The LEAP project is directed toward youth workers who implement the PBL approach in their work with young people. In previous posts of our blog we have talked about the PBL model, its history, features and procedures. In this post we want to clarify what youth work is.
According to the Council of Europe “Youth Work is a broad term covering a wide variety of activities of a social, cultural, educational, environmental and/or political nature by, with and for young people, in groups or individually […]. It is based on non-formal and informal learning processes focused on young people and on voluntary participation” (Council of Europe).
This definition provides some of the essential characteristics of Youth Work. First of all, it includes different types of activities stimulating the personal, social and creative development. Second, it is aimed towards young people and serves their needs and aspirations. Third, it is not obligatory and relies on the voluntary participation.
The Curriculum Development Unit argues that Youth Work should follow at least three core principles*: 1) Equity, meaning that everyone is treated fairly and justly according their needs. 2) Diversity, meaning the respect of the differences in the communities and seeing these differences as something which benefit everyone. 3) Interdependence, involving working together for a common good and acknowledging that we are connected between us.
The Second European Youth Work Convention**, which took place in Brussels in 2015, defined a series of objectives and strategic roles of Youth Work:
- Advancing democracy, human rights, citizenship, European values, participation, equal opportunities and voice
- Promoting peace-building, tolerance, intercultural learning; combating radicalisation, preventing extremism
- Cementing social inclusion and cohesion;
- Engaging in collaborative practice, partnership working and cross-sectorial cooperation
Thanks to this brief overview, the fundamental role of Youth Work in promoting principles such as solidarity, mutual support and the fight against all forms of discrimination through the direct involvement of young people is evident. In the next post we will try to identify who the Young Workers are and what they do.
* Youth Work: a model for effective practice. Guidance for Part-TimeWorkers and Volunteers. http://www.youthlink.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Core-Principles.pdf
** Declaration of the 2nd European Youth Work Convention https://pjp-eu.coe.int/en/web/youth-partnership/eywc-website-declaration