Ready, Steady, Race to the bottom! The dangers of youth work serving as a sector of the economy.
This paper warns of the dangers of youth work serving as a sector of the economy by blindly creating a new generation of workers with the skills and attitudes needed to serve business. The dominant view in policy is that the growth of business and corporate profits is in turn beneficial to the welfare of society and its people. However there is growing evidence that the current business model exacerbates inequality and leads to the accumulation of wealth by a few, whilst deepening the poverty of many. Depression in wages, increases in job insecurity, a rise in short term and part time work, diminishing labour protection and growing unemployment are just some of the issues which characterise the modern job market. This is a situation known as ‘the race to the bottom’.
Working with young people to develop literacy, knowledge and skills can most certainly be of benefit if it is learning of the ‘liberating’ variety. As education can never be neutral, I argue that youth work must be critical of its practice and question its purpose. Otherwise we risk perpetuating the status quo without addressing the structures which fuels issues that young people face.
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