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April 2023

Welcome to the April 2023 issue of Youth Field Xpress!

Unbelievably, we are already one-third of the way through the year, and many important markers in the youth sector year have already been reached, one of them being the annual National Youth Awards. Please take the time to look at the outstanding and inspirational achievements of the young people who were recognised at the National Youth Awards ceremony in Brisbane on 10 April (see ‘Engagement and opportunity’). 

Another important marker is the annual Mission Australia Youth Survey; once again it is time for young people (aged 15 to 19) to let their voices be heard; the survey results are used to inform the deliberations of governments, policymakers and community organisations, so it’s important to encourage all the young people you work with or for to take part (see ‘Youth work & the sector’).

This past month ReachOut has been running an awareness campaign called ‘There’s Life After Bad Moves’, which highlighted for young people that it’s perfectly OK to make mistakes in life, and not to be overly disheartened or lose confidence if you’ve stuffed up. Everybody does it and it’s part of life’s big learning curve.

The fact that ReachOut has run this campaign is an indication of the pressures that young people are under, whether it be to perform academically, to find work, to find affordable accommodation, to succeed socially, to survive family life, to achieve in every sphere. The pressures can sometimes seem relentless. The recently released Kids Helpline report, Insights into Australian young people, reflects these pressures; there has been a 15% increase in demand for its services since 2012, and the demand seems to keep on rising (see ‘Wellbeing’).  

Many of the stories in this month’s YFX also reflect the pressures young people are under, from transitioning successfully into work, to bullying on the sports field, to coping with parents who have mental health issues. But it is important never to lose sight of the fact that almost all young people strive to succeed despite all these pressures. In an important report just to hand, Voices of the vulnerable published by Mission Australia using data from its 2014 Youth Survey, young people from disadvantaged backgrounds reveal the high value they place on getting work. Mission Australia CEO Catherine Yeomans said this evidence ‘flies in the face of that very simplistic view of the world – that unemployed young people are lazy and feckless job snobs. What our report shows is that it’s not the will that is lacking, but quite often, the way’. We will bring you a longer story about this report next month, but in the meantime, access the report from the Mission Australia website.

Two really positive initiatives that we wanted to emphasise this month are the work of Studio G and the VACC Automotive Industry Donation Program.

Studio G, which is featured in The Sector, is an organisation that works to provide young people with high functioning autism with a pathway into the workplace in the media industry. Since its establishment last year, it has become one of Autism Queensland’s core projects and plans to expand. It is a place full of success stories.

The VACC program in Victoria brings together automotive industry suppliers with VET institutions and schools to provide apprentices with the vehicles, components and parts they need to enable apprentices to have the best possible training. The initiative has been described as ‘an example of an industry-led initiative for a community outcome’ with an outstanding spirit of cooperation (see ‘Transition & work’).

We know that there are always more stories and great initiatives out there than we can ever cover, and that space does not allow many pertinent academic research papers into youth issues to be covered in YFX. If you are keen to access research into youth issues, one very useful place to find it is the Academic Journals page of the website. Here you will find a well laid-out overview of most of the world’s known journals on youth issues ranging from juvenile justice, to theatre, to LBGT issues. Around 50 journals are listed.

Finally, we are excited to announce that ACYS has a new director: Dr Jen Couch, a senior lecturer in youth work at the Australian Catholic University, who has a strong background in working with young people in the areas of marginalisation, homelessness and refugee settlement. Read more about her below.

We hope this issue of YFX will enhance your work with young people, and we look forward to bringing you more from the youth sector in the post-Budget climate.

Happy reading!

Welcome new ACYS Director, Dr Jen Couch

After a pleasing response to our call for expressions of interest in the position earlier this year, we are thrilled to announce Dr Jen Couch as the new ACYS Director.

