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EACEA National Policies Platform


10. Youth work

10.8 Current debates and reforms

Last update: 12 March 2024
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  1. Forthcoming policy developments
  2. Ongoing debates

Forthcoming policy developments

After the National Youth Programme 2014-2017 expired, youth work has a more prominent place in the new programme compared to the old one, encompassing an entire priority area.

Also, during 2020, the Supporting Evidence-based Education of Youth Workers (SEEYW) project initiated the process of developing occupational and qualification standards for the youth worker profession. This will pave the way for the development of formal and non-formal education and training programmes for youth workers and further professionalization of the field.

University of Rijeka is expected to host a lifelong learning and tertiary-level education programme for youth workers, based on the findings of the SEEYW project.


Ongoing debates

The current state of youth work development in Croatia is characterised by a strong initiative towards professionalization, led by a group of youth workers, researchers, and other experts. This primarily focuses on developing basic professional standards in youth work practice and training youth workers to enhance the quality and scope of youth work provision. This initiative still needs wider support from youth work organisations and youth workers across the country. There are opposing voices that fear professionalization of youth work would undermine the volunteering base on which most of youth work in Croatia still rests. Another concern is that professionalization would marginalise existing youth workers who lack formal qualification but possess youth work competencies and experience. This process will also touch upon other related professions that share some features of youth work and it will be necessary to jointly explore and negotiate boundaries, as well as points of convergence. Another big issue that should be explored is the impact of professionalization on the education system and the labour market.

Therefore, the next couple of years should be devoted to creating spaces for conversation between youth workers, youth organisations, young people, decision-makers, representatives of the education system, labour market experts, researchers, practitioners in related professions, and all other interested parties who might contribute to the inclusiveness and the quality of the process.