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Young people, mentoring and social inclusion

Newburn, Tim and Shiner, Michael (2006) Young people, mentoring and social inclusion. Youth Justice, 6 (1). pp. 23-41. ISSN 1473-2254

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Identification Number: 10.1177/1473225406063450


Mentoring is the latest in a long line of interventions with disaffected young people that is believed to hold considerable promise. However, the expansion of mentoring schemes in recent years has been based more on faith in what are perceived to be the merits of the approach rather than on robust empirical evidence that mentoring actually brings about the benefits expected of it. This paper reports the results of the largest British study of mentoring to date. Built around a longitudinal survey and depth interviews with programme workers and participants, the research sought to measure the impact of a particular group of mentoring programmes. The evidence from the study suggests that the programmes were particularly successful in increasing young people’s involvement in education, training and work, but less successful in reducing offending. This is unsurprising, we argue, given that much of the core content of the programmes centred on education, training and work and contained relatively little activity focused on the avowed aim of reducing offending. Moreover the programmes were generally under-theorised, failing to provide an explicit model of how and why change was to be brought about. The danger for these and similar programmes is that they will be perceived to fail to deliver and, despite their promise, will become the latest ‘silver bullet’ to be talked up and then cast aside.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2006 The National Association for Youth Justice
Divisions: Social Policy
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
Date Deposited: 18 Jun 2013 15:01
Last Modified: 14 Jan 2024 06:12

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