10.5 Youth workers
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Status in National Legislation
Currently, there are no top-level policies, measures or guidelines regulating the status of Youth Workers in the country. However, law 4763/2020 mentions the drafting of proposals, the creation of an institutional framework for the recognition and protection of volunteers, as well as workers with and for young people (Youth Workers).
There are no specific criteria for Youth Workers nor minimum qualifications and specific pedagogical and educational skills. A description of the profession of Youth Worker is given by the Hellenic Youth Workers Association. In particular, the Youth Worker implements and evaluates educational and other programs, which:
- Aim at supporting and enriching the personal and social development of young people through their voluntary participation and contribution
- Are complementary to the formal, academic or vocational education and training of young people
- Are implemented – mainly – by voluntary youth counseling organizations (Youth Work)
Education, training and skills recognition
There are no specific diplomas, university degrees and post-graduate qualifications that assign specific qualifications required to become a Youth Worker. It is common for people working with/for young people to come from specific higher education specialties, such as social work, sociology, psychology and generally within the framework of social or educational sciences. However, this is not mandatory, thus offering the possibility to anyone interested to become a Youth Worker focusing on learning activities that promote cooperation and the development of metacognitive and horizontal social skills.
Since Youth Work is considered to be part of the broader set of non-formal and informal learning, people interested in becoming Youth Workers can attend Lifelong Learning programs, seminars aimed at strengthening and enriching their skills.
A Youth Worker works:
- In Youth structures of the public sector (Youth Centers, Youth Information Centers, Support structures for Schools-Institutions, National Authorities, Sectors of youth strategy, Ministries, Social agencies, etc.)
- In Youth structures of the private sector (Youth Organizations, NGOs, Associations, Educational Institutions, Social agencies, etc.)
- Providing independent services to the aforementioned structures
In the direction of institutionalizing educational planning, there is care to utilize established methodological tools in the field of non-formal education and adult education, adopting basic theoretical principles such as experiential learning, participation, active learning and social inclusion. This planning is expected to compose a final Training Guide which will constitute the basic tool for developing actions.
Mobility of Youth Workers
Erasmus+ Youth Key Action 1 offers exchange and cooperation opportunities at international level through the Youth Worker mobility scheme. It contributes to the achievement of the objectives of the EU strategy for youth 2019-2027 — and in particular the European agenda for socio-educational activities for young people. More specifically, mobility plans for youth workers aim at:
- providing non-formal and informal learning opportunities for educational and vocational training of youth workers, contributing to high quality individual practice, as well as the development of youth work organizations and systems
- building a community of youth workers capable of supporting the quality of programs and activities for young people in the framework of EU programs and beyond them
- the development of local youth work practices and the contribution, development of skills for quality youth work of both the participants and their organization, with a clear impact on the usual youth work of youth workers