Issue Based Youth Work

Training Topics

Issue based Youth WorkPornography & young people

Young people, youth culture & the media

Working with young women

Social media, selfies & sexting 

Young people & alcohol

Let's talk sex and  relationships with Young People

Based on Vanessa’s highly acclaimed resource books, these courses offer ideas across the youth work and SRE curriculum.

Talking about the potential impact and influence of pornography with young people

According to statistics, most young people are likely to encounter pornography at some point whether they actively seek it out or not. Whilst some might think it harmless fun or simply a rite of passage, learning about sex and relationships from porn can leave young people feeling anxious and emotionally insecure as well as confused about the difference between fantasy and real-life sex and relationships. 

This workshop offers engaging ideas to explore the potential impact and influence of pornography with young people and promotes relationships based on trust, mutual respect and equality. Topics include the potential impact of porn on body image and self-esteem, consent and personal boundaries, peer pressure and relationship bullying, the making and sharing of nude ‘selfies’ and ‘homemade porn’ and a basic overview of the laws that aim to protect under 18’s from harm and sexual exploitation. It concludes with ways to encourage young people to speak up about their concerns and where to access help and support.  

Learning outcomes

This workshop will:

  • Explore values and attitudes towards pornography
  • Clarify the legal framework surrounding this topic
  • Look at how pornography can influence expectations of sex and relationships
  • Discuss the potentially negative impact on body image and emotional well-being
  • Consider peer and media influences on ‘sexting’, nude selfies and revenge porn
  • Reinforce the importance of setting personal boundaries and obtaining sexual consent  
  • Discuss ways that we can support children and young people to recognise the differences between porn and reality


Young People, Youth Culture & the Media

Every day we are bombarded with thousands of images and words that consciously and subconsciously impact on how we experience the world around us. From fad diets to celebrity endorsements, reality TV to pornography it is quite difficult to find something that hasn’t been dusted with a little media magic to make it seem bigger and better. 

But just how much influence, positive and negative, does the media, including more traditional mediums like TV and magazines actually have on young people and their expectations of adult life? 

This training day offers activities to explore the influence of the media on young people and youth culture, both positive and negative. From gangs using social media to recruit, sexist attitudes perpetuated in some music videos to the potentially harmful impact of porn on body image and real-world sex and relationships, this is an opportunity to step back and question. 

Interactive and full of engaging ideas, games and quizzes for young people aged 11-19 (up to 25 with additional needs) this workshop offers creative ways for youth workers to explore potentially tricky topics and help build the skills to make healthy, happy choices.

Learning outcomes

This workshop will:

  • Enable participants to try out a wide range of activities to use with young people to explore the impact of the media on youth culture
  • Discuss celebrity culture and changing notions of ‘fame’
  • Consider social media and the role it can play in everything from gang crime to bullying as well as celebrating the positive aspects like building communication skills and increasing connectivity
  • Look at ways to challenge media stereotypes and support realistic goals and aspirations
  • Offer ideas for talking about the potential impact of pornography and the differences between online and real life sex and relationships, including consent
  • Direct youth workers to other sources of information and support, if required

Supporting youth work resources:  Media and Popular Culture


Work with young women 

For many young women their hopes and dreams are shaped by the celebrity culture around them, and this impacts on their life choices. This training day offers ideas to motivate and inspire young women by exploring gender stereotypes, raising self-esteem and building confidence to enable them to fulfill their potential and reach achievable goals.

Based on Vanessa’s book ‘Working with Young Women – activities for exploring personal, social and emotional issues’ published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers, the day provides a framework for work with young women aged 11-19.

Learning outcomes
This workshop will:

  • Look at ways to build emotional resilience and raise self esteem
  • Offer ideas to motivate, build confidence and develop assertiveness skills
  • Consider the media and the impact it has on young women’s relationship expectations
  • Try out activities that define and promote positive friendships as well as personal relationships
  • Explore gender stereotypes and ways to challenge them
  • Try out a range of activities to use within a groupwork context
  • Promote good practice examples of gender empowerment

Supporting Youth Work Resource Book: Working with Young Women

Social media, selfies & sexting

According to statistics the average person in the UK has at least three social media accounts. Sparking debate, enabling creativity and connecting people the world over, it has changed the way we communicate for ever. But despite the clear advantages, as the number of social media platforms increase so do concerns about its misuse and the impact this can have on people's lives.  

This workshop concentrates on exploring the attitudes and values behind the misuse of social media and promotes positive online behaviour and responsible digital citizenship. It offers activities to challenge the trend for sharing intimate pictures and messages that can leave young people feeling isolated and vulnerable. This includes the misuse of social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat and considers the potential risks of making, sharing and receiving inappropriate ‘selfies’ and intimate videos. As well as considering the impact poor decisions can have, it also outlines the laws to protect children and young people from exploitation and harm.



This training is based on ‘Cyberbullying - Activities to Help Children and Teens to Stay Safe in a Texting, Twittering, Social Networking World’ by Vanessa Rogers and published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Learning outcomes
This workshop will:

  • Consider how and why young people use the internet and social networking sites
  • Raise awareness about risky behaviour on social media
  • Offer a quick guide to the laws that protect and safegaurd children and young people
  • Try out activities that raise awareness with children and young people about the risks and potential consequences of sending and receiving inappropriate images
  • Look at ways that professionals working with young people can support victims

Supporting Youth Work Resource Book: Cyberbullying

Young people & alcohol 

The issue of young people's alcohol consumption is one that has attracted wide publicity and is a major concern for anyone working with young people. In particular the risks related to 'binge' drinking. Interactive and based on the JKP publication, 'The Little Book of Alcohol', this workshop is packed with activities to use with young people that raise awareness, give knowledge, build resilience skills & promote discussion.

Learning outcomes
Participants will have the opportunity to:

  • Explore attitudes and values around alcohol
  • Try out a range of activities to use with young people in a range of social education environments
  • Consider binge drinking and risky behaviours
  • Look at gender issues
  • Share good practice

Supporting Youth Work Resource Book: A Little Book of Alcohol

Let's talk sex and relationships

Recent research has revealed that many young men say that SRE leaves them bored, disinterested and without the support that they need. As the ability to develop positive and safe relationships is fundamental to emotional wellbeing it is important that new approaches are developed that move away from the purely biological to include feelings, aspirations and values, with a focus on the importance of relationships.

This training day, based on Vanessa’s book, ‘Let’s Talk Relationships’ published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers, focuses on building positive personal relationships. It offers participants the opportunity to explore relationships bullying, aspirations, staying safe and boundary setting through a wide range of activities and ideas that can be used in with young people in an informal education setting. Additionally it includes ideas to promote discussion and self-reflection in young people aiming to equip them to feel more confident, develop respect for themselves and others and hopefully make healthy relationship choices.

Learning outcomes
This training day will:

  • Equip participants with a wide range of resources to use with young people to explore love and relationships
  • Consider what a positive relationship is
  • Share good practice examples of successful projects

Supporting Youth Work Resource Book:  Let's Talk Relationships