In the last decade, in Europe, the debate on the role of youth workers and their centrality to the maintenance of social and territorial cohesion in all countries has expanded.
The implementation of strategies and actions aimed at supporting young people in their personal, social and professional development, must be accompanied by a recognition and enhancement of the professionalism of youth workers: these are the priorities that have pushed the National Agencies for Youth of reference in the Member States to provide moments of meeting and exchange between the key players in the field of youth work, to strengthen the idea that the new generations are the key to the development of countries and European culture, and for this reason it is necessary to put them at the centre of political agendas.
The European Youth Work Convention (EYWC) is the main forum of discussion on the latest developments in youth work (both research and practice) and youth policies in Europe.
Professionals, volunteers, policy-makers and researchers (who together constitute the youth worker community) had the opportunity to meet in a structured way:
- In July 2010 in Ghent, Belgium, with the aim of defining the first concrete steps that have to be taken in direction of a European collaboration between the main actors, in line with the EU guidelines;
- In April 2015 in Brussels, Belgium, with the aim of identifying a common ground for youth work and its position in relation to public policies and issues facing young people.
- In December 2020 online, to discuss guidelines and tools for the implementation of the European Youth Work Agenda. The 3rd EYWC was hosted by the German Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth. Partners in the organization and development of the event were JUGEND für Europa, the National Agency for the EU programs Erasmus + Youth in Action and European Solidarity Corps.
These moments of meeting and confrontation are traditionally articulated in workshops, debates, presentations and reports that aim to inspire operators for new actions at local and European level, create new synergies and collaborations, deepen the political context within which certain decisions are taken.
The European Youth Work Agenda
The European Youth Work Agenda is a strategy born from the cooperation between the European Union and the Council of Europe thanks to the instances that emerged from the 2nd European Youth Work Convention in 2015, which aims to:
1. promote the Agenda itself as a starting point for the Bonn Process, thanks to which measures and strategies will be implemented at European and local level, in the Member States;
2. provide a strategic framework for future developments in the field of youth work;
3. affirm the essential function of youth work within youth policies;
4. ensure and expand youth work activities;
5. strengthen the common ground of youth work through cooperation between and with the community of practices;
6. support future developments in the quality of youth work;
7. support the capacity of youth work to address social challenges by innovating its practices;
8. enhance and promote the recognition of youth work;
9. affirm the role of youth work in the "new normal".
The objectives of the Convention
The 3rd Edition of the European Youth Work Convention was promoted with the objective of launching and affirming the role of the Agenda as a strategic part of European policies.
In practice, this meant the presence of informative moments, practical development of the contents of the document, definition of recommendations for the implementation of the objectives, processes and national measures.
Holding the conference online made it possible to reach a broader number of actors from all EU and Council of Europe member states, in a more equitable manner than the previous in-person occasions. Moreover, it allowed to show the potential of youth work methods, able to adapt to contemporary global challenges, thinking “outside the box”.
The staff of the Municipality of Cinisello Balsamo participated in the 3rd European Youth Work Convention in two different ways:
- as members of the Italian Delegation, representing local public institutions that promote youth work actions in their territories. The teamwork created will continue to discuss the issues of recognition of youth work and the definition of the new national law on youth during next years;
- representing the InterCity Youth Network and the work done by the Europe Goes Local network for the production of the European Youth Work Card.
Below you can find a summary of the results of the first day of the Convention, dedicated to the strategic classification of the contents: