A Voice for Young People: Identifying the need for online information, advice and guidance through dialogue


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YouthNet Breakfast Seminar, March 18 2010

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  • Read statsface a wide range of problems. Problems often relatedYN is uniquely placed to help through………Sarah
  • A Voice for Young People: Identifying the need for online information, advice and guidance through dialogue

    1. 1. A Voice for Young People: Identifying the need for online information, advice and guidance through dialogue<br />Thursday 18th March<br />
    2. 2. Today’s presentations:<br />Young People’s Access to AdviceJames Kenrick, Advice Services Manager, Youth Access<br />A voice for young people: Identifying the need for online information, advice and guidance through dialogue<br /> Sarah McCoy MSc, Research Manager, YouthNet<br />YouthNet’s Life Support Appeal<br />Julie Reynolds, Head of Appeal Development, YouthNet<br />4. Question & Answer session<br />Led by Fiona Dawe OBE, YouthNet<br />
    3. 3. Engaging, informing and inspiring <br />16 to 25-year-olds<br />
    4. 4. Each month, TheSite.org helps over<br />500,000 people access vital: <br />Information…<br />Support…<br />Advice…<br />...via no-nonsense<br />…from peers via<br />…from experts via<br />fact sheets<br />discussion boards<br />askTheSite<br />
    5. 5. Young People’s Access to Advice <br />on Social Welfare Issues<br />James Kenrick<br />Advice Services Development Manager<br />Youth Access<br />YouthNet Seminar, 18/03/10<br />
    6. 6. Youth Access<br />The national membership association for young people’s information, advice, counselling and support services (YIACS)<br />Over 200 members throughout UK<br />National policy focus for sector<br />Set standards and promote best practice<br />Provide training, support, consultancy, resources<br />Develop the evidence-base<br />
    7. 7. Our Research<br />Topics: advice needs, access, outcomes, impact, workforce, impact of recession etc.<br />Scope: social welfare advice; ages 13-25; all modes of delivery<br />Methods: literature reviews; focus groups; interviews with agencies; analysis of data from Civil & Social Justice Survey<br />
    8. 8. Extent of unmet need<br />Each year, young people<br /><ul><li>experience at least 2.3 million ‘difficult to solve’ social welfare problems
    9. 9. fail to obtain advice in relation to at least 1.3 million problems</li></ul>Many more get poor advice<br />The cost to individuals and the public purse*<br />= c. £1 billion a year<br />*as a result of loss of employment, physical and stress-related illness and violent behaviour resulting from the stress of problems<br />Sources: Research by YA with LSRC based on 2006-08 CSJS data; Estimate by JustRights campaign based on Ministry of Justice figures<br />
    10. 10. YP’s Advice Needs <br />Needs change with age<br />Prone to multiple & severe problems<br />Problems cluster around disadvantaged YP<br />Close inter-relationship between legal, personal, practical & emotional issues<br />Need for holistic age-appropriate services <br />Big increase in demand due to recession<br />
    11. 11. Seeking & obtaining advice<br /><ul><li>YP are more likely to: take no action, delay, give up, try but fail to get advice
    12. 12. 58% face problems without getting advice
    13. 13. YP are twice as likely to be unsuccessful in obtaining advice when they seek it as adults
    14. 14. Of YP seeking advice, nearly half are NEETs
    15. 15. Early advice-seeking experiences highly influential on future behaviour</li></li></ul><li>Sources of Advice - key characteristics sought<br /><ul><li>Trustworthy, friendly, non judgemental
    16. 16. Specialist service for YP only
    17. 17. Where YP already go
    18. 18. Informal, flexible & confidential
    19. 19. Independent – voluntary sector preferred
    20. 20. An ‘expert with clout’ who will ‘go the extra mile’ </li></li></ul><li>Modes of Access<br />Strong preference for Face to face advice <br />YP less likely to use Telephone<br />Internet:<br />YP less likely to use for advice than adults – but growing in importance<br />Disadvantaged YP less likely to have access<br />Complements face to face – not a replacement<br />YP have problems finding sites they can trust<br />Independent, youth-focussed sites preferred<br />Rapid developments in technology – need for specialist approach<br />
    21. 21. Barriers to Access <br />Young people’s problem-solving ability -awareness of rights & services, communication skills, confidence & persistence, psychological barriers etc.<br />Characteristics of ‘mainstream’ adult advice services, e.g. CABx –lack of focus on meeting YP’s specific needs, skills/attitudes/knowledge gaps<br />Skills of youth professionals –lack ability to spot problems/limits of competence, advice & advocacy skills<br />Policy & planning failures –youth policy too careers-focussed; advice policy adult-focussed; lack of joining up; recession planning <br />
