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Get at me!

Paul Mckenzie

As a youth worker and mentor for over 20 years, I have noticed that the issues that young people are facing have become much more complexed. They have almost developed into a trend of violence that has very little in the way of a quick fix or solution. It goes without doubt that there is a clear and distinct challenge ahead for us all. 

It is obvious that violence has become the very fabric of our society, with violent acts being carried out almost on a daily basis. However, we must still look towards the positives in every situation. We must never give up on our society as it has the foundations of a wonderful place to grow and learn about life. 

My ethos is, If we as adults, parents and carers all work together we can push against this current trend of violence on our streets. When we can push, we can pull, and when we pull we can help. 

For years, I have been saying that the young people need to see what a working model of a community looks like, as many of them have no values or beliefs about what one is. Unfortunately many adults share the same lack of beliefs, and this is part of the challenge we all have ahead. 


Communication is the key to every change that we need. 

As parents, carers and professionals, we must approach this in a much more flexible way. A better understanding of popular culture is needed to facilitate effective communication between young people and us as parents, carers and professionals.


We must strive to interpret language and mannerisms that young people display. Much of this changes very rapidly. Once we have a firm understanding of what situations are facing young people growing up in todays society, we can produce and facilitate the fundamentals of a fruitful society. 

My work around preparing young people for the road ahead, has lead me into many different aspects of youth work. Currently I am working with several organisations that specifically deal with young people with special needs. This is proving to be a crucial part in grooming and abuse. With so many children displaying challenging behaviour in education, the result for many of them is exclusion or a specialist provision, this unfortunately has been instrumental in the schools to prison pipeline that we are seeing emerging amongst specific groups of young people. 

My expertise and experience enables me to understand the needs of most young people, and to offer them the solutions that they require to go on and become a value to their communities and beyond.

In my opinion no young person should have to face a future without certainty and this is what motivates me to keep going.