For youth work practices to advance, co-operation and synergies between member states' public authorities, youth organisations and the Council of Europe youth department are essential. Member states are encouraged to develop their youth work policy and practice and to adopt a range of measures that will strengthen the support youth work needs at local, regional, national and European levels.
Here are a number of measures members states can undertake:
- Translate and disseminate (in accessible formats) the text of the Recommendation to relevant authorities and stakeholders (click here to see which versions are available);
- In co-ordination with other relevant policy sectors, prepare strategies, frameworks, legislation, sustainable structures and resources that promote equal access to youth work for all young people;
- Establish 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;
- Foster national and European research on the different forms of youth work and their value, impact and merit;
- Promote the sharing of practices and exchange of experiences among partners and stakeholders at both national and European levels;
- Support the development of appropriate forms of review and evaluation of youth work.
Below you will find information about developments in member states' and states parties' youth work policy and practices.
The information in this section has been provided by the CDEJ members and is their responsibility.
Austria has recently introduced a Competence Framework for Youth Work to make youth workers' competences and quality standards visible and comparable. It stimulates the development of key competences which benefit children and young people. People inside the working field are encouraged to networking, co-operations, development and mutual recognition of education.
Further information: Competence Framework for Youth Workers [only in German]
Flemish Community : Translation of Recommendation CM/Rec(2017)4 of the Committee of Ministers to member States on youth work
Bosnia and Herzegovina
The Ministry for Demography, Family, Youth and Social Policy (within which the new Directorate for Demographic Development, Family, Children and Youth is responsible for youth policy) recognises the importance of youth work development and therefore is developing a concept of professionalisation of youth work in Croatia.
The project "Support to the Development and Expansion of Youth Work in Croatia" was approved in July 2018, funding from the European Social Fund is envisaged. The duration of the project is 24 months. Implementation of project has started: a project administrative assistant has been appointed and the public procurement procedure started.
The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports created in May 2015 an Expert Group to examine the possibilities for co-operation between youth work and social work reflecting the connections between the two. The Group operates under the Youth Chamber, a cross-sectoral advisory body of the minister responsible for youth. In 2018, the Group identified the main issues and challenges that need to be tackled, and set the main priority to support NEETs in socially excluded areas.
A seminar for youth workers and social workers was organised in September 2018 which focused on developing basic infrastructure for emerging youth work in close co-operation with social work in municipalities; building capacities of youth NGOs; strengthening the exchange of knowledge and experiences among those involved in youth work and social work through joint projects.
Translation of Recommendation CM/Rec(2017)4 to member States on youth work
A systematic approach to the development of a youth work quality system in the Czech Republic has been revised based on the Recommendation. Budgetary allocation specifically for youth work has been adapted to new requirements and the allocated funds have increased in a significant way for the years 2018 and 2019.
The Ministry of Education and Culture and the Human Resources Development Authority are in dialogue with the National Youth Council and the Youth Board of Cyprus to investigate the possibility of setting up occupational standards for youth workers on the basis of the Council of Europe's recommendation on youth work (CM/Rec(2017)4).
To increase access to youth work services for all children and young people, Smart youth work was one of the priorities of the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, the conclusions on smart youth work were adopted.
The concept of smart youth work was adopted in 2017, it promotes the inclusion of young people, the needs of youth workers for implementing smart youth work, the quality of youth work and digital literacy development. A free “Toolbox for smart ones” has been created with information on smart youth work, digital literacy, etc. A resource and information portal Teeviit informs young people (7-26 years old) of their rights and services available to them as well as providing opportunities and support for acknowledging and documenting the learning that takes place in youth work.
The occupational standard for youth workers (revised in 2017) describes the main competence requirements for youth workers. It supports the current and future needs of the youth field for the provision of an enabling environment and conditions for innovative youth work, making use of and addressing digital media and technologies. It supports the professionalism of youth workers and sets directions for training. Altogether, there are more than 3 000 certified youth workers in Estonia. In 2018, interactive workshops to introduce the job of youth workers were launched.
The 6th Youth Work Forum took place on 4-5 October 2018, where input was collected in order to set new goals.
The Estonian Youth Work Centre supports local municipalities to expand the possibilities in youth work, thanks to which local municipalities and organisations working with young people co-operate more closely and engage more young people in youth work, including those at risk of exclusion. All 79 municipalities are involved.
Estonia implements actively Youth Guarantee scheme. Youth work measures are part of the YG in terms of prevention of exclusion, outreach work with NEETs, improvement of employability, and generally, skills and better knowledge on youth.
The Finnish Government adopted a National Youth Work and Youth Policy Programme (2017-19) on 12 October 2017. The programme includes the objectives and measures determined by the key ministries for promoting young people’s growth and living conditions. In addition, it sets out the guidelines for supporting youth work and related activities, including the key criteria for eligibility for state aid for the national youth work centres of expertise. The programme also establishes the national objectives for youth activities in the European and international context.
The Ministry of Education and Culture has approved the youth work centres of expertise for the years 2018-19. Youth work centres of expertise develop and promote basic and special expertise as well as expert and other services in youth-related issues by generating, compiling, making use of or sharing knowledge and information on young people, youth work or youth policy.
A portal with national statistics on municipal youth work, youth workshops and outreach youth work has been developed by the Regional State Administrative Agencies in co-operation with the Ministry of Education and Culture. The statistics are available in Swedish and English.
