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Youth Agency will help form policy

For the sake of young people and youth workers in Wales, I must correct the misleading impression given in your front-page article (TESCymru, July 15).

Bringing the Wales Youth Agency into the Welsh Assembly is part of a wider agenda of bringing organisations in to contribute to government policy-making, not a response to problems which the agency has had in the past.

To make sure we have a holistic approach to meeting young people's needs now and in the future, we are rationalising the way services are provided and supported. We maintain our commitment to the value of youth work.

We have been working with the maintained and voluntary youth sectors over the past three months to emphasise our commitment to youth work at the heart of our Extending Entitlement agenda, and to ensure that new arrangements will provide the training, support and development the youth service in Wales needs.

During these consultations, our feedback is that principal youth officers and the major voluntary-sector youth organisations are ready and willing to take up the challenge.

Youth work will also make a very significant contribution to the personal support element of our reforms of the 14-19 curriculum. The youth service in many areas of Wales is already working with local 14-19 networks to provide appropriate youth support in and out of learning settings.

We look forward to the transfer of staff from the Wales Youth Agency into the Welsh Assembly to help us carry out this work.

So young people and youth workers need have no fear - the Assembly government is committed to improving and enhancing the status and quality of youth work in Wales to meet the needs of young people in the 21st century. You would expect no less of a minister who has been a practising youth worker.

Jane Davidson Minister for education and lifelong learning

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