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EACEA National Policies Platform


10. Youth work

10.5 Youth workers

Last update: 27 January 2021


On this page
1.Status in national legislation
  1. Education, training and skills recognition
  2. Mobility of youth workers


Status in national legislation

The Education Workforce Council (Registration of Youth Workers, Youth Support Workers and Work Based Learning Practitioners) Order 2016 lists various educational qualifications and alternative requirements for youth workers. Youth workers are someone who meets these requirements, and who ‘provides (or wishes to provide) youth development services.’


According to the Order, those who do not meet these requirements can only work with youth in a volunteer capacity.



Education, training and skills recognition

ETS Wales ensures that training programmes for youth workers are of a high standard and are relevant to the needs of young people, youth workers and their employers. ETS Wales carries out its work on behalf of the Joint Negotiating Committee (JNC) for Youth and Community Workers, which itself sets the national frameworks used to grade and pay all youth work positions.

Two levels of JNC approved training are currently available (full details):

●      youth support workers; delivered by local authorities and resulting in a Level 2 or 3 qualification on the Credit and Qualifications Framework for Wales (CQFW)

●      professionally qualified youth workers - delivered by five universities across Wales and resulting in a Level 6 or 7 qualifications on the CQFW.

Further information about the CQFW is available in the article entitled 'National Qualifications Framework' in Eurydice's national education systems description of Wales.

Moreover, members of the CWVYS are able to access training and development opportunities for their staff and volunteers. A number of best practice guides for youth workers are available on the CWVYS website.

Note that since the passing of the Education Workforce Council (Registration of Youth Workers, Youth Support Workers and Work Based Learning Practitioner) Order 2016, individuals working in aspects of youth work in Wales, including on behalf of a local authority, school or charity, must be registered with the General Teaching Council for Wales.

Please see the Education Workforce Council (Registration of Youth Workers, Youth Support Workers and Work Based Learning Practitioners) Order 2016 for a list of qualifying educational degrees and diplomas.

Youth Work Excellence Awards

The Welsh government offers the Youth Excellence Awards which recognise and celebrate outstanding youth work projects, youth workers and those involved in youth work across Wales. There are two categories of awards: Outstanding Youth Projects and Individual Awards.

The six awards within the category of Outstanding Youth Projects are designed to celebrate specific youth projects in the fields of:

      Promoting heritage and cultures in Wales and beyond;

      Promoting health, wellbeing and active lifestyles;

      Engagement with formal education, employment or training;

      Promoting the arts, media and digital skills;

      Promoting young people’s rights;

  Promoting equality and diversity.

The three individual awards consist of:

●  Outstanding Youth Worker - a qualified youth worker who goes above and beyond their normal role to be exceptional.

●      Outstanding Youth Work Volunteer - volunteers who demonstrate the outstanding contribution they make to young people as an individual or through a project.

●  Making a Difference - anyone who has made a difference to the lives of young people regardless of whether they consider themselves to be a youth worker.


Mobility of youth workers

Erasmus+ provides Welsh organisations engaged in youth work with opportunities to travel abroad to attend seminars, training courses, networking events, study visits, and job shadowing/observation periods. Youth work organisations can apply to either send youth workers abroad, or receive organisations and be responsible for hosting a group and developing a programme of activities for participants.

Any organisation or group established in a Programme Country can be an applicant, and must apply on behalf of all participating organisations involved in a project.

Opportunities for youth workers can include up to 50 people and can last anywhere between two days and two months. Projects must take place in the country of a participating organisation. 

Under the Withdrawal Agreement negotiated with the EU, the UK will continue to participate fully in the current (2014-2020) Erasmus+ as part of the Brexit transition period. According to the European Commission website, the possible participation of the UK in future programmes after 2020 will depend on the outcome of the overall negotiations on the future relationship between the two parties.