Conference on Value and Recognition of Youth Work

4-7 December 2023 | Zagreb, Croatia

Gornji dio fotografije sadrži šarene oblike te su s desne strane na bijeloj pozadini slova "yw". U donjem dijelu fotografije na bijeloj pozadini piše Conference "Value and Recognition od Youthwork"

The European Youth Work Agenda (EYWA) aims to boost youth work by strengthening and further developing youth work practice and policies - one of the specific topics of the EYWA is the value and recognition of youth work.

The conference is part of a strategic cooperation project Strengthening youth work in Europe by supporting the implementation of the European Youth Work Agenda (SNAC EYWA), of 15 National Agencies and SALTO Resource Centres that has the aim to contribute to the EYWA by mobilising the EU youth programmes for youth work development within the Bonn Process and by setting thematic impulses.

The overall aim of the conference is to contribute to creating more recognition of youth work and to provide a platform for further reflection on the different dimensions of recognition. So far, recognition as understood in this way addresses the following four areas:

  • Self-recognition (valuing our own and others work as a field and gathering evidence of the impact of our work).
  • Social recognition (other professions and the public acknowledging and valuing youth work as a professional field contributing to society).
  • Political recognition (young people/youth work are included in policy development, and adequate political, legal and financial framing conditions exist).
  • Formal recognition (‘validation’ of learning outcomes and the ‘certification’ of learning processes in youth work, also the training and education of youth workers - within youth work and in formal education).

Aims of the conference

  • To share and explore good practices and strategies for strengthening recognition and to bring together what is already happening within the youth work sector (from different recognition dimensions and from different countries)
  • To learn about good practices in relation to recognition in other sectors
  • To create an overview of the current state of recognition of youth work (building on a communication campaign prior to the event and a collection of initiatives during the event)
  • To create a common message about the value of youth work that can be communicated to others external to our field with one voice
  • To empower participants and facilitate capacity-building to increase commitment to recognition (by increasing knowledge, tools, resources, networks etc.)
  • To develop strategies and action-planning to further strengthen the recognition of youth work
  • To develop strategies and action-planning to create strategic alliances with other sectors
  • To explore the opportunities of the EU youth programmes for implementing measures to strengthen the recognition of youth work

Target group of the conference

The conference aims at empowering those stakeholders who are already engaged in the professional debate on recognition, and who are looking for additional cross-border exchange and inspiration, resources, and practical tools as well as strategic alliances within and beyond the youth work community of practice.
It mainly targets stakeholders from the youth work community of practice, but representatives of other sectors with the scope of their work having an impact on validation and recognition of youth work are also warmly invited and welcomed.
The selected participants should be motivated to actively participate in the conference and to contribute to the follow-up of the conference.

Participants are entitled to receive a Youthpass certificate from the organiser, for recognition of their competence development during the activity. Read more about Youthpass.

More information about the different dimensions of recognition are explained in the video “What is recognition of youth work?” by the EU-Council of Europe Youth Partnership.

Contact for questions:

Sandra Miladin
Phone: 0038515556496

Elke Führer or Alicia Holzschuh, European Service Centre for the Bonn Process at JUGEND für Europa, National Agency for the EU programmes Erasmus+ Youth, Erasmus+ Sport and European Solidarity Corps in Germany;
Phone: + 49 228 9506-289 (Elke Führer) or + 49 228 9506-275 (Alicia Holzschuh).

More information is available at the link.

Fotografija je dijagonalno podijeljena na lijevu - plavu i desnu - narančastu stranu. Na plavoj pozadini u gornjem lijevom kutu žutim slovima piše "conference", a na sredini bijelim slovima piše "value and recognition of youth work". Na narančastoj pozadini je ilustracija oznake za lokaciju plave boje ispod koje plavim slovima piše "Zagreb, Croatia, 4 -7- December 2023"

Recognition practice from Austria: aufZAQ competence framework leading the recognition wave!

