10.3 Support to youth work
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Policy legal framework
As mentioned in the previous chapters, in the National Youth Strategy 2016-2025 there is a chapter on Local Youth Work. In terms of the key challenges identified in the area of youth work, the Strategy provides appropriate long-term objectives and specific measures for addressing the respective problems. The long-term objectives are: Recognition of youth work as a key tool for assisting the positive personal and social development of young people; Formal recognition and regulation of the use and availability of youth work as an integral part of the education system of the country; Ensuring the quality and availability of youth work in the territory of each municipality.
Some of the measures envisaged for each of the objectives are: Promoting the concept and use of youth work through campaigns, public events, broad variety of youth work activities and positive examples from other countries; Educating the teaching staff and other professionals who work with young people (school counsellors, psychologists, social workers, etc.) and introducing them to the concept and potential use of youth work; Integrating basic principles of youth work in the study programmes for professions that are involved in youth development (teachers, psychologists, school counsellors, social workers, etc.); Introducing a minimum number of mandatory vacancies for young people as part of activities within the municipalities; Defining a National Portfolio for Youth Workers with minimum competence and training of the staff who implement youth work; Ensuring adequate human capacity for implementation of youth work in the territory of each municipality; Involving young people as active partners in the process of implementing youth work; etc. Some measures have already been implemented, such as a development of Portfolio for Youth Workers (Портфолио на младински работници).
Youth work is complementary to formal education, social work with youth, special education and rehabilitation for youth, and other occupations that work with youth. The most common tasks of youth work are: supporting the personal and social development of youth by providing organized and structured support for youth, as well as facilitating the active participation of youth in community life. Youth work uses the methods of non-formal education, mentoring, coaching, peer counseling, information and informal experiential learning.
Youth work also contributes to the development of young people's self-confidence and socialization, their sustainable independence and strengthening of their abilities, as well as the development of their tolerance and the strengthening of youth responsibility.
The Union for Youth Work in cooperation with the Agency for Youth and Sports is considering the possibility of establishing formal education for youth workers in North Macedonia. In that direction, the Union for Youth Work also cooperates with the Institute for Social Work and Social Policy, which operates within the Faculty of Philosophy in Skopje. In June 2021, the Union for Youth Work and the Agency for Youth and Sports completed the first cycle of the formal educational program for youth workers in North Macedonia, which the Law on Youth Participation and Youth Policies define as “qualified persons who have competencies to work with young people by implementing activities that support their personal and social development through informal and informal learning”. Thus, for the first time in North Macedonia, certified professionals were recognized as youth workers, in accordance with the National Portfolio of Youth Workers (Портфолио на младински работници).
The Union for Youth Work in all processes cooperates with the National Youth Council of Macedonia, as the highest representative body of young people in the country. In addition, cooperation is continuously realized with the Coalition of youth organizations SEGA, as well as with other organizations offering youth work that are not part of the Union for Youth Work.
Internationally, the Union for Youth Work cooperates with other networks of youth job providers, youth workers' associations, other organizations active in the field of youth work, and universities that offer education for youth workers.
Information regarding the funding can be found in Chapter 5.6.
There is certain level of cooperation between the Union for Youth Work, Agency on Youth and Sport, Ministry of Labor and Social Policy, local self-governance, Center for Adult Education, Center for Vocational Education and Training and other relevant governmental institutions and non-governmental organizations, but as the process of establishing and formalizing youth work is still in its infancy, there is no publicly available information on whether and how national authorities have established or promoted frameworks of cooperation between all youth work stakeholders.