Dr Couch is a senior lecturer in youth work at the Australian Catholic University (ACU). She has established a national reputation for her work in the area of refugee young people and resettlement, and is one of the few academics to undertake research on young people from refugee backgrounds and homelessness. Before beginning at ACU 10 years ago, she worked extensively in the youth and community sectors in Australia and South Asia.

She has worked with, and on behalf of, young people in the areas of refugee settlement, displacement, homelessness, rights and participation, torture and trauma, and capacity building. Dr Couch has published widely in the area of young people and marginalisation and is particularly interested in working in hopeful and positive ways to change social inequalities and exclusion. 

Dr Couch has a longstanding relationship with ACYS as a contributor and peer reviewer to the Youth Studies Australia journal, and we look forward to working with her in her new capacity as Director as we continue enhancing our services to support the development of engaged and resilient young people in Australia.

Stakeholder survey update: what you told us

The ACYS Outcomes Framework has been developed to link what we do with specific impacts within youth policy, research and practice. Those of you who completed our recent ACYS stakeholders’ survey have helped us understand and measure whether our products and services are delivering what you need and whether they are helping make the impacts within your work.  It’s been great to hear about some of the ways in which we have helped you to make a difference within the youth sector.

You can read about the results from the survey and see examples of how others have used ACYS materials to inform their work on the ACYS website. If you would like to tell us about any other impacts we’ve had within your work, we’d love to hear about them.  Please feel free to contact Marta Guerra or submit your examples through the ACYS website.

The Sector
Studio G
Studio G is a creative post-school transition program, run by Autism Queensland, that teaches young people with high functioning autism valuable social, job and life skills.


The small print

Thank you to Sue Dilley and Kate Gross for editorial input to this issue of YFX. Links were checked and correct at the time of publishing. Please report errors to the editor, Caroline Mordaunt.

Send us your news!

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Self-regulated learning interventions with at-risk youth: Enhancing adaptability, performance and well-being

Timothy J. Cleary (ed.)
ISBN 9781433819872
Format Hardcover
Cost US$69.95

At-risk students dealing with cognitive, physical, mental health and environmental challenges often have poor self-regulatory skills. They may struggle with tasks such as planning, goal-setting and monitoring their own thoughts and actions. This volume describes how teachers, healthcare professionals, and others who work with young people can provide support and helpful strategies to students challenged by problems ranging from ADHD to conduct disorders to language learning deficits to disadvantaged backgrounds.  The contributors discuss and illustrate the key components of effective self-regulatory learning, with a particular focus on the central role of feedback loops.

304 pp., published April 2023

The elements of counseling children and adolescents

Catherine P. Cook-Cottone, Laura M. Anderson and Linda S. Kane
ISBN 9780826129994
Format Paperback
Cost US$45.00

Tailored to the specific needs of the child and adolescent client, this concise, easy-to-read primer provides essential and practical guidelines for counsellors and psychologists who are training to work with children in both clinical and school settings. It distills the basic concepts that beginning professionals must keep in mind as they approach practice, offering guidance in a logical, numbered sequence from setting the stage for the counselling process through the essentials of building and maintaining an active counselling practice. Key concepts such as using developmentally appropriate language and activities are covered, along with critical issues such as collaborating with parents and other professionals, responding to crisis situations, and counsellor self-awareness and self-care.

146 pp., published December 2014

Evaluation practice for projects with young people: A guide to creative research

Kaz Stuart, Lucy Maynard & Caroline Rouncefield
ISBN 9781446276006
Format Paperback
Cost £24.99

This straightforward and original text sets out best practice for designing, conducting and analysing research on work with young people. A creative and practical guide to evaluation, it provides the tools needed to bridge the gap between theoretical knowledge and applied practice. The book provides strategies for involving young people in research and evaluation, showcases creative and participatory methods, and weaves a real-world project through each chapter. It is accompanied by a website with downloadable worksheets, templates and videos from the authors.

248 pp., published March 2023

Youth quotas and other efficient forms of youth participation in ageing societies

J. Tremmel, A. Mason, P.H. Godli & I. Dimitrijoski (eds)
ISBN 9783319134307
Format Hardcover
Cost € 99.99

This book examines ways to ensure that the rights, interests and concerns of young people are properly represented in Western democracies. It explores key questions regarding the implementation of youth quotas from different perspectives (including philosophy, political science, sociology and demography) and examines whether youth quotas and other measures that give the young more voice and influence in political institutions are a good means for promoting the cause of intergenerational justice. In particular, it investigates how and if youth quotas can be used to ensure that the environmental interests of young and future generations are being taken into account. 

188 pp., published May 2023

Youth theatre: Drama for life

Michael Richardson
ISBN 9781138841024
Format Paperback
Cost US$39.95

This book defines the youth theatre process by outlining its constituent parts and explaining how these activities work in order to support young people’s development. As well as describing what is done in youth theatre, it also explores why it’s done and how to ensure the best possible outcomes. As well as giving key tips and advice from his own invaluable experience, the author includes comments from practitioners and participants on what makes a successful youth theatre experience. The book also contains two appendices: a list of over 60 games for use in youth theatre and a list of recommended further reading that supports this book. 

194 pp., published April 2023

Youth street gangs: A critical appraisal

David C. Brotherton
ISBN 9780415856294
Format Paperback
Cost US$44.95
Drawing on a wealth of highly acclaimed original research, this book explores the socially layered practices of street gangs, including community movements, cultural projects and sites of social resistance. In opposition to the dominant gang discourses, Brotherton proposes the development of a critical studies approach to gangs and concludes by making a plea for researchers to engage the gang reflexively, paying attention to the contradictory agency of the gang and what gang members actually tell us. The book is essential reading for academics and students involved in the study of juvenile delinquency, youth studies, deviance, gang studies and cultural criminology.

228 pp., published April 2023

Young Chinese in urban China:

Alex Cockain
ISBN 9781138858213
Format Paperback
Cost US$49.95

This book examines the condition of being a young person in China and the way in which changes in various dimensions of urban life have affected Chinese youths' quests to understand themselves. It examines social factors such as changes in the physical construction of urban neighbourhoods; changes in family life including reduced family size, increasing rates of divorce and increased physical mobility of the family unit; school life and mounting pressure to perform well in examinations and be a good student; access to foreign and domestic media as well as access to the internet. Drawing on the fields of social and cultural anthropology, the author shows that the process of self-understanding in a changing spatial, social and cultural world involves ongoing disjointed efforts to achieve a sense of security and belonging on the one hand and a degree of increased autonomy in their relationships with, for example, parents and teachers on the other.

224 pp., published March 2023

Improving access to further and higher education for young people in public care: European policy and practice

Sonia Jackson & Claire Cameron
ISBN 9781849056397
Format Paperback
Cost £25.00

Across Europe young people in public care are around five times less likely to attend tertiary education than those who have not been in care. This book provides a comprehensive account of why this shocking discrepancy exists and outlines ways to address the imbalance. Drawing extensively on a substantial, three-year-long, European Union-funded research project led by the authors, this book examines the participation of young people in care in further and higher education in Europe. It provides a historical and legislative overview of the topic and in-depth national case studies look at the situation in England, Denmark, Sweden, Spain and Hungary. The authors set out clearly what we can learn from these cross-national comparisons and how to create more equal opportunities for children and young people in care.

288 pp., published April 2023

Educating adolescent girls around the globe: Challenges and opportunities

Sandra L. Stacki & Supriya Baily (Eds)
ISBN 9781138781108
Format Hardcover
Cost US$145.00

This edited volume takes a global look at the obstacles and enablers in girls’ education that can have lasting institutional, psychological and social consequences. It looks at many complex issues affecting education for adolescent girls around the world, including the underlying global demands for women in the formal workforce and the universal impact of gender-based violence, and provides a critical framework through which researchers may explore and critique these complexities.

284 pp., published April 2023

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