something back to the country that took them in, rather than progression to HE. Some young people regarded HE as a luxury that would only be considered once financial independence had been achieved.  

Other perceived barriers to HE include confusion over qualifications, language skill concerns, and access uncertainties. The services the young refugees work with do not always regard HE as a priority and may not be able to provide guidance in relation to this. 

It also found that there are a lot of gatekeepers preventing contact with young people with learning difficulties due to safeguarding concerns. Some young people spoke about their experience of attending (special) school and many voiced concerns about leaving that environment, where support is available. From these early findings, it seems that fear can be a real barrier to young people who identify as disabled or having a specific learning difficulty. 

A final report into the project and its findings will be published over the Summer. 

The YWU Y&H is a regional infrastructure organisation that supports the youth sector and provides a strategic lead through the provision of information, advice and practical regional coordination. It coordinates a range of networks for youth sector providers, enabling the development and sharing of good practice and to offer support.