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Youth Policy and professional open youth work by Maurice Devlin

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Youth Policy and professional open youth work by Maurice Devlin

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Presentation by Maurice Devlin, Maynooth University, Ireland
@ the international POYWE seminar “Reflections on Expectations of youth work in Europe”,
23.- 25.2.2015, Rotterdam, NL

Presentation by Maurice Devlin, Maynooth University, Ireland
@ the international POYWE seminar “Reflections on Expectations of youth work in Europe”,
23.- 25.2.2015, Rotterdam, NL

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Youth Policy and professional open youth work by Maurice Devlin

  1. 1. Youth Policy and Professional Open Youth Work Maurice Devlin Centre for Youth Research and Development Maynooth University Ireland
  2. 2. ‘European Youth Policy?’ • A social policy view from 2000: • ‘Traditional areas of youth policy, employment, vocational training and education have enjoyed substantial programmatic and legislative success…Outside these traditional areas youth policy has vanished…[and there are] no signs of development.’ (Geyer, 2000: 201-2).
  3. 3. Background Legal basis for EU action on youth:  Circumscribed overall by principle of ‘subsidiarity’ (introduced in Treaty of Maastricht & retained in Treaty of Lisbon)  ‘joint programme for the exchange of young workers’ (Treaty of Rome, 1957)  ‘youth exchanges and exchanges of socio-educational instructors [youth workers]’ (Treaty of Maastricht, 1992)  ‘encouraging the participation of young people in democratic life in Europe’ (Treaty of Lisbon, 2009)
  4. 4. Background • Legal basis flexible enough to allow for a wide range of initiatives • Allows much more than ‘exchanges’ in a narrow sense • Recent years have seen much increased emphasis on the potential of youth work • Compare White Paper 2001 and current Framework for Cooperation 2010-18
  5. 5. White Paper: A New Impetus for European Youth (2001) Four themes, all relating to ‘active citizenship’  Participation  Information  Voluntary services  Better understanding of youth Use of OMC (Open Method of Coordination) for youth sector
  6. 6. White Paper: A New Impetus for European Youth (cont...) • ‘Of the various subjects regarded as being proper to the youth field, and which are suited to the open method of coordination as described above, the European Commission proposes participation, voluntary service, information, improving the public authorities’ awareness of young people’s concerns…
  7. 7. White Paper: A New Impetus for European Youth (cont...) • …and more generally any other subject which might contribute to the development and recognition of activities on the youth front (e.g. youth work, youth clubs, street work, projects to foster a sense of citizenship, integration, solidarity among young people, etc.)…
  8. 8. White Paper: A New Impetus for European Youth (cont...) • …for the part which is not covered by other political processes such as employment, social integration and education. • This corresponds very largely to the kind of activities and resources normally associated with youth policies at national level.’ (White Paper: A New Impetus for European Youth, p. 16)
  9. 9. European Commission Strategy Proposals - Investing and Empowering (2009) Eight fields of action clustered under three headings:  Creating more opportunities in education and employment  Improving access and participation  Fostering solidarity between society and young people A new role for youth work: ‘Youth work contributes to all fields of action and their identified objectives.’
  10. 10. Council Resolution for Renewed Cooperation in the Youth Field 2010-2018 Two overall objectives:  Create more and equal opportunities for all young people in education and in the labour market;  Promote the active citizenship, social inclusion and solidarity of all young people
  11. 11. Council Resolution for Renewed Cooperation in the Youth Field 2010-2018 Eight fields of action:  Education & training  Employment and entrepreneurship  Health and well-being  Participation  Voluntary activities  Social inclusion  Youth and the world  Creativity and culture
  12. 12. Council Resolution for Renewed Cooperation in the Youth Field 2010-2018 ‘Under this framework of cooperation, supporting and developing youth work should be regarded as cross-sectoral issues…Youth work belongs to the area of “out-of-school” education, as well as specific leisure time activities managed by professional or voluntary youth workers and youth leaders and is based on non-formal learning processes and on voluntary participation.’
  13. 13. Youth work – different traditions, different names • Youth work (EN) L’animation socio-éducative (FR) Jugendarbeit (DE) Ungdomsarbejde (DA) La animación juvenil (SP) Jeugdwerk (NL) L'animazione socioeducativa (IT) Ungdomsarbete (SV) Animação socioeducativa (PT) Nuorisotyö (FI) διοργάνωση δραστηριοτήτων για νέους (EL) Prací s mládeží (CS) Noorsootöö (ET) Az ifjúsági munka (HU) Darbas su jaunimu (LT) Jaunatnes darbs (LV) Ħidma maż-Żgħażagħ (MT) Praca z młodzieżą (PL) Mládežnícka práca (SK) Mladinsko delo (SL) Социално- възпитателната работа с младежта (BG) Activitatea pentru tineret (RO) Obair don óige (GA)
  14. 14. But – a lot in common • A shared vocabulary and vision for youth work in Europe is emerging • ‘Cross-sectoral contribution’ recognised in the EU Youth Strategy 2010-18 and elsewhere…another way of saying ‘holistic’? • Core features highlighted in Council Resolution on Youth Work 2010
  15. 15. Council Resolution on Youth Work 2010 Arising from and/or influenced by • EU Strategy & Renewed Framework • Other EU resolutions, recommendations and decisions on youth, mobility, volunteering, poverty, social inclusion, unemployment • Youth policies of the Council of Europe • 1st European Youth Work Convention, Ghent (Belgium), July 2010 Guiding principles • Reference to ‘gender equality and combating all forms of discrimination’, EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, ‘universal values regarding human rights, democracy, peace, anti-racism, cultural diversity, solidarity, equality and sustainable development’
  16. 16. Council Resolution on Youth Work 2010 Nature of youth work: ‘In all the Member States, countless children and young people, youth workers and youth leaders coming from different backgrounds, participate in, benefit from or are active in a rich and diverse range of youth work activities. These activities can take place in many contexts addressing different issues that affect their lives and the realities in which they live.’
