DRAFT ONLY – FOR DISCUSSION AND VAST AMENDMENTS
A Youth Policy is often not developed by countries. Some other countries see a ‘policy’ as a simple aggregation of specific youth projects in areas such as: sports; performing arts; music; disability;indigenous … and so on. Yet other countries aggregate lots of projects and call the aggregation a ‘policy’. CPCC holds the view that a series of youth projects providing specific groups of young people with specific services, or opportunities, is not to be denigrated … but it is not a Policy. A Policy is not an ad hoc aggregation of projects, even good projects. A Youth Policy should have a clearly stated purpose, followed by a series of strategies and processes aligned to achieve that purpose. Projects will be consequential events designed to achieve the stated purpose[s] of the policy.
Structurally, a Youth Advisory Council is not necessarily a good development. It SHOULD be a good development, and the Central Coast Council’s youth advisory body MAY be a good development but that will DEPEND on:
[a] its composition
[b] the scope, and focus, of its purpose[s]
[c] its relationship to the parent organisation’s power structure.
If its composition is lop-sided, especially if it is weighted towards the already-successful, already-accomplished, already-employed, already-vocal … then it cannot represent the needs and aspirations of those who will most benefit from a Youth Policy. The need for a Youth Policy is much less pressing for the already-successful than it is for those whose experience is likely to be: under-parented, under-educated, un-connected to a sustainable but technologically advanced economy, under-disciplined, under-motivated, under-employed.
An advisory youth council [with sub-committees] should comprise a strong mix of:
[a] youth from diverse realities[say, 4 from primary school age; say, 4 from high school age split evenly
between academic and VET students; say, 4 from TAFE; say, 4 from university]
[b] adults [say, 4] who are BOTH expert in youth-related data, research, and analysis AND empathetic to
the difficulties associated with childhood, adolescence, transition, and future planning
[c] a co-Chair with political weight
[say, The Mayor]
PURPOSE OF A CCC YOUTH POLICY: To provide, on the NSW Central Coast:
- Ever-improving parenting education, support and behaviour … and community encouragement of youth to learn and demonstrate individual and collective concern for the community
- Concentrations of high-interest outlets for youthful engagement outside-of-school-hours.
- Identification of future industries and jobs which are profitable, sustainable and‘friendly’ to the beauty, the forests, the ocean and waterways, and the wildlife habitat of the Central Coast.
- The essential education for these future industries, jobs, and adequately maintained, repaired and improved environment.
4 STRATEGIES of CCC YOUTH POLICY
- PARENTING: probably the most politically sensitive strategy is that of maximising the positive effects for youth, of a supportive family, an admiring community, and a respectful adult population. The elements of this strategy could be Council support for:
A: PARENTING EDUCATION:
- social media; newspapers; public library sessions; leaflet drops; radio; TV; sports events; movie theatres, etc
- precinct-based parenting workshops … open to all
- home-based parenting workshops … expected of identified parents
d. curfews for under-16’s ‘without cause’
B: COMMUNITY EDUCATION for youths:
a. social media; newspapers; public library sessions; leaflet drops; radio; TV; sports events; movie theatres, etc
b. precinct-based youth workshops … open to all
c. home-based youth workshops … expected of identified youth
d. Surf LifeSaving … volunteer bushfire brigades … emergency services … marine rescue … RSPCA animal care … environment groups such as GREENPEACE [others, several] … caring NGOs …
2. HIGH-INTEREST OUTLETS at the centre of much anti-social and self-harming behaviour of young people is …boredom. School is a popular place to be, partly because that is where interesting learning can take place, but overwhelmingly because of the interest, and social rewards of engaging with fellow students, and with teachers. Society provides little for its young outside of school hours. Concentrations of high-interest outlets for youths, after school and on weekends, has been demonstrated to almost eliminate drug and alcohol usage altogether, and to provide exciting new challenges and aspirations for the young. The elements of this strategy might be for the CC Council to seek Federal and NSW governments funding for:
a. Youth hubs at Erina; Gosford; Terrigal; The Entrance; Wyong
b. Each youth hub to comprise a minimum of: start-up business pod; music rooms; recording studio; video green room and equipment; performing arts studio[s]; dance studio; gymnasium with trainers; chess; e-games with limits; indoor sports; exotic Science extension courses; and so on.
3. IDENTIFYING FUTURE
INDUSTRIES AND JOBS which are profitable, sustainable and ‘friendly’ to the beauty, the forests, the ocean and waterways, and the wildlife habitat of the Central Coast. Young people want a future. Young people, like everyone, are motivated by inspirational choices. No-one wants to work in an industry which is damaging Earth and is doomed to be obsolete in the near future. Youth want future jobs that are integral to future industries which contribute positively to the social and economic health of the nation.
Council can assist in this regard by undertaking a seriously competent study of likely future technologies and the type of industries that the Central Coast can best host and manage. Armed with this knowledge we will be better able to shape our schooling, TAFE and local university to provide the labour and educated intellect.
4. PROVIDING THE ESSENTIAL EDUCATION schooling has more to teach than the particulars of the Central Coast, but it DOES need to ensure that schooling, TAFE, University are ensuring their students know the Central Coast well, and have an opinion about future development, and planning.
a. SCHOOLING … to include curriculum designed to imbue local students with a knowledge of a Central Coast “preferred future”, its preferred industries and jobs, and a profound knowledge and respect for local country, its indigenous and immigrant heritage, and its requirements for conservation, maintenance, repair, and improvement.
b. TAFE … to include teaching of skill-sets and knowledge which fit the preferred industries and jobs
[as identified above]
c. UNIVERSITY … a Central Coast university with CC management and a research focus on all aspects of the Central Coast, especially jobs and industries which are sustainable and environment-friendly.
In addition to Youth Policy purposes and strategies, we need to be explicit about PROCESSES too.
Establish purpose[s] … … … … Collaboration with stake-holders, data fed, all arguments identified early, ample time, guaranteed venues for debate early & throughout. Consensus.
Agreement onStructure & Processes … … Collaboration with stakeholders …form to fit function … procedures to align
with purpose. Anything that doesn’t align is a
confusion or sabotage. Possible structure: youth
advisory council [YAC] with several sub-groups; annual
public conference over a weekend; monthly public
gatherings to precede meetings of YAC; recommendations
to Council staff, or Council in session to be assisted by
Agreement on Scope of Youth Policy … Ever-improving parenting education & concern for the community.
… Concentrations of high-interest outlets: outside-of-school-hours.
… Future industries & jobs: sustainable within the CC environment.
… The essential education for these future industries & jobs.
Develop DRAFT policy … … in collaboration between YAC, community youth organisations, and academic/research institutions, a DRAFT policy is produced consistent with the stated purpose[s].
Regular oversight of the research is to be maintained by YAC or its nominee[s]. Conundrums to be referred to YAC before research continues. DRAFT policy completed and sent to CCC in session.
Central Coast Council endorses … … public consultation on the DRAFT Policy.
YAC’s further amendments … … … and referral of the FINAL DRAFT to the CC Council in session.