As we reported briefly in our last post, Tom Wylie has been appointed as specialist adviser to the Select Committee inquiring into services for young people. His accession to this role has been warmly received.
Doug Nicholls, national officer for community and youth workers and the not-for-profit sector at Unite, welcomed Wylie’s appointment: “Tom is the right person at the right time to advise the select committee at this moment of huge danger for youth work and the youth service. His immense knowledge of the evidence that underpins our understanding of the impact of youth work will be of great value.
Andy Hillier of CYPN comments that:
During his time at the NYA between 1996 and 2007, the agency was credited with helping to convince the Labour government to create the youth opportunity fund and youth capital fund and invest in the Myplace youth centre programme.
There is no doubt that Tom has a long and distinguished career in the service of young people as this brief biography indicates:
Tom Wylie took up the appointment as Chief Executive of the National Youth Agency in 1996 from a post as Assistant Director of Inspection for the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted). He retired from NYA in August 07, and is now a trustee of Young Minds and of Rathbone. Tom also chairs an advisory group on young adults for the Financial Services Authority. He was born and educated in Belfast where he was a teacher and youth worker. Moving to England in 1970, he worked for the Scout Association and the National Youth Bureau. He became one of Her Majesty’s Inspectors of Education in 1979 and held various national responsibilities including managing the Inspectorate’s Divisions responsible for youth and community work, for educational disadvantage and for curriculum. He has served on various governmental advisory groups; the Board of The Prince’s Trust and committees of the Economic and Social Research Council and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. In his spare time he enjoys playing hockey.
Yet, in the last few years Tom has been less than impressed with our Campaign. Indeed in the latest Youth and Policy he articulates his dismissal of our evident romanticism, extolling the virtues of his own principled pragmatism. Read his perspective in full , Youth Work in a Cold Climate
As it happens we received a few weeks ago a critical response to Wylie’s article penned by Bernard Davies. We were not quite sure what to with Bernard’s challenging polemic and this spurred us to create a sister site, Critical Exchanges. Go there to read Bernard’s thoughts and to join in! Our thinking is that this site/blog might be the place where supporters and critics are encouraged to enter into animated debate about the issues facing us. As ever this might be pie in the sky, but certainly Bernard’s piece gets us off to a lively and topical beginning.
In saying all this we wish Tom all the best in his new position and hope that he recognises that the pragmatists are rudderless without the romantics and vice-versa!