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Youth Work Act provides the legal basis for the organization and financing of youth work, including the youth work with a view to foster social inclusion. The Act defines the main terms used in the youth field, main institutions, organizations and forms of youth work, the principles of youth work, financing of youth work, etc. The Act describes the division of tasks regarding youth work of the Ministry of Education and Research and local municipality. The Act defines municipal and local youth councils.
The policy goals of youth work are described in the Youth Field Development Plan 2014-2020. The document outlines strategic goals in the field of youth. The main goal introduced in the development plan is to provide young people with opportunities for development and self-realization which support a socially coherent and creative society in general.
See chapter 1.3 for a description of the scope, content and implementation mechanism of the development plan. By the end of 2020, a new follow-up development plan for the years 2021-2035 will be confirmed by the Parliament.
The programmes described in chapter 4.4 include the most prominent initiatives in youth work targeting specifically vulnerable young people. Chapter 4.4. provides information on the content, target groups and funding of these programmes. Youth organizations have been consulted in designing the programmes.
The HUKK-AP project was part of the Children and Youth at Risk programme described in chapter 4.5. The project was carried out from 1 January 2014–30 April 2016 by the Foundation Archimedes Youth Agency (starting from 01.01.2021 the Department of Youth Programs of the Agency of Erasmus+ and European Solidarity Corps). The HUKK-AP project offered the organizers of hobby activities a chance to develop solutions that support the inclusion of young people with fewer opportunities in hobby activities more than the current methods. In cooperation with the Archimedes Foundation’s Youth Agency, the city governments of Pärnu and Tartu, VitaTiim and Urban Style non-governmental organizations, 59 of their local partners and 16 hobby activity teams that participated in the development programme, created new forms of activities and approaches for including young people as part of the project. Hobby activity instructors and youth work organizers were also trained. An important part of the project’s activities was aimed at young people aged 7-17, who, for many reasons (health, disability, special educational needs, geographical or socio-economic restrictions) had not participated in hobby activities thus far. A tool for measuring the impact of the project and hobby activities was also created. See the publication about results “Anything is possible! The Summary of the HUKK-AP Project – the Programme of Involving and Developing Hobby Schools. Experiences, activities and results” published by the Foundation Archimedes Youth Agency (starting from 01.01.2021 the Department of Youth Programs of the Agency of Erasmus+ and European Solidarity Corps).
Youth work, in general, is provided in Estonia by the local governments. The most important organizations and institutions involved in the actual offer of youth work services are:
- Youth and youth work NGOs;
- Youth centres;
- Hobby schools;
- Youth camps;
The conducting, managing and evaluating youth work contains the following main parts in Estonia:
- Policy goals are set at the level of Government of the Republic together with the budget allocation to the youth work, including resources from financial instruments, which the Government has the right to decide the allocation of.
- The Ministry of Education and Research together with the Estonian Youth Work Centre (starting from 01.08.2020, the Education and Youth Board) as a national youth work agency is responsible for the proposal of changes, monitoring and coordination of the implementation of the policy in cooperation with other ministries and public institutions. The Ministry and/or Education and Youth Board can contract local governments and other youth work providers or their umbrella organizations, universities etc to finance the services that are defined in the policy plans. Starting from 01.01.2021, the Foundation Archimedes Youth Agency was joint with the Education and Youth Board, and it became the Department of Youth Programs of the Agency of Erasmus+ and European Solidarity Corps (NA for the Erasmus+ programme - cooperation regarding the financial support to youth projects from Erasmus+ programme; increasing the possibilities of international cooperation and the usage of its results; increasing the professionalization of youth workers, including through the development of level education and trainings and monitoring the competences; supporting the activities and sustainable development of the NA).
- Local governments are responsible for provision, planning and implementation of youth work. Local Governments can establish municipal institutions for the provision of services or contract private institutions, including non-profit organisations such as youth organizations etc.
- Universities provide professional formal education for youth workers based on national occupational standards for youth workers.
- The evaluation is done at the national level based on the Youth Field Development Plan 2014-2020 by the Ministry of Education and Research and reported to the Government yearly. The local governments are responsible for the evaluation of the provision of youth work services; there are supporting mechanisms created by the Estonian Youth Work Centre (starting from 01.08.2020 Education and Youth Board) to support the evaluation. Youth organizations, youth clubs etc that are private NGOs are responsible for their internal evaluation mechanisms.
The public funding is available, however, it is difficult to show the number allocated to youth work providers to support their capacity in the field of social inclusion of young people as it can be considered as a general aim of all youth work in Estonia.
Professional formal education (BA or equivalent and MA level) is available for youth workers at two universities: Tallinn University and Tartu Univerisity, which is providing opportunities to study in Narva College and in Viljandi Cultural Academy.
To support capacities of youth work sector to work towards social inclusion of young people, there was a programme “Development of youth worker training” established by the Ministry of Education and Research with the funding from ESF and state budget for the years 2014-2020. Youth Agency in the Foundation Archimedes (starting from 01.01.2021 the Department of Youth Programs of the Agency of Erasmus+ and European Solidarity Corps) was responsible for implementing the programme. The programme provides training for youth workers, training for trainers, supports the development of training materials and development of training quality.
Education and Youth Board, a governmental institution under the administration of the Ministry of Education and Research, has a wide range of tasks for the implementation of youth policy and the development of youth work, including the implementation different programmes supporting the capacity building of youth work providers, development of youth work quality and ints instruments etc.
The public funding in addition to the programmes initiated by the Government and described in this chapter is available, however, it is difficult to show the number allocated to youth work providers to support their capacity in the field of social inclusion of young people as it can be considered as a general aim of all youth work in Estonia.
The funding of youth policy including youth work is described in chapter 1.8. The main sources of funding include the state budget, local budgets, EU support.
The mechanisms to monitor and ensure the quality of measures in youth work are subject to the overall mechanism of policy monitoring and evaluation, and the outcomes of it, described in chapter 4.2, the programmes described are in addition subject to the mechanisms derived from the financial instrument they are financed from (see chapter 4.5).
There are following indicators defined in the Youth Field Development plan 2014-2020 and these indicators are relevant to all activities aimed at and financed for achieving the objectives of the plan:
- the proportion of young people (aged 18-24) with a basic or lower level of education who do not continue in education
- the youth unemployment rate for the age group 15-24
- involvement of young people in youth work (% of the total number of young people)
- regional availability of youth work provision
- number of opportunities for organized participation (youth councils and other participation structures)
- the satisfaction of young people with youth work
- the proportion of youth workers taking part in training per year