North of the Future: Professional Youth Work and Digital Technology

Keywords: professionalism, youth work, digital technology, workplace change, ethics


New and emerging technologies are challenging certain long-standing ideas about work, education, play and even what it means to be human. The “digital revolution” is transforming not only unskilled work, it is now encroaching on many fields of professional practice and threatening the viability of traditional models of professionalism. Against a backdrop of considerable debate on youth work about the value of adopting the core elements of a profession, like a code of ethics or forming professional associations, youth workers now have the opportunity to think again about what it means to be a profession. This article suggests how the new and emerging technologies can play a major role in helping youth work develop new ways of being a profession while retaining its core commitment to enabling young people to flourish. This includes drawing on distributed innovation technologies to promote new decentralised forms of democratic, interactive and collaborative peer relations oriented to an ethos of subsidiarity.



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