Document Type



Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


Social issues, Social work.

Publication Details

Youth Studies Ireland, Vol. 6, no. 2.


In the context of consumerism, individualism and the privatisation of young people’s leisure, youth work struggles to attract young people, especially those aged 15 to 9 years. Drawing from a study exploring young people’s perspectives on participation in youth services, it is argued that youth work offers a type of public and civic engagement that is not on offer from consumption-based activities. While certain activities attract young people into youth work, what maintains their participation is the sense of belonging they experience and the opportunity to participate meaningfully in decision making. In this regard the youth work sector needs to recognise and promote the value of its own contribution to the construction and maintenance of youth participation as a public good – something the market cannot or will not provide.