An exploration of the perceived value of formal supervision for professionally qualified youth workers: A case study of two Local Authority Youth Services
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The purpose of this research was to explore the perceptions of professionally qualified youth workers, around the value of supervision. The study sought to compare and contrast two neighbouring Local Authority Youth Services in Wales, one Youth Service has no policy to guide practice whilst the other Youth Service has signed up to a formal supervision policy. The research presents the outcomes from a quantitative survey and qualitative interviews of both Youth Services. Analysis of the empirical data revealed some similarities and some stark differences in experience, namely that all youth workers valued supervision as an opportunity to reflect, discuss work, issues and development. However in practice for one Youth Service this was not uniform with a significant proportion not receiving supervision, having no structure, or very irregular and informal supervision. For some their experience was entirely dependent on the line manager they had, and with no policy to define the supervision boundaries or expectations it is difficult to see how this situation might improve. Professional support and development cannot exist or thrive in such a hit or miss environment. For the Youth Service with the supervision policy in place, this was not an issue with all comments from both survey and interview being positive and supportive in praise of the formal supervision policy and their experience. As a result both the value and quality of supervision can be enjoyed. A positive recommendation for the Youth Service with no policy would be to review their current uncoordinated approach and further investigate the value of devising their own supervision policy to offer professional support and development to their workforce.
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