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EACEA National Policies Platform: Youthwiki


10. Youth work

10.8 Current debates and reforms

On this page
  1. Forthcoming policy developments
  2. Ongoing debates


Forthcoming policy developments

Youth Strategy 2019-2027 (Estrategia de Juventud 2019-2027)

In 2018, as a result of years of dialog and debates between governments, organizations, experts, and young European people, the European Union approved the Resolution of the Council of the European Union and the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States meeting within the Council on a framework for European cooperation in the youth field: The European Union Youth Strategy 2019-2027.

The Strategy is the UE´s youth policy framework and it is based on youth cooperation, fostering youth participation in democratic life, supporting social and civil engagement and ensuring that young people have access to resources to take part in society. Moreover, the Strategy is focused on three key actions: engage, connect and empower young people from the Union.

As main outcome after the dialogs and the creation of the Youth Strategy, there are 11 goals that gather up the main challenges that the European Union must face regarding the youth:

  1. Connecting UE with youth
  2. Equality for all genders
  3. Inclusive societies
  4. Information and constructive dialogue
  5. Mental health and wellbeing
  6. Moving rural youth forward
  7. Quality employment for all
  8. Quality learning
  9. Space and participation for all
  10. Sustainable green Europe
  11. Youth organizations and european programmes

Therefore, for the 2019-2027 period, Spain´s Government and autonomous communities will have to develop policies and strategies under the Youth Strategy´s framework.

The Digital Education Action Plan (2021-2027) sets out the European Commission's vision for high quality, inclusive and accessible digital education in Europe. It is a call for greater cooperation at European level to:

  • learn from the COVID-19 crisis, in the course of which technology is being used on an unprecedented scale for education and training purposes.
  • bring education and training systems into line with the digital age.

Ongoing debates

One of the most important debates in the field of youth work is the creation of a common recognition system to identify youth work as an independent discipline. As the youth workers profiles tend to include formal and non-formal education, this recognition is a major priority, as, in the current situation, youth workers with non-formal education are disadvantaged when applying to official calls.

Laws dealing with non-formal education are almost non-existent in the legal Spanish framework. For the Inter-regional Youth Council (Consejo Interterritorial de la Juventud) this lack of legislation is one of the top priorities. The creation of this legal framework the field of youth work will grow in importance, establishing itself as a solid and united discipline in Spain and would allow the non-formally educated youth workers to participate in official calls at the regional and local levels.

The meeting of the 26th of June 2018 of the Recognize Network (Red Reconoce) was one of the first steps in this process. It was the third and final meeting to discuss the design of the expansion and implementation of the Non-formal and Volunteer Competence Recognition System in the Field of Youth (Sistema de Reconocimiento de Competencias de la Educación No Formal y Voluntariado en el Ámbito de Juventud). Among the signatories of this meeting were representatives of youth workers of the autonomous regions, the Youth Council (Consejo de la Juventud de España) and the Youth Institute (Instituto de la Juventud).

It is important to mention also the Network of Volunteer Entities Recognize ((La Red de Entidades de Voluntariado Reconoce) promoted by the Don Bosco Confederacy of Youth Centres (Confederación de Centros Júveniles Don Bosco), the Didiana Federation (Federación Didiana) and ASDE Scouts of Spain (ASDE Scouts de España). This network is in the result of an agreement with the autonomous regions to recognize the competences acquired through volunteer work. The intention of this initiative is to offer an online system for the youth organizations, volunteer entities and other public or private organizations to certify the competences the youth acquires performing volunteer activities so the future employability of the volunteers is improved by these experiences and the knowledge they have acquired  .

Finally, it should be underlined that, given the differences among the autonomous regions, it is necessary to create a legal framework surrounding the concept of youth work itself and to clarify this ambiguity in a new nation-wide model. This new model should first define what youth work is, and it should also explicit its functions and give the youth workers a specific recognition for their work at a national level.

In this legal void and lack of recognition, social workers and social educators play a key role, but it is necessary to understand that the special needs of young people in Spain demand a professionalization of youth workers in order to properly work on the social, economical and educational challenges that the youth must face, specially after the 2008 financial crisis and the SARS-COVID19 global crisis, since this group is one of the most affected ones, with one of the highest levels of unemployment and lack of opportunities in Europe.