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EACEA National Policies Platform


10. Youth work

10.5 Youth workers

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

Status in national legislation

Act on Youth Work Support defines several positions in youth work as follows:

  • young leader: a person of age 15 -17 and actively participates in the organization of youth activities led by a youth leader or youth worker;
  • youth leader: a person of minimum age 18, who is responsible for conducting and coordination of youth activities;
  • youth worker: a person who supports young people in their personal development and their knowledge, skills, and competences; prepares and organizes events or programmes in the field of youth work, can be in an employment relationship, conducts business on the basis of a trade license in the field of youth work or carries out voluntary activities in the field of youth work;
  • lecturer/trainer in youth work: a person who develops, through educational activities, the competences of youth workers, youth leaders, young leaders, and other persons active in youth work;
  • youth work coordinator: a person who plans, directs, and coordinates youth work in relation to the competences of the municipalities or regional governments in the field of youth work.

Five positions linked to youth work are included in National Qualifications Framework/NationalSystem of Professions  (hereafter “NSP”):

NSP as a united informative system describes standard requirements for the labour market for recognised professional qualifications. The NSP defines the requirements for professional and practical skills which are needed for the work activity in the labour market. Its main aim is to create a united national reference register of national job standards.

Specific standards and criteria for persons active in youth work

Act on Youth Work Support defines two basic criteria:

  1. that the person has not been convicted of an offense in the past or has not committed any offenses (no criminal record, strong personal integrity);
  2. legal capacity of person active in youth work.

In addition, youth worker in Leisure-time centres/Youth club (centres belong to national system of education) must have prescribed qualification (at least secondary education with specialization in pedagogy), good health condition and speak Slovak language (Act on Pedagogical Employees/Zákon opedagogických a odborných zamestnancoch [6]).

In 2015 the competence profiles of young leaders, youth leaders and youth workers were defined in the framework on KOMPRAX – Competences for Practice (ESF project, implemented by IUVENTA [7]). In each competence there are detailed descriptions of indicators divided to several levels according to the profile.

Competences of young leader:

  • ability to work in a team,
  • ability to motivate self and others,
  • ability to communicate effectively,
  • presentation skills,
  • project thinking,
  • financial literacy,
  • entrepreneurship and self-development,
  • knowledge on non-formal education in youth work.

Competences of youth worker:

  • ability to work in a team,
  • ability to work with group processes,
  • knowledge of youth as a social group,
  • ability to motivate,
  • conflict solving,
  • entrepreneurship and self-development,
  • ability to communicate effectively,
  • presentation skills,
  • cultural and intercultural skills,
  • project thinking,
  • organizational competences,
  • financial literacy,
  • application of organizational and legislative standards in the field of youth work,
  • ability to work with information,
  • knowledge of non-formal education concept,
  • practical use of opportunities for non-formal education in youth work.

Youth leader has in principle the same competence profile as youth worker with some small differences e.g., organisational competence – with meaning ´abilities to run youth organisation´ is not included.

Discussion on quality standards in youth work is discussed in special working group – see 10.8.

Education, training and skills recognition

Despite the legislative definition of “youth worker”, “youth work methodologist” and “lecturer/trainer in youth work” in the NSP, there are no universities with opportunities to study “youth work” and to become a professionally certified youth worker. It is possible to study, for example, social pedagogy, pedagogy for leisure-time activities, specialised didactics, animation of free time activities, andragogy, etc.

Many youth NGOs have specialized training programmesmes for youth leaders e.g. Slovak Scouting. Youth workers in Leisure-time centres/Youth clubs have usually Master degree in Teacher Training and Education Science which can be obtain at 11 universities in Slovakia (Ružomberok, Prešov, 2 universities in Trnava, Komárno, Bratislava, Nitra, Banská Bystrica, Košice, Dubnica n/Váhom, Žilina.

Continuous professional development of individuals active in youth work is ensured differently in youth NGOs and in Leisure-time centres. Youth workers (on voluntary basis e.g. in national youth and children NGO) have specialized further trainings for more experienced youth workers, usually accredited by MESRS and delivered by NGOs (see also 10.4 Quality and innovation in youth work). Employees of Leisure-time centres/Youth clubs can participate in trainings provided by NationalInstitution for Teachers´ Education and Training.

IUVENTA – Slovak Youth Institute is long-term provider of further education of individuals active in youth work (majority with accreditation of MESRS).

All educational programmes in youth work accredited by MESRS include obligatory procedure to prove acquired competences in form of tests, practical demonstration or presentation as the basic condition to obtain final certificate.

Mobility of youth workers

In Slovakia there is no large-scale programmes (funded by national funds) offering the possibility for youth workers to take part in exchange opportunities, cooperation and networking. Erasmus+ is major provider of financing at national level e.g., series of trainings for youth workers in human rights  (NAHRE) in 2019 organised by IUVENTA.