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Senior Glyndŵr University academic appointed to Youth Work board

A senior academic at Wrexham Glyndŵr University has been appointed a board member of the new body setting the strategic direction of youth work in Wales.

Simon Stewart, the Dean of Faculty of Social and Life Sciences at Wrexham Glyndŵr University, was announced as one of six Interim Youth Work Board members yesterday – and is set to begin work immediately, with the first board meeting to take place today.

Announcing the appointments, Minister for Welsh Language and Lifelong Learning, Eluned Morgan said: “The candidates bring a range of skills and knowledge that will play a vital role in informing how we go about securing the strategic direction of youth work in Wales.

“Highly experienced in their respective fields, they will each play a pivotal role as they consider evidence, engage with young people and stakeholders, and challenge our thinking about what can be achieved in the field of youth work. I look forward to working with them closely as we approach a busy and exciting time for youth work in Wales.”

Between them, the six board members, working alongside Board Chair Keith Towler, have been tasked with developing an ambitious new approach to youth work in Wales and changing the way young people’s services are provided.

Mr Stewart, who is the only university representative on the board, was made Dean of Glyndŵr’s Faculty of Social and Life Sciences in August.

Simon has worked across statutory and voluntary services in England and Wales, managed a Youth Work charity in Northern Ireland addressing the needs of young people affected by trauma, and also worked at a national level for the Boys and Girls clubs of Northern Ireland.

In his roles with Glyndwr University, he has met with youth services from Cardiff to Rhondda Cynon Taf and Carmarthen to Gwynedd.

With a master’s thesis on rural youth work and the particular needs of rural young people, Simon – who has been an external expert for the British Council youth in action programme – is now developing a specialism in international youth work and intercultural learning.

He said: “The Welsh Government want to see every young person in Wales reach their potential – and the right kind of support is crucial in ensuring that potential is realised.

“High-quality youth work will play a key role in that support – ensuring that young people develop the skills, aspirations and resilience they need to play a part in Wales’ future. That’s why I am delighted to have been appointed to the Interim Youth Work Board, and why I am looking forward to helping shape a new direction for youth work in Wales.

“Here at Glyndŵr, our approach to teaching Youth Work is rooted in practice – our lecturers are all youth work professionals of many years’ standing, who know what works on the ground and how it relates to their teaching.

“Most of all, we put young people at the heart of what we do. Listening to young people, and taking what they say on board, is at the heart of successful youth work – and something I’ll be doing regularly in my work with the Welsh Government.”

Find out more about Wrexham Glyndŵr University’s BA: https://www.glyndwr.ac.uk/en/Undergraduatecourses/YouthandCommunityWork/ and MA: https://www.glyndwr.ac.uk/en/Postgraduatecourses/YouthCommunityMA/ courses in Youth and Community Work.

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