VYM is passionate about youth work and the impact it has in empowering and transforming the lives of young people. Despite no longer having a local authority Youth Service, Manchester is nonetheless fortunate to have a wealth of dedicated youth workers who work across the voluntary youth sector for organisations of all types and sizes. It is one of VYM’s priorities to ensure that these youth workers and youth work practice in Manchester are supported, developed, strengthened, and furthermore recognised for the outcomes achieved. We do this by channelling the sector’s expertise, and where necessary adding that of key partners, such as local colleges and universities, and regional bodies like NW Regional Youth Work Unit.
One of our key priorities is supporting the development of a meaningful methodology that enables voluntary youth organisations and youth workers to monitor and measure the delivery of outcomes, recognizing that youth work is about empowerment, about participation, about enabling, and thus this is something that cannot simply be measured using quantitative tools. As such, we have been working closely with Manchester Metropolitan University to develop a tool that responds to this situation, that is grounded in youth work and that is strongly informed by the voice of the young person. The tool – Most Significant Change technique– was originally developed by international development agencies in partnership with communities in Africa, Asia and Latin America, and picked up by youth workers in the UK who recognised its value in a youth work context. Since then 12-15 organisations in Manchester have been working in partnership with VYM & MMU to pilot this tool, with a view to delivering a report and final resource by March 2016.