10.5 Youth workers
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There is no legal or regulatory authority for youth work as profession. The department Culture, Youth and Media stimulates and supports a rich and varied offer of non-commercial socio-cultural activities for young people, mainly through subsidies to organisations on national of regional level.
Youth associations can offer a framework training programme to young people in order to obtain a certificate as an animator, chief animator or instructor in youth work. Each route consists of a theoretical part, a supervised work placement and an evaluation. Since October 2015, the framework reform paths have been radically changed and the new regulations on framework reform have been included in the decree on the renewed youth and children's rights policy. In the past, organisations had a great deal of freedom in setting up their courses, but with the new Flemish Decree on Framework Reform of 2014, the regulations were harmonised.
Certificate = course (50h) + internship (50h) + evaluation moment (4h/2h)
In the new regulations, a framework reform path consists of three main parts: Association organizes and supervises course of 50h.
- participant does internship (50h)
- The association organizes an evaluation moment (4h in group / 2h per individual)
- A participant who has completed each of the three elements can obtain a certificate.
Completion of a route takes place in a maximum of 3 years
Young people are obliged to complete their entire journey within three years. From the moment they experience their first day of the course until the end of the evaluation period, three years may pass.
Follow-up obligation for the association throughout the entire process
With the new Flemish Decree, organisations are now obliged to bring the participants back into the house for a moment of reflection after their supervised internship. This means that, as an association, you are responsible to organise a course, as well as an evaluation moment for participants who have completed their internship. This also implies that the organisations keep in touch throughout the course.
Working with a generic route booklet
The renewed decree stipulates that all participants will be followed up with the same instrument throughout their framework formation trajectory. In consultation with representatives of the youth work sector, the Youth department developed a generic route booklet for this purpose. This booklet will keep track of the progress of competence development during the course, as well as during the internship and the evaluation moment.
The following associations can set up training programmes to obtain a certificate as an animator, lead animator and instructor in youth work:
- Subsidised nationally organised youth associations
- Subsidised cultural education associations
- Subsidised associations information and participation
- Subsidised political youth movements
- Associations with a special assignment, such as De Ambrassade, VVJ, JINT, Children’s Rights Knowlegde Centre and the Children's Rights Coalition.
Since 2009, the Bel'J program has given young people between the ages of 12 and 30 and youth workers the opportunity to meet young people and/or youth workers from the other Belgian Communities. The 3 Belgian Ministers of Youth are convinced that these contacts should be encouraged. They therefore support this joint program with opportunities for leisure activities. One of the possibilities within this programme relates to mobility of youth workers to learn from each other, e.g. during job shadowing or training for youth work organisations. Approved projects receive a financial contribution to cover expenses. In each Community, an Agency has been appointed to implement the programme. For Flanders, this Agency JINT vzw.