In the dynamic field of youth work, understanding and developing key competencies is crucial. Even though on the European level we have a developed competence framework (ETS Competence Model for Youth Workers to Work Internationally), this article will focus on the national level and the efforts of one project for the recognition of youth work.

The aufZAQ Competence model is one of the frameworks that sets an important milestone in Austria’s youth work community of practice. The process of creating the AufZAQ model included researchers, practitioners, youth organisations, and stakeholders from the field. The competence framework aims at increasing the quality of educational offers for youth workers and promotes the mutual recognition of educational providers.

The framework is organised into five core areas, each representing a fundamental aspect of youth work:

  • Enabling, initiating, and promoting learning: This area is about creating an environment conducive to learning, recognising the particular educational needs of young people, and empowering them through knowledge and skills, as well as applying suitable methods for learning and evaluating learning experiences.
  • Supporting identity development and approaches in coping with everyday life: This area focuses on the personal development of young people. It emphasises the importance of helping them cope with life's challenges and with fostering a strong sense of self. Furthermore it highlights to the young people the importance for them of taking control of their lives and acting independently.
  • Enabling participation, representing interests: Empowering young people to raise their voices and represent their interests is key, and this area is dedicated to promoting participation in various forms. This area covers competencies for designing, applying, and enabling participation of young people in educational programmes and everyday life.
  • Act and interact consciously and responsibly: The focus here is on ethical engagement, ensuring that youth work is carried out with a high level of awareness and responsibility. It includes competencies for creating group settings, initiating and creating group processes, acting in a constructive and solution-oriented manner in problem and conflict situations, and includes different dimensions of diversity in youth work.
  • Organising and managing projects: This area emphasises the importance of the skills for dealing with planning, delivering, and managing projects and organisations effectively - a critical component of successful youth work. Some of the competencies in this area include shaping organisational procedures and processes, applying suitable methods for successful organisation, fulfilling administrative tasks, and using financial means responsibly.

A framework with 498 competence descriptions

What sets the aufZAQ competence framework apart is the comprehensive approach it takes to its competence levels. It covers a spectrum ranging from guided activities (Level II) to dealing with complex, non-routine situations (Levels V and VI) and is aligned with the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) and the European Qualifications Framework (EQF). This ensures that there is a path of progression for every youth worker, regardless of their level of experience.

What needs to be noted is that the framework is comprehensive and contains 498 detailed competence descriptions. These descriptions serve as a guide for youth workers in identifying and developing the skills they need to perform their role. Whether you are new to the field or experienced, the framework provides invaluable insight into the multifaceted nature of youth work.

Why to use it and where to find more information?

The aufZAQ Competence Framework is an exemplary model of stakeholder involvement, resulting from the joint efforts of researchers, practitioners, youth organisations, and other stakeholders in the field. This framework is a tool that benefits not only the youth workers but also significantly impacts the lives of young people. We invite you to explore it and conduct a self-assessment of your competencies using this framework. It will provide clear guidance on what you need to improve and what competencies you have already developed at a higher level.

You can find and explore the aufZAQ competence model here. Enjoy reading and self-assessing!

Interested in the topic of recognition even more? Follow our “Value and Recognition of Youth Work” conference on social media channels using the following links: Facebook and Instagram. Let's connect and discuss about the recognition of youth work online!

Fotografija riječi "competence" i njena značenja iz rječnika stranih riječi.

Bridging the Gap: The Evolution and Challenges of Recognising Non-Formal Education in Croatia

Vizual plave boje sa žutim tekstom i naglascima. Na vizualu s lijeve strane piše naslov panela "Bridging the gap: the evolution and challenges of recognizing non-formal education in Croatia". Na desnoj strani je fotografija panelista Marka Kovačića. Na dnu vizuala nalaze se logotipovi organizatora i partnerskih institucija.

