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EACEA National Policies Platform


10. Youth work

10.5 Youth workers

Last update: 28 November 2023
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  1. Status in national legislation
  2. Education, training and skills recognition
  3. Mobility of youth workers

Status in national legislation

Definition of Youth Workers provided by the website “Youth Work in Austria” (Jugendarbeit in Österreich)

A professionally qualified person who works full-time or volunteer in extra-curricular child and youth work. In Austria, different names are used for persons working in child and youth work, such as: B. Specialist of open child and youth work (Fachkraft der Offenen Kinder- und Jugendarbeit), youth information worker (JugendinformationsarbeiterIn), youth worker (JugendarbeiterIn, JugendbetreuerIn), youth worker, youth leader (JugendleiterIn) or child and youth group leader (Kinder- und JugendgruppenleiterIn).

The qualifications required of youth workers differ according to the setting and nature of their respective jobs. The underlying competences are presented in the "Competence framework for child and youth work" (Kompetenzrahmen für Kinder- und Jugendarbeit). The competence framework for child and youth work systematically presents and describes at different levels how people act competently in their work in extracurricular child and youth work.

It covers both the open youth work as well as children's and youth's associations in Austria. The Competence Framework is a translation tool from qualifications of child and youth work to the National Qualifications Framework (NQF). The NQF makes qualifications visible and comparable by the European Qualifications Framework across Europe. For people in and outside the field, the framework makes clear what people, who are active in youth work, do and what quality standards they have. It stimulates the development of key competences which benefits children and young people and motivates the increase of quality of the range of education. People inside the working field are encouraged to networking, co-operations, development and mutual recognition of education.

Nationwide network and website "Health-competent Youth Work" (Gesundheitskompetente Jugendarbeit)

The network "Health-competent Youth Work" was founded in 2016 by bOJA with the aim of networking, exchange and mutual learning. Professionals from the health and youth work area, from adjacent areas of activity such as child and youth welfare, the school, community work, in labour market policy projects and interested parties exchange in regular meetings on various youth-related health issues with different priorities.

The "Healthy Youth Work" (Gesunde Jugendarbeit) website, launched by bOJA in 2019, is a service platform that provides knowledge, good practice, a calendar of events and information on advanced networks and partner organisations for employees in extracurricular youth work.

Education, training and skills recognition

There is no statutory training for this profession.

All federal states have universities of applied sciences, where the study "social work" is offered on the level of a bachelor and/or master degree. At some there are special courses on youth social work.

University of Applied Sciences Burgenland (Fachhochschule Burgenland)

University of Applied Sciences Carinthia (Fachhochschule Kärnten)

University of Applied Sciences St Pölten (Lower Austria) (Fachhochschule St. Pölten, Niederösterreich)

University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria (Fachhochschule Oberösterreich)

University of Applied Sciences Salzburg (Fachhochschule Salzburg)

University of Applied Sciences Joanneum (Styria) (Fachhochschule Joanneum, Steiermark)

MCI - Management Center Innsbruck, Tyrol (MCI - Management Center Innsbruck, Tirol)

University of Applied Sciences Vorarlberg (Fachhochschule Vorarlberg)

University of Applied Sciences Campus Wien (Fachhochschule Campus Wien)

The necessary knowledge and skills are usually acquired in the context of short training, for example:

  • ifp – Institute for Leisure Education (ifp – Institut für Freizeit für Freizeitpädagogik) (together with the youth leader school of the association wienXtra): "Basic Course Youth Work"; duration: 207 lessons.
  • Alpenverein-Akademie” of the Österreichischer Alpenverein (Austrian Alpine Association): "Basic Course: Experience Mountain"; duration: 52 lessons.
  • Naturfreundejugend” (nature friends youth) "KiJu-LeiterIN Alpin" (children and youth leader alpine); duration: 2 weekends.

Furthermore, the ifp offers specially developed courses for selected areas of youth work. In these courses important, new, current topics are dealt with intensively and comprehensively theoretically and practically for youth work.

Courses at a glance

In addition to these courses a symposium (ifp- Fachtagung) in youth work related topics takes place and an education programme (Bildungsprogramm) is offered.

The symposium of the open youth work (bOJA-Fachtagung) is a conference that takes place each year in a different federal state and on changing relevant topics related to youth work.

aufZAQ – Certified quality of non-formal education in youth work (aufZAQ – Zertifizierte AusbildungsQualität für die Kinder – und Jugendarbeit)

“aufZAQ” is a certification of non-formal education and training courses for people active in youth work, provided by the Austrian Federal Chancellery, the Youth Departments of the Federal States of Austria and the Youth Work Department of the Autonomous Province of Bozen/Bolzano – South Tyrol. aufZAQ has been certifying the quality of trainings since 2003 and has thus been contributing actively to the recognition of non-formal education in the field of youth work.

aufZAQ developed the Competence Framework for Children and Youth Work. This competence model shows how people act competently in their work in children and youth work. It covers both the open youth work and children and youth work in youth organisations. The Competence Framework (Kompetenzrahmen) is a translation tool from qualifications of children and youth work to the Austrian National Qualifications Framework (NQF). In turn, the NQF makes qualifications visible and comparable through the European Qualifications Framework (EQF) across Europe. In particular, the competence framework is part of the aufZAQ certification.

Mobility of youth workers

Within the framework of "ERASMUS + Youth in Action" there is the possibility to attend various training and further education measures. The training calendar (Trainingskalender) can be found online.

ifp – Institute for Leisure Education (ifp – Institut für Freizeit für Freizeitpädagogik) also offers training and networking on an international level. Expert networking in the area of youth work across the Vienna borders. Study excursion - Viennese experts continue their education, exchange ideas, get to know other approaches and perspectives, and continue discussions in Vienna. Presentation of Viennese youth work in an international context - at delegations and at conferences. Inter / national delegations will be welcomed and visit the Vienna Youth Facilities. Children and youth exchange activities are organised and carried out.

As bOJA – the Centre of Competence for Open Youth work is also part of the poywe network (Professional Open Youth Work in Europe) and ECYC (European Confederation of Youthclubs), international exchange, study visits of professionals and youth meetings are possible for youth workers in open youth work.

The National Network of Youth Information Centres in Austria is part of the ERYICA Network and thus, training and events are provided for youth workers in youth information. 

SHERYICA - series of good practice in youth information

The Good Practice Booklet is a collection of successful stories from the network in order to learn, inspire, generate and develop new projects and ideas.

The National Youth Council is an active member of the European Youth Forum and additionally provides offers for young people in youth work.

Youth work institutions provide additional exchange and e.g. job shadowing within and outside their networks.