Youth worker concept

The desk research in frames of MAV project has shown there are some differences between the project partner countries with regards to various aspects related to the concept of “youth worker”, such as: definition, scope, official recognition and standardisation.

At one end the spectrum there is the United Kindgom, which has a system in place for youth workers which dates back to the late 1930’s, with National Occupational Standards defining what are the qualifications needed to be a youth worker, and a different range of qualifications and training paths to become a qualified youth worker.

At the other end there is Spain, where there is at present no professional figure as “youth educator”, however youth work is being conceived in a broad sense. This means that anybody working with youths at different levels can be considered a youth worker (teachers of pupils aged 15-35, school counsellors, job agents, sports instructors, etc.), while the profession that can be more easily associated with working with youths facing social and labour difficulties, is that of the social worker. In between, we have Poland and Slovakia. In Poland, although the figure of the youth worker is well defined, there is currently no common system for validation of the qualifications of youth workers, however some large organizations use a system based on standardized training and a way of validating the acquired knowledge. In Slovakia, the profile of the youth worker is also defined by law, although the term was introduced in Slovak Republic policies only in the last decade.