Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.
Skip to main content
European Commission logo
EACEA National Policies Platform


10. Youth work

10.5 Youth workers

Last update: 29 March 2024
On this page
  1. Status in national legislation

There is no legal or regulatory authority for youth work as a 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 at national or regional level. 


  1. Education, training and skills recognition

There is not a specific educational programme leading to a qualification as youth worker. However, university colleges in Flanders offer a graduate programme in social-cultural work and the professional bachelor in social work, option social-cultural work. At university level, the master of social work and the master of agogical sciences also provide a relevant basis for working – amongst others – in the field of youth work. 

Youth associations can offer a training programme to people in order to obtain a certificate as an animator, head animator or instructor in youth work. This training has been radically changed since October 2015. Before then, organisations had a lot of freedom in setting up their courses. With the new Flemish Decree on Framework Training Trajectories in 2014, all the regulations were harmonised which lessened the freedom of the individual organisations. 

The Decree of the Flemish Government of May 9, 2014 on framework training programs regulates the competencies and competency profiles of animator, head animator and instructor, and lays down the conditions and rules with which the training programs, application and recognition must comply.

Each program consists of a theoretical part of minimum 50 and maximum 55 hours and a supervised internship of 50 hours. The specific requirements for supervision depend on the programs themselves. The age and competency requirements for the participants are also different for each program. The detailed conditions can be found here.

To obtain a certificate, participating young people must successfully complete the entire pathway: theory and internship.

The following associations can set up training programmes to obtain a certificate as an animator, head 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.
  1. Mobility of youth workers

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 three 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 is JINT vzw.