  17. 17. Council Resolution on Youth Work 2010 Nature of youth work (continued): ‘Youth work takes place in the extra-curricular area, as well as through specific leisure time activities, and is based on non-formal and informal learning processes and on voluntary participation. These activities and processes are self-managed, co-managed or managed under educational and pedagogical guidance by either professional or voluntary youth workers and youth leaders and can develop and be subject to changes caused by different dynamics.’
  18. 18. Council Resolution on Youth Work 2010 Nature of youth work (continued). Varies according to:  context (community, history, society, policy)  concern to include and empower all young people  Role of paid/volunteer youth workers  types of organisation (govt/non-govt; youth/adult-led)  method and approach  role of local and regional authorities
  19. 19. Council Resolution on Youth Work 2010 Contribution of youth work: • Provides ‘comfortable, safe, inspirational and pleasant environment’ • Creates space for young people to ‘express themselves, learn from each other, meet each other, play, explore and experiment’ • Promotes participation, engagement, active citizenship • Strengthens community building and civil society at all levels • Develops creativity, awareness, entrepreneurship and innovation • Provides opportunities for social inclusion of all; reaches those with fewer opportunities • Complements formal education; contributes to other youth-related policy areas • Supports economic development, creates employment
  20. 20. Council Resolution on Youth Work 2010 Invites action on part of • Member States (sustainable support; implement renewed framework; involve relevant actors and authorities) • European Commission (study youth work; support NGOs; enhance quality, capacity and mobility; develop tools and platforms for research, policy and practice) • Both MSs and Commission (create better conditions; raise awareness; develop quality and capacity; promote employability, mobility and recognition of qualifications and skills; promote research and information, exchange and cooperation; develop systematic assessment of skills and competences for training. • Civil society (accessibility, diversity of training, evaluation, innovation, cooperation and networking)
  21. 21. EU Work Plan for Youth 2014-15 • The Council and the Member States… • RECOGNISE that, since the adoption of the Resolution on a Renewed Framework for European cooperation in the Youth field 2010-2018, the crisis has presented new challenges for youth policy and that there is a need for reinforced cooperation in the youth field at EU level to adequately deal with these challenges. • RECALL that the 2012 Joint EU Youth Report called for stronger links and more cohesion between the Renewed Framework for European cooperation in the Youth field 2010-2018 and the Europe 2020 Strategy.
  22. 22. EU Work Plan for Youth 2014-15 (cont.) • AGREE that, in light of the current crisis, the following themes should be given priority by Member States and the Commission… • Development of youth work and non-formal and informal learning and its contribution to addressing the effects of the crisis on young people; • Enhanced cross-sectorial cooperation within the framework of EU strategies; • Empowerment, with a special focus on access to rights, autonomy, participation and active citizenship within and outside the EU.
  23. 23. Definnition of youth work • Current EU policy documents for the most part do not distinguish between “professional” youth work and other kind(s); or between “open” youth work and other kind(s). • European Commission’s proposals for the European Youth Strategy noted the social contribution “together with…other professionals”, and argued that that youth work “needs to be professionalised further” (European Commission, 2009: 11). • Such terms did not feature in the Council’s Renewed Framework document (2010)
  24. 24. What do we mean by ‘professional’? • Or what kind of youth work is not professional? • Amateur? • Untrained? • Unpaid (voluntary)? • Unprofessional?
  25. 25. The ‘promise’….. • Profess (verb): ‘to avow, acknowledge or confess’ • Profession (noun): • ‘a solemn declaration, promise or vow’ • ‘a vocation in which a professed knowledge of some department of learning or science is used in its application to the affairs of others or in the practice of an art founded upon it’
  26. 26. Vocation and profession? • ‘Youth work is not just a vocation, although almost inevitably the people who do it have a particularly strong sense of personal commitment to the work and to the wellbeing of young people. It is a profession, in the sense that all those who do it, both volunteer and paid, are required and obliged, in the interests of young people and of society as a whole, to carry out their work to the highest possible standards and to be accountable for their actions.’ • National Youth Work Development Plan (Ireland) 2003-07
  27. 27. What do we mean by ‘open’ youth work? • Not associated with membership, or with ideology (Coussée 2008) • Based on voluntary participation (it is open to young people to leave)? • Open to all young people (not ‘targeted’); or if targeted, still based on voluntary participation? • Open to (driven by) young people’s voice(s)? • Open to diverse (and unpredictable) ‘outcomes’? • Open to change?
  28. 28. Does ‘official’ policy recognise these principles? • At European level yes, at least on paper. • At national, regional and local level, the situation is variable.
  29. 29. Policy makers are funders too… • This is the most direct practical implication of what policy says about youth work • There are many challenges at present, but also – in some ways – unprecedented opportunities to make the case for youth work
  30. 30. ‘Reappraisal and new directions’ (Julia Evetts, 2006) • Need for ‘a more balanced assessment…public interest and professional self-interest are not necessarily at opposite ends of a continuum…Professionalism might also work to create and represent distinct professional values or moral obligations that restrain excessive competition and encourage cooperation’.
  31. 31. Living with ambivalence? • is youth work about autonomy and authenticity or assimilation and adjustment; about the reproduction of identities or their transformation; an organised element of public social policy or the spontaneous product of social movements? Rather than attempt to identify clearcut answers to such (perhaps unanswerable) questions, he suggests that the negotiation of ambivalence should itself be seen as a core skill and competence of youth workers.

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