1.1 Target population of youth policy
Youth policy in Malta is primarily administered at a central level. In 2021 the Government issued the document Towards 2030: Reaching out to, working with and supporting young people. Youth policy falls under the main responsibility of the Parliamentary Secretariat for Youth, Research and Innovation within the Ministry for Education, Sport, Youth, Research and Innovation. However, its transversal nature requires cross-sectoral support from other relevant Ministries.
Youth Policy in Malta looks at the young person as a resource and as such it strives to empower young people in fulfilling their potential and aspirations while addressing their needs and concerns. The National Youth Policy also projects a vision of young people who should be respected, valued and listened to and be supported and encouraged in building fulfilling personal and social relationships, in developing their innate abilities and talents for the benefit of themselves, their communities and society and in empowering them to take action on global issues.
The main policy document that defines which age group can be considered as a youth in Malta is the Maltese National Youth Policy. The latest revision of the national youth policy document that was issued in 2021 entitled ‘Towards 2030: Reaching out to, working with and supporting young people’ states that youth is the cohort of all persons between 13 and 30 years old.
This age group has been the same since 2010 when the third revision of the National Youth Policy was launched. Previous National Youth Policy documents targeted different cohorts. The 1993 National Youth Policy, which was the first ever National Youth Policy document, defined youth as the cohort between 16-30 years; the 1999 and 2004, which were the first and the second revision of the National Youth Policy documents respectively, defined youth as the cohort between 14-30 years.
There are also other official documents that define which age group can be considered as youth or young people. Among such documents, there is the National Strategic Policy for Poverty Reduction and for Social Inclusion (2014-2024) issued by the Ministry for the Family and Social Solidarity which defines young people as the cohort between 18 and 24 years old. The National Employment Policy 2021-2030 issued by the Ministry for Finance and Employment defines young people as the cohort between 15 and 24 years old.
A number of relevant policy documents do not define youth or young people by an age bracket. The National Health Systems Strategy 2023-2030 or the Mental Health Strategy for Malta 2020-2030 mention services for young people, youth or adolescents without specifying ages. Other policy documents, such as the National Strategy on Volunteering 2020-2025 also fail to specify an age bracket however, particular actions in the sector do specify an age bracket the Youth Volunteering Scheme, for instance, is open for persons aged 16-30 years old.