10.5 Youth workers
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Youth Work in Malta is a formal regulated profession through the Youth Work Profession Act - Chapter 533 of the Laws of Malta. In this regard the Act states that: “no person shall hold himself out to be a professional youth worker or exercise the profession of a youth worker against remuneration or otherwise or hold himself to be professionally qualified to do so or assume the title or designation of a registered professional youth worker unless he is the holder of a warrant issued under this Act.” Without prejudice to any provision made by or under the Mutual Recognition of Qualifications Act, a person shall not qualify for a warrant unless such person: • is a citizen of Malta, or of a Member State or is otherwise legally entitled or authorised to work in Malta; • is of good conduct; • is registered in the Register of Youth Workers • is not registered in the Register established under the Protection of Minors (Registration) Act; • is in possession of the Honours Degree in Youth and Community Studies conferred by the University of Malta or a Masters in Youth and Community Studies conferred by the University of Malta as from academic year 2011/2012 or a Masters in Youth Ministry conferred by the University of Malta, or of another professional qualification recognised as equivalent for the purpose by a Member State, obtained from a university or college. In respect of applicants coming from third countries whose qualifications have not been recognised in a Member State, the Youth Work Profession Board may, in respect of such qualifications, require the applicant to sit for and pass a professional proficiency test.
Youth Workers also have to abide by a Code of Ethics. The aim of the Code of Ethics is to provide youth workers with a bench mark for good professional behaviour and practice. It is intended to guide and support youth workers in fulfilling their professional duties and responsibilities and to uphold professional standards and the continuous improvement of such standards.
Moreover, Youth Workers employed by Aġenzija Żgħażagħ are Protection, Safety and Well-Being of Young People Good Practice Guide. The aim the Good Practice Guide is to give support and guidance to youth workers and all staff employed or contracted by Aġenzija Żgħażagħ (including all volunteers, students on placement and interns working with staff employed by Aġenzija Żgħażagħ in ensuring that the protection, safety and well-being of all young people with whom the agency works is prioritised and that any issues that might impede or threaten young people’s safety and well-being are addressed promptly and effectively.
The University of Malta offers 3 courses that lead you to be warranted as a youth worker. Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Youth and Community Studies, Master of Arts in Youth and Community Studies and Master of Arts in Youth Ministry. Following the completion of anyone of the aforementioned courses a person must prove to have worked the equivalent of 2 years full time (4160 hours) to be eligible for a youth work warrant.
The Youth Work Profession Act also confers upon the Youth Work Profession Board the discretion to develop requirements in relation to continuous professional development for the maintenance of a warrant. In this regard the Act states that: A warrant issued under this Act shall continue to have effect provided that the warrant holder shall prove to the satisfaction of the Board that he has carried out such programme or programmes of continuing professional development.
Youth Workers employed by Aġenzija Żgħażagħ also have to abide by a Staff Training and Development Policy aiming to enhance and enrich each member of the staff through organisation, job and personal development. The policy seeks to provide learning opportunities for all staff so that by performing their individual jobs effectively, they can contribute to the agency’s vision and mission.
Such Staff Training and Development is often offered in the form of seminars or training courses offered both at national or international levels. In 2019 all youth workers employed by Aġenzija Żgħażagħ were requested to attend a Mental Health First Aid course, a first Aid Courses, a food handling course and a training in public speaking and report writing. Other trainings are offered to individual youth workers depending on particular needs of both the agency and the youth workers. In 2019 such trainings included for instance such as Sounding Minds a training that aimed to provide youth workers with good practices on how to appropriately handle situations involving young people and mental health issues and BiTriMulti Training Course a training programme that aimed to offer an international learning experience for those active in the youth work field to enable them to develop their competences in setting up quality Youth Exchange projects and a training on the Protection of minors training.