    22. 22. Recommendations<br />A joined-up Government strategy for planning & funding youth advice – DCSF, MoJ, CLG, DH, DWP<br />A national strategy to develop YP’s ‘legal capability’ / problem-solving skills<br />Joined-up local planning & commissioning – Integrated Youth Support, Advice Services, Housing, PCTs, JobCentre Plus<br />Review balance of funding:<br />careers IAG vs rights-based advice services<br />remote vs face to face services<br />independent vs statutory services<br />Develop competence of youth workforce to provide good advice – new qualification?<br />
    23. 23. Recent Reports<br />The Advice Needs of Young People – The Evidence (2009)<br />Young People’s Access to Advice – The Evidence (2009)<br />With Rights In Mind (2010) – re mental health/advice <br />The Impact of the Recession (2009)<br />The Youth Advice Workforce: Now & In The Future (2009)<br />Rights within Reach (2009) – re outreach advice<br />(All available at www.youthaccess.org.uk/publications) <br />Forthcoming titles in 2010:<br />Under Strain – re impact of recession, funding & policy <br />The Outcomes of Youth Advice Work <br />
    24. 24. A VOICE FOR YOUNG PEOPLE:<br />Identifying the need for online <br />information, advice and guidance <br />through dialogue<br />Sarah McCoy<br />Research Manager<br />
    25. 25. What we’ll cover…<br /><ul><li>The background and methodology of the study
    26. 26. Introducing the young people
    27. 27. Information and advice-seeking behaviour
    28. 28. The role of the internet
    29. 29. What makes a good website for young people?
    30. 30. A voice for young people: In their own words</li></li></ul><li>Background of the study…<br /><ul><li>LifeSupport Appeal: TheSite.org redevelopment
    31. 31. What do young people want and need from information, advice and guidance online and offline?
    32. 32. Funding from the European Commission though Youth in Action programme
    33. 33. Eight workshops with 62 young people from diverse backgrounds around the UK not currently using TheSite.org</li></li></ul><li>The workshops…<br /><ul><li>Pre-tasks
    34. 34. Disposable camera
    35. 35. Technology diary
    36. 36. Difficult situations
    37. 37. Getting support
    38. 38. Internet use
    39. 39. Website reviews
    40. 40. Recommendations</li></li></ul><li>The young people…<br />Highly active internet users: London<br />Rural Scotland: Outskirts of Glasgow<br />Ex-offenders and drug/alcohol abusers: Liverpool<br />Gay and lesbian young people: Manchester<br />No further education: Newcastle<br />Young parents: Bridgend<br />Rural England: Pensford (nr. Bristol)<br />Ethnic minority young women: London<br />
    41. 41. Highly active internet users: London<br /><ul><li>Wrote at least one blog, were members of at least one social networking site, and participated in at least two other content-sharing activities
    42. 42. Few life-concerns not linked to careers or education
    43. 43. Struggled to find adequate support and feared for others who might have less determination and ambition
    44. 44. Animated and opinionated when discussing the internet</li></ul>“For me, I just think that at school, when I finished my A-levels, it was really concentrated on people going to university. And I didn’t want to go to university, so there wasn’t much to do with that. It just seemed to me, everyone was going to university – they kind of forgot the people who wanted to work instead.” (Diana, 18)<br />
    45. 45. Ex-offenders and drug or alcohol abusers: Liverpool<br /><ul><li> The young people were in various stages of recovery – all were in some form of treatment
    46. 46. Interlocking issues: mental health, poverty, domestic abuse, self-harm, depression
    47. 47. Felt neglected, ignored and mistreated by most support services
    48. 48. Limited access to the internet, especially in throes of addiction
    49. 49. Eager to use their own experiences to help others</li></ul>“I ended up on heroin. I was a sex worker to feed my addiction. But it’s only been, like, since being in recovery, that I’ve been clean. Just over 12 months. And I want to use my experiences to help other people. And I’d love to work in the care system, but I’ve got a criminal record. And it’d be like, I want to work with homeless people, street workers, vulnerable women and stuff. And I know I can do that, but with a criminal record I couldn’t be with kids or anything like that. It’s only if you’re drink or drug related stuff. But I’ve been in prison and stuff. But I want to use my experiences to help other kids..” (Carla, 24)<br />
    50. 50. Gay and lesbian young people: Manchester<br /><ul><li>Participants were from a close-knit community and several knew each other well
    51. 51. The group struggled to think of times they had needed support and focused on career- related decisions
    52. 52. Only one mention of ‘coming out’
