10.3 Support to youth work
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There is no stand alone National Strategy on Youth Work in Romania. Youth work has rather been coupled to creating new opportunities for learning - especially within learning structures developed with the support of the non-formal education methodologies in the Youth Strategy 2015-2020.
The Youth Strategy 2015-2020made ‘Employment and Entrepreneurship’ one of the main areas of intervention of the Romanian youth policy. Under this pillar, the youth workers, the career counsellors or the trainers had to be recognized and offered support, as they represented a significant resource in supporting young people. Within the strategy, the role of the youth worker resided with offering support to groups of young people when going through the transition from school to the labour market, to those ones dealing with social exclusion or to boosting up youth participation. These activities are to be organised either by the national and local authorities with responsibilities in the field of youth or by the non-governmental organizations working with and for young people.
In terms of providers of youth work, according to the existent occupational standard, the youth work services could be provided by the NGOs, the Youth Centres and Leisure Time Centres, the state institutions - namely by the county directorates for youth or by the Students’ Cultural Centres.
Additionally, a non-exhaustive list of activities that are delivered and could be assimilated to the youth work services are identified through looking at the Occupational Standard for Youth Workers; the National Youth Law and the National youth Strategy):
- Collecting information through the direct interaction with young people
- Offering support for the personal and professional development of young people
- Organizing activities for young people – educational, leisure time or information campaigns, etc
- Facilitating their nonformal learning process
- Facilitating the interaction of young people and NGOs
- Creating the framework for young people to volunteer or to get socially and civically involved
- Mediating between young people and groups of young people and the authorities.
Furthermore, in 2020 the Ministry of Youth and Sports launched the strategy for the development of the infrastructure dedicated to youth work and youth tourism (the infrastructure for youth camps) and started planning large renovation projects.
In terms of funding, no specific funding line has been identified for youth work activities and youth workers. Funding for youth work is included in the budget of three out of four youth programmes included in the budget of the ministry with responsibilities on youth, especially in the budget for Youth Centres and the budget for youth NGOs and students’ NGOs.
However, essential support for youth work development in Romania came from the EU funding available. National Agency for Community Programmes in the Field of Education and Vocational Training has been doing extensive work on training youth workers and youth NGOs in Romania on grants’ application writing, on working with young people using non-formal education methodologies or on working with young people with fewer opportunities. For this purpose, a set of national trainings are delivered nationally and locally and the youth NGOs are active in applying for funding that could support their international learning mobility activities within Erasmus + programme.
More than that, a great achievement for youth work in Romania has been the projects that were funded by the European Social Fund: ‘Constructing ‘the youth worker’ institution for a better insertion of young people in the society’, project that led to having young workers trained and officially recognized by profession in Romania and ‘Sustainable policies and standards in working with young people in Romania’, project that led to a public policy document in standardizing the youth work activitiesin Romania.
The cooperation initiatives that were identified and have relevance for youth work are:
- The consultation of the National Council for Youth (NCFY) established in 2020 as the advisory structure of the Ministry of Youth and Sports with youth associations, including 50 representatives of youth civil society organisations.
- The main events organised by the National Agency for Community Programmes in the Field of Education and Vocational Training, events dedicated to social inclusion, non-formal education, visibility and dissemination of results, etc. Representatives of young NGOs, public services, local and national authorities with responsibilities in the field of young and representative of non-affiliated youth are part of these events.
- A training programme on digital youth work organised in 2020 by the Ministry of Youth and Sports in cooperation with the National Agency for Community Programmes in the Field of Education and Vocational Training. As a result of the training process, the Digital Youth Work Romania community was set up. In 2021 and 2022, the Romanian National Agency continued providing digital youth work training activities.
- The joint action of the the Youth and Camps Department of the Ministry of Youth and Sport and Covasna Youth and Sport County’s Department of supporting the initiative group that aimed to set up the Youth Workers’ Professional Association in Romania, in June 2019.
- At the end of 2021, the first National Youth Workers’ Convention: CoNLucraTin was organised by the Romanian Ministry of Youth and Sport in cooperation with the National Agency for Community Programmes in the Field of Education and Vocational Training and with the support of DEIS Association, being the first event dedicated to discussions about the advancement and recognition of youth work as a profession in Romania and to discussing about the need for cross-sector cooperation in the field, looking as well as the needs and aspirations of Romanian youth workers. The National Youth Workers’ Convention had two main editions: in May 2022 and in January 2023 organised by the National Agency for Community Programmes in the Field of Education and Vocational Training, the Ministry of Family, Youth and Equal Opportunity and DEIS Association. Together with the trainings for youth workers, these events contribute to consolidating an active community of youth workers in Romania.