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EACEA National Policies Platform


10. Youth work

10.2 Administration and governance of youth work

Last update: 28 November 2023
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  1. Governance
  2. Cross-sectoral cooperation



From the perspective of the public administration and the public policies in the Youth sector, the area is under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Education and directly the State Secretary of Youth and Sport (SEJD).

The Portuguese Institute for Sport and Youth (IPDJ) is the main public structure of coordination of the national policies, having central services in Lisbon and regional structures all over the mainland in the 5 regions and 18 sub-regions of the territory, and in close cooperation with the autonomous administrations of the archipelagos of Madeira and Azores.

Having the State Secretary of Youth and Sport as the national authority, the National Agency for Erasmus+ Youth in Action Programme also plays a decisive role in the international European field of youth policy.

The policies are developed and managed in strict connection with the youth representatives from the National Youth Council (CNJ) and the National Federation of Youth Organisations (FNAJ), and also within the framework of the SEJD consultative council, the local municipalities’ consultative councils and IPDJ consultative council, that include youth organizations and organizations working with youth, apart from a general consultation practice to the public.

This management is also made in close correlation with the other governmental structures, as in the case of the National Youth Plan (which combines the coordinated action of all public services), and in specific cases, like the professional profile of the Youth Worker and it’s legal recognition profile of competences (RVCC), with ANQEP – the national agency for the qualification and employment.

Soon after the publication of the youth worker’s professional profile, several training courses were run by youth organizations and technical schools, since the profile has, like we’ve seen before, the so-called double certification, both technical and secondary school qualification. Meanwhile, other interesting developments occurred within the civil society, such as the creation of the National Association of Técnicos de Youth Workers, a youth organization aimed at creating a professional consciousness and developing the youth workers training and opportunities.

The contribution of the third sector to youth work is very relevant, both working with and for youth. The National Youth Council (CNJ) is an umbrella organization that represents nation wide youth organizations of different areas (cultural, environmental, scout, parties, students, workers unions e confessional etc.) and youth interests. It promotes non formal education, its principles, and practices and since 2006 it has a pool of trainers, which has been a reference in this field.

The organizations that work with youth on a local level are organized in the umbrella organization “FNAJ” National Federation of Youth Associations.

The National Association of Youth Workers is an organization that gathers professionals who work in the field of youth, in all of the sectors mentioned above, to represent those professionals in an organized manner and contribute to policy shaping.

Cross-sectoral cooperation

Considering the characteristics and broad horizon of the modern youth policies, there is a very close cooperation between both all public sectors and the public and private sector. Since the achievement of the first National Plan for Youth (PNJ), published in 2018, through the Resolution of the council of Ministers n.º 114-A/2018, that cooperation has been increased and organized.

The cross-sectoral cooperation is assured on the level of the municipalities by the municipal plans for youth. The municipal plans are not mandatory; thus, their existence depends on the priorities of the executive of each municipality.

Plus, some long-term programs involving youth area have long benefited from the use of non-formal education and acted in strict cooperation with youth structures and organizations and the youth workers in the field. That is the case of Programa Escolhas, a program for social integration of young people run by the High Commissioner for Migrations (ACM).

IPDJ works in close cooperation with civil society organizations on the regional and local level, through its Regional Directorates. The Lisbon Youth Centre, distinguished by the quality label of the Council of Europe, has been working for five years as a hub for innovation and cooperation in the field of youth and youth work, investing in the qualification and training of young people and youth workers in the field of human rights.

Many towns have municipal youth centers and hubs that provide space and equipment, promoting the cooperation between the public and the private sector and supporting the activities of youth lead organizations.