10.3 Support to youth work
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Main objectives and principles
The Public Interest in the Youth Sector Act states that the public interest in the area of the youth sector shall be implemented by providing regulatory and other conditions for developing the fields of youth work and inclusion of the youth aspect in strategies, policies and measures affecting youth (see Article 5).
In accordance with the Public Interest in the Youth Sector Act, the National Programme for Youth as the fundamental programme document defines the priorities and measures that are in the public interest in the youth sector. The objectives and priorities of the National Programme for Youth 2013-2022 (Resolucija o Nacionalnem programu za mladino 2013–2022) are clustered into six domains. There is no separate domain/section on youth work, however, youth work is mentioned in the section 6: “Youth and society and the importance of the youth sector”. Several objectives of the National Programme for Youth 2013-2022 include reference to youth work:
- 6.2.2 objective: “Promoting the establishment and development of organisations in the youth sector, developing key areas of the youth sector and ensuring the functioning of disorganized youth”
Priority subsection 8: “Creating capacities for quality youth work and establishing a national training and education system for youth workers and youth leaders”.
Responsible authoritiy for the measure is The Office of the Republic of Slovenia for Youth with other relevant stakeholders such as youth sector.The indicators for success is the number of persons who acquire a qualification for a youth worker by education or part of programmes of higher education institutions, by gende and established national training system for youth workers and youth.
The National Programme for Youth divides capacity building for quality youth work into four areas:
- Ensuring that the professional profile of the youth worker is formalized (
- Promoting active citizenship,
- Development of local youth policies, and
- Promoting youth work
- 6.2.3 objective: “Promoting and strengthening the involvement in international youth work and learning mobility in youth work”
Priority subsection 10: “Promoting mobility in the youth sector”.
Responsible authority for the implementation of the measure is The Office of the Republic of Slovenia for Youth with other partners such as Institute for the development of youth mobility (MOVIT), the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Main assessment indicators are young poepole enrolled in non-formal education, international cooperation, youth organisation enrolled in international activities.
- 6.2.4 objective: “Strengthening the research and analysis segment in the youth field”
Priority subsection 11: “Establishment of a national youth research organisation”.
Responsible authority for the implementation is The Office of the Republic of Slovenia for Youth and the assessment indicators are establishment of the unit for youth research and also the number of surveys and analysis.
- establishment of a unit for youth research (within existing research organisations);
- number of analyses and surveys that analyse and substantively evaluate the impact of international youth work and learning mobility in youth work.
The focus of section 6 “Youth and society and the importance of the youth sector”, is therefore on promoting the establishment and development of organisations in the youth sector, on promoting and strengthening the involvement in international youth work and learning mobility in youth work, and on strengthening the research and analysis segment in the youth field (also youth work research).
A reference to youth work is also made in section 2: “Education” of the National Youth Programme 2013-2022:
- 2.2.1 objective: “Improving the competence of young people”
Youth work domains & general types of youth work activities
The new definition of youth work in Slovenia as established through the Act on Public Interest in Youth Sector provides a framework for all youth organisations and organisations working with young people. The Act (Article 4) defines the areas of youth sector. Main sectors of youth work are:
- autonomy of youth – supporting young people in to independence;
- non-formal learning and training and increasing the competences of youth;
- access of youth to the labour market and enterprise development of youth;
- care for youth with fewer opportunities in society;
- volunteering, solidarity and intergenerational participation of youth;
- mobility of youth and international integration;
- promotion of healthy lifestyle the prevention of various forms of youth dependencies;
- access of youth to cultural activities and the promotion of creativity and innovation among youth; and,
- participation of youth in managing public affairs in society.
Youth organisations and organisations working with young people are operating in all fields of youth work; with larger organisations focusing more on education, and smaller ones on leisure and cultural activities. At the local level, youth centres deliver a range of non-formal education activities including information and counselling services (see country report Working with young people: The value of youth work on youth work in Slovenia).
In the past years, youth work has mostly been done in the fields of participation and active citizenship. This is followed by the fields of non-formal education, social inclusion and employment. In recent years, youth work has also been increasingly recognized as a mean for supporting young people into employment. There has been an increase in prevention programmes and street-based youth work.
