European Youth Work Declaration Provides Vision for Youth Work

Date: 30th April 2015
Category: General principles

As a result of the European Youth Work Convention which took place in Brussels from 27th - 30th April, a Declaration of the 2nd European Youth Work Convention has been published which aligns with the national Youth Work Strategy launched by Education Scotland and Youthlink Scotland in 2014.

The European Youth Work Convention is one of the flagship initiatives of the Belgian Chairmanship of the Council of Europe and it looks at developments in youth work policy and practice since the first convention in 2010. The 2015 Convention brought together over 400 policymakers, researchers and practitioners to debate challenges facing youth work at local, national and European level.

The Convention culminated in a Declaration that will aim at giving a new impetus to youth work policy in Europe. The aim of the final Declaration is to:

- Contribute to the elaboration of a renewed strategy, agenda and action plan for youth work in Europe;
- Trigger an institutional process towards an agreement on the value and significance of youth work at Council of Europe and/or EU level;
- Send a strong message of support to policymakers and practitioners to continue developing and renewing youth work in Europe.

Recommendations and action points of the Declaration include:

- A need for more and continuous European co-operation to further develop and strengthen youth work in Europe,
- To improve the quality of youth work through discussion and training,
- Consolidate efforts to build a knowledge base for youth work in Europe,
- Develop a sufficient and sustainable system of funding,
- Find common ground for youth work in Europe,
- Enhance collaborative work across sectors,
- Participate in inclusive and civic dialogue.

The Declaration concludes, "A failure to invest in youth work has three consequences. It is an abdication of responsibility to the next generation. It is a loss of opportunity to strengthen contemporary civil society throughout Europe. And finally, it weakens the potential for dealing effectively with some of the major social challenges (such as unemployment and extremism) of our time."

The Declaration includes a set of action points which are in tandem with the national Youth Work Strategy here in Scotland.