The Department of Youth and Community Studies, Faculty for Social Wellbeing, in collaboration with Aġenzija Żgħażagħ and the Parliamentary Secretary for Research, Innovation, Youth and Sport, is organising a national conference entitled 'Rock, Paper, Scissors: ethical dilemmas in working with young people'.
Working with young people brings many challenges to any practitioner. Many times there are no straightforward answers to the issues in play. The weight of circumstances becomes a determining factor in the choices made and bring the practitioner face to face with a number of ethical dilemmas the implications of which, more often than not, transcend the individual case. What factors ought to guide the practitioner’s approach to such dilemmas: the word of the law, professional standards, the wellbeing of the young person? What happens in a case where these factors are in conflict? What is the wellbeing of the young person and who determines it? What happens when the practitioner’s understanding of wellbeing conflicts with that of the client? Who decides the best course of action and on what merits?
Rock, Paper, Scissors is a conference organised by the Department of Youth and Community Studies to discuss such ethical dilemmas that concern persons working with young people in various fields. The title of the conference is inspired by the game played by children and alludes to the various conflicting factors and approaches that characterise the dilemmas that shape the choices we make in our work with young people.
The conference will be chaired by Dr Andrew Azzopardi, Head of the Department of Youth and Community Studies and Dean of the Faculty for Social Wellbeing at the University of Malta and Professor Howard Sercombe will be the guest speaker and a panel of experts will discuss this issue.
The guest speaker, Professor Howard Sercombe, from University of Strathclyde, is a youth work academic and practitioner. He has been a pioneer internationally in thinking about professional ethics for youth workers, and was involved in drafting codes of ethics for youth work associations across Australia and in Scotland, England, South Africa, Zambia and New Zealand. His book, Youth Work Ethics was the first text on the subject by a major publisher (other than edited collections) and has been widely influential.
He has also published widely on the sociology of youth, including the construction of youth in the media and the emerging influence of neuroscience. He is currently honorary Professor of Education at the University of Glasgow, and exploring the boundary between youth work and social work by being a full-time social work student. He is married to broadcaster Helen Wolfenden and has five sons.