    53. 53. The young people felt their lifestyles were very different to those of their heterosexual counterparts and this justified dedicated support services
    54. 54. Experiences in rural locations may differ</li></ul>“My problem was that when it was time to go to college, I still had no idea what I wanted to do. So I just went and did a random course and quit. But back a year later, I did exactly the same thing.” (Karen, 20)<br />
    55. 55. Rural South West England: Pensford (nr. Bristol)<br /><ul><li>All the young people were from the same school in a very small, close community
    56. 56. There were experiences of a wide range of issues – the recession mentioned for the first time
    57. 57. Participants were incredibly supportive of one another and used few other advice sources
    58. 58. It was felt there was a lack of support for people their age and that young people in rural locations are somewhat isolated</li></ul>“There’s quite a few family problems on my Dad’s side. As in, there was a couple of deaths in the family in quite close proximity. And then the recession came, and my parents were struggling for money. So they had to cut back on quite a lot of stuff that I was used to. ” (Michael, 16)<br />
    59. 59. Ethnic minority young women: London<br /><ul><li>Most difficult to engage in conversation
    60. 60. Focused on career-related issues, but had experience of family conflict, crime, homelessness and drugs
    61. 61. The young women did not mention their ethnicity before prompting, implying they did not see their background as having a significant impact on their lives
    62. 62. It was felt that ethnic minorities are underrepresented online and that there should be more positive role models for young people</li></ul>“Basically, I had a boyfriend who wanted me to hold illegal stuff in my house – things that were stolen. And in a way, I felt I owed my boyfriend a favour. But I didn’t want to do it, because I didn’t want to get my mum in trouble. And I didn’t know what to do, because I was stuck in between.” (Aesha, 16)<br />
    63. 63. ‘Rural’ Scotland: Outskirts of Glasgow<br /><ul><li>Participants were suspicious of us as London-based researchers
    64. 64. All but one of those over 16 had dropped out of education without clear plans
    65. 65. Most felt education was less important than experience when finding work
    66. 66. Money (or lack of it) was a top-of-mind issue for all, and the impact of the recession had been acutely felt
    67. 67. There was a lack of enthusiasm for leaving Scotland or their local area
    68. 68. The young people felt UK services were target at England and felt neglected</li></ul>“It’s gradual, and then a big dip with the recession. But also, you hear about people who are leaving university and then not getting jobs anyway. The people I knew who were going to university and thinking, “Oh yeah, I’ll definitely get a job when I’ve finished”, even they’re not getting anything. So why were they even studying?” (Simon, 18)<br />
    69. 69. No further education: Newcastle<br /><ul><li>In contrast to other groups, there were few mentions of education and career-relate issues
    70. 70. Concerns centred around money, unemployment, housing and debt
    71. 71. Most felt that finding work is about ‘who you know not what you know’ and were sceptical about education
    72. 72. Most would return to education if they could but felt they lack the resources and support needed to do so</li></ul>“You don’t know where your next job’s from at the minute, you’ve just got to take what you can get. You’re losing [contracts] all the time. At the minute, you’re working for next to nothing, to try and undercut the other person, because they’re all doing the same. The companies, obviously, they can get credit. But if you can’t get the credit because of things that happened, there’s no way that you can do it.” (Craig, 25)<br />
    73. 73. Young parents: Bridgend<br /><ul><li> Several of the young people had their children (aged between 4 months and 8 years) before they were 18
    74. 74. The main concern for most was financial and there were several stories of debt and ‘money-struggles’
    75. 75. When pregnancy was discovered, speaking to family and friends was considered difficult and ‘embarrassing’
    76. 76. The young people felt patronised by doctors, hospitals and midwives
    77. 77. They made good use of the internet for child-related information</li></ul>“Like, really horrible. Like… I don’t know, it’s just nasty… Like, you’re… How can I put it? Because of your age, you’re just treated really different? And, like you can’t cope on your own and stuff. It’s really horrible.” (Rosie, 17)<br />
    78. 78. Help-seeking behaviour…<br />Personal support sources<br />Formal support services<br />Impersonal sources of support<br />
    79. 79. Personal support services<br />Parents<br />Friends<br />Teachers<br />“They know you, don’t they?” - a double-edged sword<br />Pros<br />Cons<br /><ul><li> Bias and control
