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In France, the term “youth work” does not have a single definition and refers to a variety of actions and administrative contexts. According to the National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE - Institut national de la statistique et des études économiques), youth work “aims to bring about the social integration of certain categories of the population [including young people] and improve social relations between their members, and, more generally, promote cultural life in a community”.
The youth work sector has seen many changes over the years, in particular as regards the training and qualification of youth workers, accompanied by greater visibility of the youth work sector. Specialised websites and youth-worker fora, as well as public websites such as those run by local authorities, which provide youth activities and youth-worker training, participate in the dissemination of information on careers in youth work. Information, counselling and guidance bodies (See 3.4 Career Guidance and counselling) such as the National Office for Information on Education and the Professions (ONISEP – Office national d'information sur les enseignements et les professions) provide information on careers in youth work.
Among institutional websites, the jeunes.gouv.fr site promotes the Brevet d’Aptitude aux Fonctions d’Animateur (BAFA –Certificate of competency for youth workers), which enables its holders to supervise children and teenagers during their holidays and recreational activities, and such vocational an pofessional certificates in youth work.
In order to promote public awareness on youth work and formal and non-formal education, the Ministry responsible for youth affairs has set up a BAFA - BAFD (Brevet d’ aptitude aux fonctions de directeur / Certificate of competency in directorial functions) mobile site for tablets and smartphones, on which some 800,000 applicants are listed and 13 million registered. The site is intended for all young people likely to be interested in occasional supervision of holiday and leisure centres during school holidays and out-of-school periods, as well as in a career as a youth worker.