10.5 Youth workers
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As mentioned before, the concept of youth worker is not included in any specific legislation in Spain. What the term ‘youth worker’ stands for depends on the particular criteria made by the autonomous regions. However, there is some common ground in defining youth workers as those professionals working with youth. From the regional ambiguity of that concept a collection of common, and non-official, characteristics has been compiled from a sample of regional calls. The most common requirements to become a youth worker are:
- To have Spanish or European nationality.
- To be at least 16 years old.
- Any of the following degrees: social education, social work, psychology, pedagogy or teaching.
- Not having been dismissed from public service, through a disciplinary file, from the Public Administration service.
Since there is a clear lack of legislation in Spain in this matter, there is no single official way to become a youth worker. As it is not recognized by the state as an official occupation there is no formation or university degrees designed specifically to give access to employment as a youth worker.
Currently there is no legislation dealing with the mobility of youth workers and, at the regional level there are no mobility programmes or grants. The closest initiative to a specific mobility programme for youth workers is the European Solidarity Corps (Cuerpo Europeo de Solidaridad). There is no need to have a completed degree to be part of the programme, however, it is not a national programme but an initiative of the European Union.
Another programme that includes youth workers as a specific group is the Erasmus+ program. This programme includes mobility experiences with a duration ranging from 2 to 12 months. The aim is to allow youth workers to live new experiences away from their country of origin increasing their personal, professional and intercultural competences. The benefit of the programme also includes the entities that collaborate as they are obtaining in exchange new experiences and perspectives. Erasmus+ for youth workers can be a worker exchange or an individual experience for citizens that are not members of a volunteer organization.
Another European programme is EU Aid Volunteers. EU Aid Volunteers brings volunteers and organisations together from different countries, providing practical support to humanitarian aid projects and contributing to strengthening local capacity and resilience of disaster-affected communities.