    80. 80. Only consider what’s best from ‘their’ perspective
    81. 81. Lack of knowledge about ‘specialist subjects’
    82. 82. No good for ‘embarrassing’ subjects
    83. 83. An insider’s perspective
    84. 84. Useful for issues where the reactions or mindset of the young person is important (e.g. careers or relationships)
    85. 85. Best interests at heart
    86. 86. Life experience (e.g. finance)</li></li></ul><li>Formal support services<br />Careers advisors<br />Health services<br />Social workers<br />Banks<br />“They don’t really care” – experience and perception<br />Pros<br />Cons<br /><ul><li> Generally available face to face
    87. 87. Detailed information on ‘specialist subjects’
    88. 88. Usually confidential so useful for ‘embarrassing’ issues
    89. 89. Trusted and accurate information
    90. 90. No personal interest in outcome for the young person
    91. 91. Often perceived to be acting in their own interests
    92. 92. Can be patronising and dismissive
    93. 93. Sometimes paying ‘Lip service’ to a problem</li></li></ul><li>Impersonal sources of support<br />Television<br />Books<br />Magazines<br />Internet<br />“You know the information is quality if it’s published”<br />Pros<br />Cons<br /><ul><li> Completely anonymous
    94. 94. Assumed accuracy
    95. 95. Some forms are easily accessible
    96. 96. Trusted information
    97. 97. Too generic, especially for personal issues
    98. 98. ‘Old-fashioned’ and tedious
    99. 99. Can be time-consuming
    100. 100. May be out-of-date</li></li></ul><li>A study tool<br />A life management tool<br />The role of the internet…<br />As a social organisation and communication tool<br />A source of information, advice and guidance<br />
    101. 101. Non-judgemental<br />The internet for information, advice and guidance<br />Embarrassing topics<br />Choice<br />“And a lot of the time the internet has a broader perspective.”<br />“The internet doesn’t judge you, you know? You can go and look at whatever you want…they don’t say ‘why are you looking at this?’”<br />“It’s always private and confidential. It never like, unless it – you look at it, and it’s just there, isn’t it, for you to take in. And no one knows you’re looking at it. No one knows what your problem is. ”<br />“Just as an example, you wouldn’t want to go to your mum and say, oh, what’s testicular cancer, because you might be embarrassed. And on the internet, you can just go on and find out anything. It can be absolutely anything – maybe something you wouldn’t even want to talk to your friends about.”<br />“Because the internet’s got everything, hasn’t it?”<br />Anonymity<br />
    102. 102. What makes a good website?<br />Simplicity<br /><ul><li>A clean, uncluttered appearance
    103. 103. An accessible, functional search box
    104. 104. Clear section headings
    105. 105. Limited use of text
    106. 106. Limited website depth – just 3 clicks!</li></ul>Indicators of quality<br /><ul><li>Visible indicators of website traffic
    107. 107. Clarity regarding website origins
    108. 108. Prominent feedback mechanisms
    109. 109. Attention to detail
    110. 110. Regular updates</li></ul>“I think it’s got to have a search bar at the top, for keywords. Because there can be so much information on a website, so you can just type in a key word at the top<br />and it’ll take you straight to that article.”<br />
    111. 111. Summary of findings<br /><ul><li>A need for accessible, relevant, high quality information for young people regardless of their background
    112. 112. Young people use a wide range of support-sources, none of which are sufficient in isolation
    113. 113. The internet plays a significant role in the lives of young people and has the potential to bridge gaps in existing support and bring together the qualities found in other services
    114. 114. Young people are internet savvy and have high expectations regarding online advice and support</li></li></ul><li>Julie Reynolds<br />Head of Appeal Development<br />
    115. 115. TheSite has helped me in so many ways that any opportunity to reach out to more young people is always going to be worthwhile.<br />It's not simply that it helps people with short term problems - concerns about career or exam worries - it provides long term support and does so in a welcoming and supportive community environment<br />To continue to be an up-to-the-minute and accurate service to young people, who are increasingly using the internet as their first port of call for advice and guidance.<br />To promote and encourage young people to use TheSite to get information they need but may not be able to ask for in the real world. Young people need a place where they can find support and information<br />
    116. 116. Panel Q & A<br />James Kenrick, Advice Services Manager, Youth Access<br />Sarah McCoy, Research Manager, YouthNet<br />Julie Reynolds, Head of Appeal Development, YouthNet<br />Jim Valentine, Communities Manager, YouthNet<br />