Beyond Video Conferencing – Panel Two

The second panel featured in Beyond Video Conferencing was hosted by Claire McGinley, representing Paisley YMCA. While the first panel had the primary focus of the challenges and rewards in adapting during the Covid-19 pandemic through the use of tech, the second panel looked ahead to the future of digital youth work and programming. 

The new methods of working with tech brought about by the circumstances of the pandemic invite the question of what can be learned from these experiences and how much of it is here to stay. Are these new methods simply a means to an end or are they full of new opportunities for how we approach youth work?

Colin MacFarlane representing YMCA Scotland believes the latter: “This is not a phase. This is real life from now on in. There is no going back. In terms of digital practice, I’m a big advocate of what goes on at Paisley YMCA and the new inspirational ways of development to serve young people […] It’s moving forward at such a pace that trying to keep up with it is a challenge. 

“But we need to remember the fact that it’s about young people that are choosing to participate and looking at our sector in terms of the world of youth work as the inspirational way forward. […] What we need to do now is look at new models of practice, look at Makerspaces, look at Hololink and have them tried and tested and take them on as new models of learning.”

CEO and Co-founder of Hololink, Lucas Nygaard echoed this sentiment as he explained the priority moving forward should be using these new methods to forward the process of actively enriching the lives of young people: “It’s really important that we use this technology in the right way, not to pacify but to empower young people.”

The panel served to showcase the forward thinking nature of UK Youth Workers, considering what the new ways of working in the past year have taught them and how it can be used in the future. It also gave consideration to the ways in which this technology should be used in relation to youth work and how considering the needs and feelings of young people are equally as important as the technological means in which to achieve results. 

The new experiences with technology and ways of working serve as important tools in achieving the ultimate goal of youth work, which is to enrich and empower the lives of young people. 

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