10.5 Youth workers
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As stated in ‘Concept of Open Youth Centers and Spaces’ (2010) and the ‘Description of Open Youth Centres’ (2012) approved by the Department of Youth Affairs under the Ministry of Social Security and Labor ‘youth work’ means activities of a social, informational, educational, cultural or other nature, carried out with young people or groups of young people on the basis of their needs, in order to integrate, integrate young people his social environment and enable him to participate in conscious and active personal and social life. Youth worker in Lithuania is seen as a specialist who is 21 years of age or older and implements youth policy rather than a representative of a certain profession. Youth worker is an adult who works with young people in their leisure time and encourages their personal and social development through work with individuals, groups or communities. Youth worker should have competences that are recognized in accordance with the procedure set by the Department of Youth Affairs. Youth worker is paid for his qualified work with young people in accordance with the procedure laid down in the legislation of the Republic of Lithuania. The youth work providers are identified and defined and principles of youth workers’ profession are described in the 2013 order No. A1-208 of Social Security Minister and Labor of the Republic of Lithuania on ‘The Approval of the Youth Workers' Job Description’ In Lithuania, the concept of youth workers’ profession has not yet been defined, however youth policy experts describe youth workers as those who work in the youth field having a relevant education in social work, general teachers’ or social education, psychology or other educational and/or social sciences related qualification.
The domains to which youth work pertains and the principles of youth work in open youth centres are described in the 2012 order No. A1-570 of Social Security Minister and Labor of the Republic of Lithuania on ‘Description of Open Youth Centres’. The main objectives of youth work are described in the 2019 order No. A1-614 of Social Security Minister and Labor of the Republic of Lithuania on ‘The Approval of the Description of the Procedure for Work with Street Youth, the Procedure for Mobile Work with Youth, the Description of Open Work with Youth’.
The youth work providers are identified and defined and principles of youth workers’ profession are described in the 2013 order No. A1-208 of Social Security Minister and Labor of the Republic of Lithuania on ‘The Approval of the Youth Workers' Job Description’ In Lithuania, the concept of youth workers’ profession has not yet been defined, however youth policy experts describe youth workers as those who work in the youth field having a relevant education in social work, general teachers’ or social education, psychology or other educational and/or social sciences related qualification. For example, youth workers who work in municipal educational, cultural, sport, social institutions and can be referred to as teachers (leading a school circle), social educators, cultural workers etc.
In order to systematically support youth workers, the Department of Youth Affairs organizes a) continuous and ad hoc training; b) consulting (counseling); and c) staff meetings every year, as well as meetings with representatives of organizations, youth coordinators etc.
The aim of the training is to improve the knowledge of different forms of youth work. The training programs include theoretical and / or practical training in youth work (forms, youth work organization, competencies and qualifications required by staff, common dilemmas and challenges in youth work). Since 2018 The Department also organizes continuous 5 module youth work training. The aim of the training is to provide youth workers with the knowledge of youth non-formal education, psychology, social work necessary for youth work, to familiarize them with the basic principles and psychological regularities of youth work, to describe educational and training opportunities in different education in situations. The curriculum consists of 5 modules: youth work, psychology, social work, youth non-formal education and youth policy. The scope of the training program is 168 academic hours (108 contact academic hours and 60 independent academic hours). Priority is given to participants working in open youth centers and spaces or youth organizations for up to 6 months and has no previous education in social work, social pedagogy, or psychology.
Consultations are designed for employees, managers, teams and organizations who want to improve and work more efficiently. Possible consultation topics include: team building, time management, staff motivation, promoting youth responsibility, active feedback, volunteering, work with NEETs, quality of youth work, self-evaluation, developing interdepartmental cooperation and opportunities, responding to young people's needs and aspirations, developing learning opportunities for young people, mobile youth work, youth work on the street etc. The Department of Youth Affairs twice a year holds meetings among employees of Open Youth Centers and Open Youth Spaces, and youth organizations. Meetings with youth workers are organized not only to share youth policy issues in youth work, to gain new knowledge, to receive departmental specialist advice, but also to test existing knowledge in youth work field and to discuss common youth issues in the country.
Activities for the professional development of youth workers - learning, networking and networking are offered by Erasmus+ in the framework of KA1 - Mobility for Learning Actions programme. The activities are aimed to contribute to the exchange of experience among youth workers, encourage international cooperation and partnerships, develop training strategies and tools and exchange valuable youth experiences at international level. In 2020 call for applications, given that youth work, non-formal learning and volunteering can make a significant contribution to addressing and / or raising awareness of the needs of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants in local communities, particular attention is given to project support, which involve or focus on refugees, asylum seekers or migrants. The potential applicants can be non-profit organizations, associations, NGOs, European youth NGOs, social enterprises, state agencies, informal groups of young people (a support organization is required) as well as public bodies at regional or national level or even a for-profit organization active in the field of corporate social responsibility. The duration of mobility of youth workers is from 3 to 24 months.