Every second year the Office for Youth releases a public call for co-financing youth work programmes, which is the main funding resource of many organisations in the field of youth and thus shapes the themes addressed by the programmes of these organisations. In the 2016/2017 and in the 2018/2019 calls, the priority area of the call was a response to the refugee crisis, while in the latest call (2020/2021), the prioritized themes are hate speech, radicalization, integration, young people that are neither in employment nor in education or training and climate and environmental challenges. The call 2022/2023 focused mainly on the support to the mental health and quality education of the youth workers.
Youth work providers
The main youth work providers in Slovenia are organisations and NGOs working with youth. Youth organisations and organisations for youth are defined in the Public Interest in Youth Sector Act (Article 3): “youth organisation” as an autonomous, democratic, volunteer and independent association of youth, which through its operation enables youth to gain a planned learning experience, to form and express their viewpoints and implement their activities in accordance with their orientation in terms of special interests, culture, points of view or politics, and is organised as an independent legal entity, specifically as a society or an association of societies or as an integral part of another legal entity, namely a society, an association of societies, a trade union or a political party, provided that autonomy of operation in the youth sector has been ensured by the basic act of that legal entity. “Organisation for youth” is defined as a legal entity that implements a youth programme, but is not a youth organisation, and is organised as an institute, an institution or a cooperative.
The Youth Council Act states, that the National Youth Council of Slovenia and the local community youth councils implement or participate in the implementation of youth work and other activities in the field of the youth sector (see Article 5). Youth centres are seen as the main drivers of youth work at the local level. A youth centre is an organised functional centre for youth provided by the local community or other legal person of public or private law or a natural person, in which programmes in the youth sector and youth work are implemented at a local level. Youth centres shall provide for appropriate spatial conditions and equipment for implementing youth work and for the appropriate qualifications of personnel to support youth work, and participate in implementing youth mobility, volunteer youth work, active citizenship, youth research work and integration at an international level (Article 28).
Targets of youth work
The Public Interest in the Youth Sector Act (see Article 3) defines youth as “adolescents and young adults of both genders aged between 15 and an attained 29 years”. Since the adoption of the Act in 2010, this has formed the basis for defining the target group of youth work in Slovenia. No other group in the youth population is identified as primary target of youth work.
However, the Resolution of the National Programme for Youth 2013-2022 identifies the need to attend to youth with fewer opportunities in relation to scholarships, youth work and social inclusion. When defining its priorities, the Resolution (section 6 on social inclusion) particularly accentuates the position of youth with fewer opportunities facing social exclusion where individuals with disabilities and Roma youth are explicitly mentioned. Detailed information can be find in Working with young people: The value of youth work. Country report: Slovenia.
The Office of the Republic of Slovenia for Y 10.2 Administration and governance of youth work has been co-funding youth work and youth work programmes since its establishment. Since 2015, the Office for Youth publishes open funding calls for youth work programmes every second year (until then the call was published annually). Due to the financial crisis and cuts in the national budget, there was a decrease in 2012 of 10% in the annual budget The tax privileges for youth work were also partly cut in 2012. After years of recession and even declining funds, the state managed to secure an increase of the Office for Youth’s budget in 2018 and 2019 by 20% and again in 2022 for 33% which also increased the co-financing of youth work programmes.
The Implementation plan for the period 2020/2021 (Izvedbeni načrt Resolucije o Nacionalnemprogram za mladino 2013-2022 za leti 2020 in 2021) for the National Programme for Youth 2013–2022 consists of measures, financing and implementation of which is in the 2020 and 2021 budgets. The following objectives are funded according to the Implementation plan:
- 6.2.2 objective: “Promoting the establishment and development of organisations in the youth sector, developing key areas of the youth sector and ensuring the functioning of disorganized youth”:
- Measure/instrument: Public call for co-financing youth work programmes in 2020 and 2021 (Javni poziv za sofinanciranje programov mladinskega dela v letih 2020 in 2021);
- Measure/instrument: Call for proposals “Strengthening the skills of young people through active citizenship to increase employability” (“Krepitev kompetenc mladih skozi aktivno državljanstvo za večjo zaposljivost”).
