10.5 Youth workers
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Status in national legislation
Youth worker is a profession in the Netherlands for which extended training is needed. Several national frameworks and standards apply to youth work.
Competence and job profiles
A competence profile contains all the skills a youth worker needs to possess, for example for promoting the participation of youth in society, creating a safe environment, working with an intercultural target group and organizing activities. The competence profile is used a framework in the education of youth workers, as a tool in human resources and as a frame of reference for youth workers. Two relevant competence profiles for Dutch youth workers are:
- Competence Profile Youth Worker (Competentieprofiel Jongerenwerker, 2008, only in Dutch). It contains a description of the profession, the field of work, the context of youth work, specific methods, levels of youth work, relevant trends in society, policy and among youth, the core business of youth workers and the competences youth workers need.
- Professional Competence Profile for the Social Worker in Welfare and Social Services (Beroepscompetentieprofiel voor de sociaal werker - Welzijn en maatschappelijke dienstverlening, 2018, only in Dutch). This is a general competence profile for social workers in welfare and social service, but it applies to youth workers as well.
In the collective labor agreement for welfare and social services (CAO Welzijn en Maatschappelijke Dienstverlening) the job descriptions of social cultural workers may apply to youth workers.
Professional association and professional code
BVjong is the professional association for child and youth workers and published a professional code for child and youth workers in 2014. The code is a guideline for situations in which a moral decision needs to be taken.
Although there is not one professional register for youth workers, they can register themselves as a social worker at Registerplein or as a youth and family professional at Stichting Kwaliteitsregister Jeugd (SKJ), depending on the organization the youth worker works for or the demands of the funding municipality.
Police record check
All people professionally or voluntarily working with vulnerable people, like young people, are required to undergo a police record check in order to obtain a so-called Declaration About Behavior (Verklaring Omtrent het Gedrag). Youth work organizations will ask their new employees to apply for this police record check at Justis, the screening authority of the Ministry of Justice and Security.
The Act on the mandatory reporting code domestic violence and child abuse (Wet verplichte meldcode huiselijk geweld en kindermishandeling) requires organizations and independent professionals in education, health care, child care, social service, sports, youth care and justice to have a reporting code and to stimulate using it in the case of (suspicions of) child abuse or domestic violence. Youth workers must act according to their organization’s reporting code.
Education, training and skills recognition
Social Work studies
There is no specific course for youth workers, although in higher education there are minors in which students can specialize in youth work. Many youth workers have obtained a bachelor degree in Social Work or one of its predecessors at a university of applied sciences or have followed the Social Work level 4 course in post-secondary vocational education. Youth work organizations may offer their youth workers refresher courses to keep their knowledge and skills up-to-date.
Another option is the so-called EVC trajectory in which people who do not have obtained the correct diploma but can demonstrate their competences developed at school, in work or privately, receive a certificate of experience after their demonstrated competences have been officially recognized. Such a certificate allows them to work as a youth worker. For youth workers the EVC-procedure for bachelor degree youth and family professionals is relevant.
Mobility of youth workers
The collective labor agreement for welfare and social services (CAO Welzijn en Maatschappelijke Dienstverlening) rules that employees receive a Career Budget (Loopbaanbudget): 1,5% of their monthly salary. Employees, like youth workers, and their employers together decide about the purpose of this individual budget. This could for instance be a career orientation trajectory, coaching sessions, a specific course, an internship or job shadowing in another organization. The main objectives of the Career Budget are the ongoing development of employees and employees staying sustainably deployable.
To contribute to the professional development of youth workers organizations can organize international training courses or network activities with professionals from the own organization and from other countries. This offers the opportunity to exchange experiences, develop competences and possibly lay a foundation for future cooperation. An organization can apply for a subsidy for this at Erasmus+ Youth.