Organisation of a seminar on Education and training pathways of youth workers, on 20-22 February 2019, Helsinki, organised in the framework of the Chairmanship of Finland of the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers and hosted by the Ministry of Education and Culture. The outcomes of the seminar will be used to contribute to a youth work agenda in both the CM chairmanship and the EU presidency.
3rd European Youth Work Convention, Germany, 2020, organised during the German Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers and Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
Translation of Recommendation CM/Rec(2017)4 to member States on youth work and its explanatory memorandum
The Minister of Education, Science and Culture has begun the work on policy on Youth Work (Youth work being a part of the Youth Act). Recommendation CM/Rec (2017)4 is one of the key documents that will be used in this work and has now been translated in Icelandic: Recommendation CM/Rec(2017)4 to member States on youth work and its explanatory memorandum
The European Charter on local youth work, Europe Goes Local, has been translated and an implementation strategy is in place.
Irish Youth Legislation
Youth work has been enhancing the lives of young people and adults in Ireland for more than 100 years. It was given formal statutory recognition in the Youth Work Act 2001, which defines youth work as:
A planned programme of education designed for the purpose of aiding and enhancing the personal and social development of young people through their voluntary involvement, and which is complementary to their formal, academic or vocational education and training and provided primarily by voluntary youth work organisations.
This act created the space to provide grants for youth work and enable the development of organisations and people providing youth work programmes and services, and to establish youth councils.
At national level, in Italy, the concept of “youth work" is not clearly defined by law and the profession of "Youth Worker" is not recognized. In 2017, a national law regulated the professions of “educator” and “health worker”. However, since the law requires the obtainment of a bachelor degree, it does not reflect the reality of all existing youth workers, especially those who have been volunteering in youth organizations. At regional level, some Regions adopted “youth acts” that support youth workers and promote their activities and training. The situation is quite fragmented. This is why, the Department is exploring the possibility of adopting legislation that will create a coherent framework for the promotion of quality youth work at national level.
The 2017 study on youth work at national and local level identified the main issues and challenges in the youth field that need to be tackled. These include providing basic infrastructure for emerging youth work in municipalities; building capacities of youth NGOs; strengthening exchange of knowledge and experiences among those involved in youth work through joint projects and collecting disaggregated data on young people having emigrated to ensure not only their societal inclusion but also effective youth policy planning.
The Ministry of Education and Science organises an annual contest for “The Best in Youth Work” which expresses the Ministry of Education and Science's appreciation to local governments, those involved in youth work, as well as to youth organisations and associations that perform youth work thus investing in improving the quality of life of young people.
The formulation and implementation of Lithuanian youth policy is focusing on the following activities:
- building capacities of open youth centres and spaces;
- promoting new forms of open youth work – street youth work and mobile youth work;
- adopting a new youth law;
- creating a national system of youth volunteering;
- conducting studies and research on youth policy and promoting active youth participation.
To define youth work at national level, co-ordination meetings with youth organisations, the Centre for Vocational Education and Training and the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy have been conducted.
The Portuguese Association of Professional Youth Workers was established in 2018 to enable the development and consolidation of youth work recognition as a profession and also a voluntary activity.Translation of Recommendation CM/Rec(2017)4 of the Committee of Ministers to member States on youth work.
Currently there are three main youth work policy processes at national level, introduced by the National Association of Youth Workers - NAPOR:
1. Further steps in the recognition of youth workers as an occupation -The process of developing and approving the qualification (that will be part of National Qualification Framework) is expected to be completed by the end of 2020.
2. Development of Rural Youth Work Strategy – Methodology for the national research about needs of rural youth and youth workers practicing in rural areas is prepared.
3. In January 2020, the NAPOR General Assembly adopted the Strategic plan 2020-2022 that is focusing on: developing mechanism and instruments for: a) Measuring impact of youth work; b) Creating evidence-based research in youth work; c) Creating a knowledge base for youth work and youth policy at the national level.
The following steps have been taken for the implementation of the Recommendation on youth work:
- AMENDMENT TO THE YOUTH LAW
Act No. 282/2008 Coll. on youth work support was amended in October 2019 after 11 years of implementation, the new regulations are valid since 1.1.2020. The Youth Department prepared a draft amendment to the Act in cooperation with various youth policy stakeholders. In 2019, several meetings and round tables were held to identify a number of suggestions that were incorporated into the proposal. The result of this effort is the approved amendment to the Act, which was agreed by all parties involved and which also received the support of MPs of the National Council of the Slovak Republic.
- NEW QUALITY STANDARDS FOR YOUTH WORK
The next ongoing process in 2020 regarding youth work is the preparation of new quality standards. These standards should boost the quality of youth work in Slovakia and will also be used as conditions for obtaining a quality label “Modern Youth Centre” issued by the Ministry. Quality standards will have more levels and should also serve as a tool for improvement for various organisations. Standards are also prepared in a very participatory way and will be published in summer 2020.
In March 2018, the Swedish Agency for Youth and Civil Society was commissioned by the government to support municipalities and other actors working with young people not in education, employment or training. The agency will, inter alia, create local conditions for more efficient activities that can provide early and co-ordinated efforts directed towards young people.
For the effective implementation of Recommendation CM/Rec (2017)4 on youth work, a national programme entitled "Youth Worker" has been successfully implemented. Within this programme, 45 regional basic trainings and five training for trainers’ were organised in 2017, training about 800 youth workers. Seven specialised trainings were held for a total number of 123 participants.