- 6.2.3 objective: “Promoting and strengthening the involvement in international youth work and learning mobility in youth work"
1. Measure/instrument: Co-financing the operation of the National Agency for the Erasmus+: Youth in Action Programme.
Two measures help to promote and support youth work and learning mobility via the Erasmus+: Youth in Action programme. Both measures are implemented by MOVIT, the National Agency for the Erasmus+: Youth in Action Programme. The timeframe for the measures is 2022 The first measure is aimed at supporting Key Action 1, Learning Mobility among individuals, which aims to provide opportunities for individuals to improve their skills, enhance their employability and gain a sense of cultural awareness.
- Erasmus+: Key action 1 (Mobility projects for young people and youth workers)
Indicative amount of financial contribution provided, total: 2022: 2.449.112,00 EUR.
The second measure is aimed at supporting Key Action 2, Cooperation for Innovation and the Exchange of Good Practices. This action seeks to enable organisations to work together in order to improve their provisions for learners and share innovative practices.
- Erasmus+: Key action 2 (Strategic Partnerships projects on the youth field)
Indicative amount of financial contribution provided, total: 2022: 1.364.201,00 EUR694.276 EUR and for smaller partnership 325.888,00 EUR
Status of an organisation in the public interest in the youth sector is a precondition for a youth organisation to candidate for funding. In order to obtain the status, the organisations must meet the following conditions (see Article 11 of the Public Interest in the Youth Sector Act):
- regular implementation of youth programmes or programmes for youth (hereinafter: programmes in the youth sector) in the fields referred to in Article 4 of the Public Interest in the Youth Sector Act,
- important achievements in the development and integration of youth work, and
- appropriate material and personnel capacities for their operation.
Measures of the National Programme for Youth cover the following fields: education, employment and entrepreneurship, housing, health and wellbeing, the social position of youth, the development of the youth sector, culture and creativity, heritage, media. Each ministry is responsible for its budget allocation for measures on national youth policy. Thus, organisations in the youth sector can receive funds based on the sectoral policy of each ministry. The ministries support different measures according to their field of work (e.g., health policy, employment policy). For example, the Ministry of Labour, Family and Social Affairs implements and co-finances different programmes for the support of (social) youth work.
In 2016, the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology allocated funds and announced the Invitation to tender for the selection of operations to launch social enterprises and youth cooperatives in 2016-2018 (Javni razpis za izbor operacij za zagon socialnih podjetij inmladinskih zadrug v letih 2016–2018). The purpose of the invitation was to encourage the start- up of new social enterprises, to encourage the launching of entrepreneurial ventures in existing social enterprises and to encourage the launching of new youth cooperatives with the status of social enterprises. The indicative maximum amount of funding was almost 2 million EUR (1.907.824,86 EUR), of which 1.362.765,41 EUR for the start-up phase of social enterprises and 545.076,55 EUR for the start-up phase of youth cooperatives.
There is no analysis available of the proportion of public funding (of GDP) in Slovenia that is dedicated to youth work, either at the national or local level. At the local level, there is direct financing through calls for local youth organisations, although this is not the case in every municipality. There are also no systematic data available on local budgetary allocation for youth work.
There are also other funding possibilities, for example the European Social Fund. There were five public calls using European funds for youth sector in Slovenia only published in the period between 2009 and 2018. In the new financial framework 2021-2027 so far three calls are predicted.
There is no special framework of cooperation between all youth work stakeholders in Slovenia.
The Youth Council of Slovenia is partly funded by the Office for Youth to connect stakeholders in the youth sector, primarily national youth organisations. The Office for Youth is organizing the “National conference of the youth sector” in cooperation with the Youth Council of Slovenia. The conference is designed to bring together the main actors in the youth sector once a year and to address the key topics, which the youth sector identifies. Therefore, the conference aims at youth workers and youth leaders, representatives of youth organisations and organisations for youth and anyone else who, in one way or another, co-creates and co-formulates youth fields, policies and programmes. In the 2020, for example, organisations could present projects, tools, standards and activities on the topic of quality youth work, as well as examples of good practices, to share with other organisations within the youth sector (see Nacionalni posvetmladinskega sektorja).
Within the framework of compulsory elective content in schools (obvezne izbirne vsebine) some youth centres cooperate with secondary schools, usually in the form of giving lectures on topics of citizenship education, hate speech, promoting youth centre and youth work etc.