In our latest new article, we explore the evolving landscape of non-formal education and youth work recognition within Croatia's higher education system. Since the adoption of the Croatian Qualifications Framework Act in 2013, Croatia has been talking about NFE and its integration into the formal education system. In this interview we will delve into the complexities, challenges, and progress being made in this area, shedding light on how various educational institutions are approaching the recognition of youth work.

Join us as we uncover the details of this important topic and its impact on youth work and non-formal education. In order to find out more, we have talked with Marko Kovačić, Vice Dean for Research and International Cooperation from Edward Bernays University of Applied Sciences.

Can you tell us, from the perspective of the higher education system, if there is any recognition system set in Croatia for competences obtained in non-formal education and the youth work sector?

In 2013, Croatia adopted the Act on the Croatian Qualifications Framework, which recognises and defines non-formal education. With this law, Croatia committed to adopting the Ordinance on the Recognition of Non-Formal Education and Informal Learning. A few years later, the Constitutional Court abolished certain provisions of this law due to encroachment on university autonomy, leaving the process of recognition to the educational institutions. It should be noted that in 2021, Croatia adopted a new Adult Education Act that recognises the importance of non-formal education but also leaves the recognition and validation to educational institutions. In other words, Croatia has a decentralised system where secondary and higher education institutions, as well as institutions offering adult education, adopt their own procedures to recognise (or not recognise) non-formal education.

What does the process of recognition look like? What are the main aspects people need to go through?

The process varies from institution to institution. While some institutions have clearly defined rules and regulations, others have commissions, or the process happens at the level of individual subjects and courses. What they have in common is the growing awareness of the importance of non-formal education and informal learning.

From your perspective, what does Croatia still lack in the area of the recognition of youth work?

Croatia has a relatively good normative framework, and even in policy documents, such as the Croatian Strategy of Education, Science and Technology, or the Recommendations for Strategic Development Recognition and Valuation of Prior Learning, there is an awareness of the importance of regulating this phenomenon. Interestingly, the Croatian education strategy explicitly mentions Youthpass!

Mnoštvo mladih ljudi u predavaonici kojoj su zidovi oslikani raznim grafikonima

One good example of recognition occurs within the Faculty of Social Sciences in Rijeka. They offer a lifelong youth work programme. Can you tell us about the interest from youth workers towards this and the main highlights of it?

The Youth in Contemporary Society programme is unique in Croatia, it focuses on the study of youth as a specific social group. Youth work covers one-third of the content. This programme emphasises the cooperation between formal and non-formal education, resting on the idea that both are equally important for the quality education of youth workers. Using experts from practice, as well as non-formal methods, our students gain a unique perspective that they cannot get anywhere else. It's worth noting that this programme is a positive example of the recognition of previously acquired competencies that are awarded to our students.

Why is it important, especially for Croatia, to talk about the recognition of youth workers?

It's not only important to talk, but also to educate formal education providers about the benefits of opening up to non-formal education. Non-formal education is still insufficiently visible, and its benefits are often unclear to representatives of the formal education system. There's also a need to change the perception that non-formal education and informal learning are frivolous or insufficiently useful because, in some cases, they can be more important than diplomas.

What would be your message to policymakers at the national and European level about why they should support the recognition of youth work?

In 2012, the European Council adopted the Council Recommendation on the validation of non-formal and informal learning, a high-quality initiative. It's important that educational authorities in all countries clearly state that they support cooperation between formal and informal education. Such an attitude will encourage educational institutions and contribute to the validation and recognition of youth work.

Thanks Marko for this interview and for sharing these important insights with us.

And are you interested in the topic of recognition? Follow our “Value and Recognition of Youth Work” Conference on social media channels using the following links: Facebook and Instagram. Let's connect and discuss about the recognition of youth work online!

For more detailed information and a comprehensive report on the conference, please refer to the accompanying documents.

Value and Recognition of Youth Work Conference Report
Value and Recognition of Youth Work Conference Report Appendices
Book 1 Recognising Recognition
Book 2 Self Recognition

Book 3 Social Recognition

Book 4 Political Recognition

Book 5 Formal Recognition