10.3 Support to youth work
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In some countries Youth Work has been recognized and institutionalized. In the case of Greece, Youth Work is considered to belong to the sphere of non-formal and informal learning through the activities that will be followed in the context of meeting the needs of groups and organizations of young people. Youth Work is inspired by a series of values and methods at a European level which mainly constitute the voluntary employment of young people and their voice being heard from different cultural and social environments.
In the recent Strategic Plan for Vocational Education, Training, Lifelong Learning and Youth 2022-2024, it is stated that the policy in the field of youth concerns measures and policies that will facilitate young people from the world of education to the world of work. It is pinpointed that the Vocational Education, Training and Lifelong Learning and Youth strategy is based on the basic principles of the strategy for the youth policy area. A key principle is "the recognition of the work of those who work with/for young people" (Youth Work, Youth Workers).
In the youth pillar, the strategic goals of Vocational Education, Training, Lifelong Learning and Youth also concern the institutional recognition and support of youth organizations and all those who work with/for young people (Youth Workers).
Through its activities, Erasmus+ is directly linked to youth work and youth workers. Erasmus+ key action 1, Learning Mobility of Individuals, includes mobility projects for youth workers aimed at contributing to the professional development of people working in the youth sector. At the same time, it supports them to build a community, adopt good practices and improve the quality of projects for young people.
Also in accordance with the national priorities 2023 of the Erasmus+ program, for the youth & sports sector and the European Solidarity Corps, the two programs for the year 2023 have as a priority, among others, the institutional recognition of Youth Work and Youth Volunteering in Greece, as they constitute among others, an integral part of youth activism and the promotion of learning, cultural and physical mobility of young people.
An important innovation of Erasmus+ key action 1 is the funding of Erasmus+ accredited bodies.
The European Solidarity Corps (“ESC")is a European Union funding program that creates opportunities for young people who wish to volunteer and implement their own solidarity projects that will benefit communities across Europe. The program aims to strengthen the participation of young people and organizations in accessible and high-quality solidarity activities, as means of strengthening cohesion, solidarity, democracy, European identity and active participation in the European Union and beyond, addressing social and humanitarian challenges on the ground, with a particular focus on promoting sustainable development, social inclusion and equal opportunities.
The European Solidarity Corps makes it possible to carry out activities such as solidarity projects and volunteering projects. More specifically, solidarity projects are activities lasting from 2 to 12 months. They are organized, implemented and promoted at a national level by the young people themselves. They implement groups of at least 5 young people aged 18 to 30 years old, where through specific activities they face the key challenges of their local community. Participating in a solidarity project is an important non-formal learning experience through which young people can enhance their personal, educational and social development. And volunteering schemes which enable young people aged 18 to 30 to take part in volunteering activities and contribute to tackling social issues in areas such as inclusion and diversity, sustainability and environmental protection. Volunteering can take place in a country other than the participant's country of residence or in their country of residence. Young people can volunteer individually or in groups, and activities can last up to 12 months. For the participation of an organization in the volunteer projects, the acquisition of Quality Label is a precondition. It is a process which certifies that an organization is able to implement high-quality volunteering activities in accordance with the principles, objectives and quality standards of the European Solidarity Corps, as defined in the official program guide. Quality Label applications can be submitted at any time during the program.
It is important to mention the contribution of the Youth and Lifelong Learning Foundation, with the implementation of the new phase of Lifelong Learning Centers, in which non-formal education actions are carried out and are aimed at adults regardless gender, country of origin, religion, with sole precondition their interest in knowledge and active participation.
The cooperation framework between organizations and institutions related to Youth Work can be implemented by Erasmus+ key action 2, which provides for cooperation partnerships and small-scale partnerships.
youthwork.gr is an initiative of the Hellenic Youth Workers Association, which consists of workers, employees and volunteers in the youth sector in Greece. It was founded in 2017 and officially operates as a non-profit association. It participates, as appropriate, in the European Commission's Sub-Group on Youth Work, which supports the operation of a wider Expert Group in the Youth Policy Field.
The purpose of the association is:
- The creation of a framework for recognition and certification of professions
- The recognition of the social contribution of the profession of Youth Worker and work with young people
- The contribution to the drawing up and implementation of a national strategy for youth
- The promotion and recognition of non-formal and informal learning in the youth sector
- The promotion of work with young people in society
- The scientific documentation of work with young people
- The cooperation with organizations that recognize and support the objectives of the association
- The membership in associations / federations of similar interest at home country and abroad
- The creation of an observatory for research and evaluation of the results of the work of Youth Worker
Also, the Hellenic Youth Workers Association is the representative and communication body (National Contact) for the "Bonn Process", which is a joint effort to implement the "European Agenda for work with/for the youth". The Bonn Process takes place at all levels – local, regional, national and European. The national level plays a key role in making the Bonn Process and the implementation of the European Agenda feasible and successful for the benefit of young people.
Regarding the mobility of young people, the Erasmus+ program for the period 2021-2027, with a budget of 28 billion euros, concerns the fields of Education, Training, Youth and Sports. The Youth and Lifelong Learning Foundation (I.NE.DI.VI.M.) is designated by Ministerial Decision as the National Organization / National Coordinating Unit of the Erasmus+ program for the Youth and Sports sectors.