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EACEA National Policies Platform


10. Youth work

10.8 Current debates and reforms

Last update: 28 November 2023

At the end of 2021 a national working group for updating the occupational profile standards for youth affairs specialists and youth workers was renewed and it will work towards updating the professional standards for youth work field professions and creating according to education paths in Educational institutions.

In 2021 a National working group on the development of a common model for non-formal education for young people resumed work on formal recognition of non-formal education.

In 2019 Intermediate Evaluation Of Youth Policy Implementation Plan 2016-2020 was ordered and carried out to strengthen the work on new Youth Policy Implementation Plan development for 2021 – 2027. Intermediate Evaluation Of Youth Policy Implementation Plan 2016-2020 identified key challenges in youth work and youth policy. Summarizing the views and evaluations of the target groups expressed in quantitative surveys, interviews and discussions, as well as various previous studies and evaluations, several important problem areas in youth policy and youth work can be defined:


Human resources

Human resource scarcity has been highlighted for many years as an essential issue for the full potential of youth work. For example, although the number of municipalities with at least one youth worker is increasing, this does not in itself indicate that youth work is successful and meaningful. Most often, this work is done by one person (sometimes part-time), acting as both a youth specialist and a youth worker. In addition (and in this respect, the issue of funding comes up again), this is most often a low-paid job. The long-term effects are the high turnover of youth workers - about 1/3 of those involved in youth work only 2-3 years before the change of job. Not only does this have an impact on human resources as such, but also on the sustainability of the youth work system - while the sector is undergoing extensive and diverse training and capacity-building work, with high staff turnover, existing human resources are not sustainable and efficient, if a large number of people leave the sector in the next few years. This is also indirectly confirmed by the fact that one of the essential topics of the training required is the acquisition of the basic principles of youth work. In an ever-changing workforce, a lot of resources need to be invested in providing basic knowledge and competencies, thus not contributing to the sustainability of the sector.


Interinstitutional cooperation

Youth policy and youth work are highly inter-institutional and intersectoral. Although it is possible to set up youth councils at the municipal level, experience to date suggests that their work is mostly formal and irregular. At the same time, it is not possible to state unequivocally that the problem is precisely the reluctance of the institutions to cooperate (although it is often observed); rather, there is a lack of understanding, directly and indirectly, of the specific and practical activities each of the context. In this respect, one can also talk about recognizing youth work as such. It would be important to have a clear and practical definition of exactly what activities are (or are not) carried out within the framework of youth work, which would also allow for more 'Competition' with the general education sector & recognition of non-formal education.

The issue of 'competition' between formal and non-formal education is still being addressed. This is particularly true in smaller municipalities, where there is a "competition" between children and young people between educational institutions and between educational institutions and other youth work institutions. In addition, there is also a need to recognize non-formal education. Understanding of non-formal education in different target groups is still low and its role and contribution to youth development is often not understood even by those directly involved.


National and local responsibility in youth work

The Youth LAw defines the rights of municipalities in youth work, but does not define obligations. This makes it very difficult to update youth work and its practical implementation and implementation. At the same time, the formal imposition of duties does not contribute to meaningful youth work; This is also implicitly stated in the results of the survey conducted in the framework of this evaluation, where the target groups indicate that they would like more political understanding and support.


Funding models

Although the number of municipalities receiving funding for youth work has increased in recent years, as well as national funding in the youth field, underfunding remains one of the major barriers to the development of youth work. There are three aspects to funding availability.

Firstly, funding for long-term and sustainable youth work. The project funding approach has led to a situation where youth work is almost exclusively within the reach of project funding. While specific projects are funded, youth work is ongoing, but when projects end or project funding periods are completed, youth work is interrupted without succession.

Secondly, it is essential to separate funding for the maintenance of the youth work system and funding specifically for youth initiatives and to ensure both. At present, it is often the case that municipalities provide funding for infrastructure and staff remuneration, but do not provide any funding for the implementation of activities, including not always municipalities are responsive to co-financing projects. As a result, formal infrastructure and staff are often maintained, but there is little or no real youth work.

Third, the funding model as such. There is currently no clear and transparent system for who and what is funded in youth work. There is a relative breakdown: state budget funding, municipal budget funding, EU, etc. financing of programs. However, it is not logically structured and transparent. For example, it is not possible to identify specifically the funding allocated to youth work by municipalities, as each municipality has different practices in accounting for and allocating funding to specific sectors (education, culture, sport, etc.). On the other hand, there is no clear definition of what kind of activities are funded from one or another source between national and municipal funding.