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EACEA National Policies Platform


10. Youth work

10.5 Youth workers

Last update: 28 November 2023
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  1. Status in national legislation
  2. Education, training and skills recognition
  3. Mobility of youth workers

Status in national legislation

Since the beginning of 2019, a new Classification of Occupations has been in force in Serbia,  which included total of 3,641 occupations. Youth worker as a profession was included as well under the code 3412.03.  Recognition of occupations enables the placement of competent youth workers into the chain of systemic care for young people, which should respond to the problem of sustainability of youth programmes, as well as the need for cooperation of various actors in youth policy. This is a major step towards recognition of skills gained through youth work, even though the occupation is still not officially part of National Qualification Framework document that was adopted in 2018. 

Education, training and skills recognition

There is no specific form of formal education leading to qualification as youth worker. In addition, no training for continuous professional development, either directly organised or funded by public authorities, is available to youth workers. Most education is provided through non-formal education conducted by the NGOs.

National Association of Youth Work Practitioners - NAPOR organises training for youth workers and awards their accreditation. The process is guided by a handbook for accreditation (NAPOR 2009) and the Council for Ethical Questions.

As described in 10.4 Quality and innovation in youth work/ Quality assurance, NAPOR has developed a curriculum for the education of youth workers based on quality standards developed for qualifications in youth work on two levels:

  • Youth Leader;
  • Youth Worker.

The curriculum includes training for both levels of occupation, as well as a defined mechanism for the validation of previously acquired competencies in youth work.  For practitioners who conduct youth work, who continuously work on their training in the field, but do not have a comprehensive formal or non-formal education in youth work, it is possible to show and prove the competencies they have gained through experience and various trainings before the commission, based on which they receive a certificate for one of the two levels of occupation in youth work.

For those who do not have enough experience in youth work that they can validate, a training process has been created. It consists of several thematic modules and practice in youth work. Thematic modules, with defined learning outcomes, cover competencies defined by the standard of occupation and contain the theoretical basis of youth work. The modules are conducted through online learning, as well as practical work with trainers. In the revised curricula for the education of youth leaders and youth workers (2014), each module of multi-modular education begins with online learning. Internship in youth work is an integral part of the training and implies the implementation of a continuous programme of youth work with a group of young people which each participant implements in their local community, in the home organization.

The implementation of the curriculum for the education of youth workers can be coordinated by NAPOR, whereby for the implementation of each individual module, member organizations that have the most experience and capacity to implement them is being licensed. On the other side, the coordination of the training programmes can be implemented by NAPOR member organizations that have sufficient capacity and experience to conduct the entire training. In both cases, NAPOR issues certificates to all participants who by the end of the training meet the set of competencies required for the level of occupation for which they are being trained. The NAPOR certificate is recognized by member organizations, as well as by the Ministry of Tourism and Youth.

As a result of a project “Youth Work and Youth Workers Across Europe - Examples of Good Practice on Volunteering, Employment, Education and Training," NAPOR has, together with the project partners developed a Collection Book "Educational Practices for Youth Workers." The purpose of this publication is to improve the flow of information on access to different educational opportunities for youth workers and to promote examples of good practice focusing on quality, innovation and recognition of youth work across Europe. The publication presents examples of good practice of nine countries gathered around the project. They are divided into two parts:

  1. Internships aimed at training youth workers;
  2. Ideas and practices for the development of youth initiatives and projects.

The presented examples of good practice cover all levels: local, regional, national and international, and deal with the following topics:

  • Advocacy (how to make youth work visible and important for society),
  • Education and training of youth workers (formal and informal),
  • Employment of youth workers.

Mobility of youth workers

As previously mentioned in Chapter 10.3 Support to youth work/funding, mobility for youth workers is supported through Erasmus+ programme. In a four-years period and through 16 financed projects, 399 participants were endorsed. In addition to the projects, youth workers can participate in Transnational Cooperation Activities (TCA).  In 2019 and 2020, in total 89 participants were partaking in TCAs, in both physical and virtual mobilities.