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.
The main objectives
The concept of mobility of youth workers makes it possible to promote cooperation between youth workers and volunteers from different communities, to discover the diversity of youth work in the other community, to develop new methodologies and to set up networking projects to promote professional development.
This activity supports the professional development of youth workers through the implementation of activities such as transnational/international seminars, training courses, contact-promoting events, study visits, etc., or job shadowing/observation periods abroad with an organisation active in the youth field. All these activities may be coordinated and combined to meet the needs and desired impact identified by the participating organisations when organising the project. The professional development of the participating youth workers should contribute to the capacity building for high-quality youth work of their organisation and have a clear impact on the regular work with young people of the participating youth workers. The learning outcomes, including all material, innovative methods and tools, should be further disseminated within the youth field in order to contribute to quality improvements in youth work and/or to promote youth policy development and cooperation.
Examples of types of activities:
- Conferences and seminars: Youth workers from different countries meet for exchange and discussion on a specific theme linked to the priorities of Youth in Action.
- Courses/training courses: Youth workers from different countries gather knowledge, skills and methodologies to enhance the quality of their (inter)national activities.
- Partner-search seminars: in order to find suitable partners for a future Youth in Action project. Youth workers come from different countries and work with the same target group or around a central theme.
- Study visits: an international group of youth workers visit youth organisations in a given country. They work with a specific target group or around a specific theme. There is also room for discussion and reflection.
- Jobshadowing in another organisation active in youth work: A youth worker participates in another youth work organisation and gets insight in how the organisation works around a certain theme or with a specific target group.
The geographical scope of programmes/projects/initiatives
General information on the geographical scope of Erasmus+ and Youth in Action is described in chapter 2, section 2.5.
In 2019, the focus in the selection of projects will be on:
- reaching out to vulnerable young people, promoting diversity, intercultural and inter-religious dialogue, the common values of freedom, tolerance and respect for human rights, as well as projects promoting media literacy, developing critical thinking and initiative among young people
- Equipping youth workers with the competences and methods for their professional development, including digital youth work, necessary for communicating the common basic values of our society, in particular to young people who are difficult to reach, and for preventing violent radicalisation of young people.
Taking into account the critical context in Europe, and given that youth work, non-formal learning and volunteering can contribute to meeting the needs of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants and/or promote awareness of these issues in local communities, particular attention will also be paid in this context to supporting youth mobility projects involving or focusing on refugees/asylum seekers and migrants.