What we do
Connecting the youth sector
Through our networks and contacts we understand the youth sector in the region well, and can bring together different organisations to share practice and build on the quality. Our experience of partnership building and our knowledge of the youth sector means we can support organisations to develop partnership and collaborative approaches that can meet the needs of local young people.
We use our networks and regular communications with the field to inform people of developments, encourage West Midlands-based organisations to benefit from initiatives, and support local partnerships of youth organisations.
Influencing policy and practice
Youth Focus West Midlands use our knowledge and connections to local youth organisations and our strong links with national youth organisations and policy makers in government departments to enable voices from the West Midlands to be heard as policy and initiatives are developed. Through the Network of Regional Youth Work Units; England we have a voice for the region on national bodies. We have regular calls and meetings with national organisations and civil servants and politicians and regularly comment on strategic developments before publication. This is a valuable resource for the region that relies on maintaining strong links with our local youth work sector.
Strategic Youth Leads
A pivotal element of our work to connect, inform and influence quality youth work with young people is our Strategic Leads group. This regular network brings together key individuals with strategic lead roles from across the region to share experiences and opportunities and support consistent and collaborative approaches and strategy across the West Midlands.
YFWM convenes a strategic regional Youth Voice group which currently brings together lead professionals from WMCA, WMOPPC,VRU,WMCS, BYC and the Strategic Youth Leads or representatives.
It’s purpose is to:
* Develop a strategic overview of youth voice activity across the region
* Promote collaboration across all members and networks; share information, research, opportunities, good practice and expertise
In order to:
* Create greater synergy and promote key messages resulting from youth voice activity in the region
Training and Workforce Development for Youth Workers
YFWM is an ABC nationally approved centre for youth work training, we and our associate trainers design, deliver and assess ABC Level 2 and Level 3 qualifying courses. We have supported the roll out and delivery of the national bursaries programme which provides organisations with opportunities for youth support workers to achieve those qualifications.
We design and deliver training for youth workers on particular issues, such as youth
loneliness, measuring impact, participation, equalities and more, often working collaboratively with other national, regional and local organisations.
There are further training opportunities available through our partnership of regional youth work training units.
Quality, impact and youth work practice
In partnership with the Centre for Youth Impact we co-ordinate the West Midlands Youth Impact Network which provides information, training and advice to youth organisations about ways of measuring and reporting on the impact of their work. We also provide bespoke support to youth organisations in the West Midlands who face challenges in developing a quality youth work offer to young people.
The West Midlands Youth Impact Network meets 3 times a year, usually with a focus on a particular topic related to impact and outcomes of youth work. Members share their own experiences of ways of measuring and reflecting on impact, and benefit from learning from each other and from inputs from Centre for Youth Impact and other ‘impact experts’. The group is open to youth work providers, commissioners, funders and researchers, and welcomes new members.