“When high-quality youth work supports young people, civil society grows stronger and active citizenship is promoted. An active civil society is essential in building democracy”, stated Sampo Terho, Minister for European Affairs, Culture and Sports of Finland. Snežana Samardžić-Marković, Council of Europe Director General of Democracy said “Youth work is essential if we want to keep a sense of civic engagement alive in the young people of today and tomorrow. Europe needs its young people more than ever, so as to make sure our democratic values live on”.
The Minister and the Director General of Democracy were speaking at the opening of this week’s seminar on education and training pathways of youth workers which is being organised within the framework of Finland’s chairmanship of the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers. The seminar is tackling one of the major challenges facing youth workers and that is the huge discrepancy between training and education provisions for both volunteer and paid youth workers. “The Council of Europe has played, and continues to play, a key role in the development of Finnish youth work and youth policies”, underlined Minister Terho explaining how the Council of Europe’s review of Finnish youth policy in 1997 had laid the foundation for Finland’s youth policy reforms over the following decades. “If we seek to improve the standards of youth work, we must invest in developing the youth workers’ education and training in Europe. Peer learning and practical training and coaching can accelerate the exchange of good practices and innovations while raising the youth workers’ profile.” Minister Terho’s words are grounded in the experience of Finland where youth work and youth policy enjoy a strong position in public policy. High standards of training and development ensure a high-quality, innovative and professional approach.
The 150 participants are stakeholders in the provision of youth work, representing local, regional and national authorities responsible for the development of youth work in their countries, professional/paid and voluntary youth workers, youth work educators and trainers, researchers, as well as young people and NGOs active in youth work training.
The Council of Europe’s recommendation on youth work is the first, and so far the only international document offering standards for youth work. It suggests also the development of a coherent and flexible competency-based framework for the education and training of paid and volunteer youth workers that takes into account existing practice, new trends and arenas, as well as the diversity of youth work.
Speech by Sampo Terho, Minister for European Affairs, Culture and Sports of Finland
Speech by Snežana Samardžić-Marković, Director General of Democracy, Council of Europe
More information on the seminar
More information on the youth work recommendation and the work of the task force