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Serbia

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10. Youth work

10.4 Quality and innovation in youth work

On this page
  1. Quality assurance
  2. Research and evidence supporting Youth Work
  3. Participate Youth Work
  4. Smart youth work: youth work in the digital world
Quality assurance 

Guidelines for quality assurance of youth work is developed by the National Association of Youth Work Practitioners - NAPOR in 2009. The document provides the basic types of youth work, principles and values on which it is based.

The quality assurance framework developed by the NAPOR consists of: 

  • Accreditation of organisations delivering youth work 
  • Professionalism of human resources 
  • Ethics in youth work  
  • Passport of competences / recognition of competences gained by young people through youth work programs.  

Accreditation of organisations 

NAPOR developed a set of 8 standards that each youth work program should fulfil. A mechanism for their implementation is based on willingness of member organizations to participate in accreditation process. The process during which the fulfilment of each standard is checked includes self-assessment and assessment of an accreditor - person with experience in youth work and advanced supervision skills. The organizations that go through the process get the certificate of Accredited organization for implementation and promotion of quality standards in youth work. Accreditation is valid 3 years and followed with the re-accreditation process. Since 2015 accreditation is one of the mandatory conditions for full membership in NAPOR. Accreditation is recognized by the member organizations as well as by the Ministry of Youth and Sports.  

Professionalism of human resources  

NAPOR created Curriculum for education of youth workers, which contains training programme for two vocational levels:

  • Youth Leader and
  • Youth Worker.

In addition, it contains a mechanism for validation of previously attained competences in youth work. The validation process is intended for persons who implement youth work in practice and continuously work on self-improvement but have no comprehensive formal or non-formal education in youth work. For those practitioners, it is possible to prove the competences that they gained through experience and different training courses in front of board of experts, in order to gain certificate for one of two vocational levels. 

Those who do not have necessary experience for validation, can go through the training programme. It consists of 5 thematic modules and practice in youth work. In this case too, NAPOR issues certificates for all the participants who fulfil set of competences needed for the vocational level they are trained for. These certificates are as well recognized by member organizations and by the Ministry of Youth and Sports. 

Ethics in youth work  

NAPOR developed Code of Ethics in Youth Work and formed Council for Ethical Issues. Code of Ethics is a document which defines ethical and professional principles of youth work and each organization and each youth worker binds to respect them. Council for Ethical Issues is an independent body in NAPOR which takes care that Code of Ethics is respected and promoted. 

Passport of competences / recognition of competences gained by young people through youth work programmes

Creation of tool for recognition of competences of young people gained through youth work programmes (Passport of Competences) is implemented in cooperation with the Ministry of Youth and Sports and other relevant actors from public, private and civil sector.

Research and evidence supporting Youth Work

As generally described in Chapter 1.6 Evidence-based youth policy, there is no specific research system that follows the development of youth work. The national authorities fund a general research on the position and needs of young people or an evaluation of the implementation of the national youth strategy, however, there is a lack of a continuous and systematic approach regarding evidence-based youth work research.

Nevertheless, sporadic research in the field of youth which also provide updated statistics on youth and sometimes youth work is carried out either by the Ministry or by other institutions:

Diverse NGOs conduct surveys regarding youth issues, yet NAPOR as being an organisation mostly oriented towards youth work, since its establishment has conducted several areas of research. As listed in CoE Country sheet on youth work in Serbia, research studies done by NAPOR are:

In addition to the above research projects, NAPOR has developed a collection book of good educational practices for youth workers within a projects  “Youth work and youth workers across Europe - good examples from practice about volunteering, employment, education and training ".

The Foundation Tempus is member of the Research-based Analysis and Monitoring of Erasmus+: Youth in Action Programme, which provides evidence to better understanding of the processes and outcomes in youth work and non-formal education. Serbia is included in RAY Monitoring research which aims to explore a broad scope of aspects of the Erasmus+: Youth in Action Programme in order to contribute to practice development, to improving the implementation of Erasmus+: Youth in Action and to the development of the next programme generation.

Participative youth work

Young people's participation in decision-making in general is described in Chapter 5.4 Young people's participation in policy-making.

When it comes to specific participation in youth work related policies, it is enabled through the digital platform Structural Dialogue. This platform gives opportunity to young people to comment on different initiatives of public authorities, on youth policies, or provide their opinion that will be included in public hearings on different subjects. One such possibility is to leave a comment, recommendation or opinion on the Law on Youth as well as strategic goals related to youth work mentioned in Ch. 10.3 Support to youth work Policy/legal framework.

The National Youth Council of Serbia - KOMS together with the Ministry of Youth and Sport in 2020 conduct a project Young people have an advantage. During the implementation of the program, the idea is to strengthen existing partnerships with relevant youth policy actors at the local, national and international levels, as well as to create sustainable, long-term and quality programmes that would be a consequence of intersectoral and interdepartmental cooperation. Within this project, the fourth Academy of Youth Policy will be realized, a dialogue of young people with the Minister of Youth and Sports, dialogues of young people from marginalized groups with local decision makers, digital solutions for further development of youth policy, etc. will be established.

"Smart" youth work: youth work in the digital world

NAPOR is in cooperation with the Ministry of Youth and Sports implementing a project “The first decade of recognizing youth work”. Within this project a series called "Youth Online Work - Show and Connect!" is launched. The idea is to present the online platforms / methods / tools that can be used for the realization of youth work programmes. Project “The first decade of recognizing youth work” realized by the NAPOR and Ministry of Youth and Sports also targets young people. Besides online seminars, trainings, publications, podcasts targeting youth workers, this projects also gather young people. Within the project 7 digital youth clubs were organized that gathered more than 100 young people. A special attention is given to the digital tools that can be used to link young people during realization of youth work programmes.  

Moreover, from 2018, a component of Erasmus plus programme that supports the mobility of youth workers is available to youth organizations. The aim is to enhance their professional development through different training courses, seminars, job shadowing etc. Equipping youth workers with digital competences and increasing participation of youth are frequently addressed project topics.