The Quality Framework Initiative for YOUTHREACH and Senior Traveller Training Centres arose from the YOUTHREACH 2000 consultative process. The development of a quality assurance framework for YOUTHREACH is recommended not only on the grounds of good practice, it is also anticipated that its establishment would meet the requirements of the Qualifications (Education and Training) Act 1999.
This initiative involves a number of distinct phases; exploration, consultation, develop ment and implementation. The Exploratory Phase in this initiative concluded in March 2001 with the production of a report Towards A Quality Framework for YOUTHREACH. The report documents feedback from a series of meetings involving Directors of Traveller Training Centres, Co-Ordinators of V.E.C. YOUTHREACH Centres and Managers of Community Training Workshops as well as a consultative seminar.
Although consultation in this phase only involved a small section of the stakeholder groups, all the key issues relating to the development of a quality assurance framework for YOUTHREACH were raised. The report therefore provided a sound basis for discussion and was widely used in the consultation phase. The report recommended that:
The exploratory phase would be followed by a broad consultation phase involving representatives of all stakeholders and lead to the development of an agreed quality framework for all strands of the YOUTHREACH programme.
In order to progress the Quality Framework Initiative, an interdepartmental steering group has been established. The steering group aims to facilitate the development of a quality assurance process across all strands of the YOUTHREACH programme and in particular to act as a co-ordinating forum for FAS and the Department of Education and Science in this task. It was agreed that the DES and FAS would simultaneously engage in separate consultation processes, the outcomes of which will be fed in to a synthesis process in the next phase.
The report on the exploratory phase specifically recommended that all stakeholder groups would receive a copy of the report of the exploratory phase prior to further consultation and that trainees, staff, boards of management and local management would subsequently meet to discuss issues arising from the exploratory phase. Such meetings would be facilitated externally and the outcomes forwarded to the National Co-Ordinators. A series of regional consultation meetings would follow involving all stakeholder groups in addition to meetings with stakeholder associations.
In planning the consultation phase the National Co-Ordinators attempted to take on board and support these recommendations. In so doing, the stakeholder groups were provided with a range of opportunities to feed into the consultation process.
It is hoped therefore that this report builds on the outcomes of the exploratory phase and offers a true reflection of the principal issues, hopes and concerns of all stakeholder groups in relation to the development of a quality framework for YOUTHREACH and proposes a starting point for the development phase.