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i never thought i see the day when i was defending the Tory party, but...

i heard the interview that this news story came from and i think it's a little unfair on David. The website report you link too certainly doesn't reflect too well what David Cameron was actually saying. It seemed to me he was just talking about exploring ways to encourage & resource volunteering for young people and looking at things like expanding gap year placements which are already hugely popular.

This is my field of work, which is why i took an interest in the story this morning - the agenda (which is a current Labour one too) is to see young people making a 'positive contribution' in their communities. It's about learning new skills, building confidence and increasing esteem rather than obligatory service! One would assume an extension of Duke of Edinbrugh and Princes Trust type schemes - which are both really good initiatives.

Fair enough Barky, I didn't hear the interview. As I say I agree with the sentiments (as you outline them too) what I have a problem with is the way these policies are dreamt up for whatever reason then implemented without enough thought, consultation and funding... see connexions etc. etc. I am aware that all parties are looking at Youth contribution... it seems however that these anouncements end up hindering what could be a cross party exploration. I guess I am cynical of political intiatives... they seem often to be more like gestures.

My experience of these schemes (I have run DofE, Millenium Volunteers) is that the kind of Kids who might benefit most don't sign up... that is not to say the schemes aren't valid and that the Kids who do undertake them don't benefit, they do and I am a great advocate of DofE, but that I have spent a fair amount of time trying to encourage Kids who are classic ASBO candidates to engage with these schemes with little success.

I think my issue with it (and let it be known that in the last week a similar plan was released in Australia http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/labor-gives-nod-to-voluntary-national-service/2006/01/06/1136387627993.html)
is precisely that the aim is to see young people making a 'positive contribution' in their communities.

The debate I have is the concept of what a 'positive contribution' is and who determins what's positive.

I also have a debate with the idea that young people aren't seen doing a 'positive contribution' therefore they must be causing trouble.

Prince of Ed is a good program... for those that choose to do it, but bringing back a form of conscription because it "worked" way back when (when i say worked i mean a number of young people died for the country's positive contribution).

there's got to be a better way.

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