On March 11-15 2019, the European Youth Center Strasbourg (France) hosted the "Youth Work Policy in Europe: It's Up to Us!" study session, the purpose of which was to raise awareness about the Youth Work Policy and the Youth Work Recommendation developed by the Council of Europe (CM/Rec(2017)4 and to use it as a tool for advocating for Youth Work Policies.
The study session was organized by the European Confederation of Youth Club - ECYC and the Youth Department of the Council of Europe, during which the members of Federation of Youth Clubs of Armenia (FYCA) Gayane Barseghyan, Garik Khachatryan, Hrayr Poghosyan and Margush Hakobyan were active participants. Diana Yeghiazaryan, Vice-President of ECYC, International Secretary of FYCA, was a member of the trainers' and organizational team.
Throughout the project, participants learned about youth work, Recommendation of Youth Work, about its history, structure, content and goals, shared their experiences on the Youth Policy. On second day of the program, Antje Rothemund, the Head of the Youth Department of the CoE, paid a visit to this event. She was directly involved in the drafting of the Recommendation. During the entire training program, 37 participants shared their countries' youth policies, programs and needs and abilities of Youth Work. On the last days of the program, the participants made up their action plans, which they introduced to each other.
Gayane Barseghyan highlighted the following: "It was interesting for me to discover the experience of other countries in the field of youth work, to see and compare the cooperation of institutional and non-institutional structures working in the field of youth policy, Co-Management model of decision making. Each of the seven points of the Recommendation is very important for the development of the youth field. But the second point is vital to me. Creating a flexible system of education and knowledge for youth workers and volunteers, which will train them and give them relevant experience. It is necessary to standardize and coordinate their work, using best practices, using best methods based on knowledge".
Continuing to talk about the knowledge and experience gained in the program, Garik Khachatryan mentions: “I participated in an international project in Europe for the first time. Thanks to the Federation of Youth Clubs of Armenia, I learned about the youth work policy, its importance and measures to promote it. The idea of the recommendation and the principles are of immediate interest. The recommendation builds on the existing values, principles and benefits of youth work as enshrined in the instruments referred to in the text below. The design and delivery of youth work are underpinned by the principles of voluntary and active participation, equality of access, openness and flexibility. It should be rights-based, inclusive and centered on young people, their needs and abilities. We have so much to do in this area, so we’ll start right now!».
Maga Hakobyan, who is the head of a youth club Smart School operating in Javakheti, Georgia says that the most interesting point was the first one: Quality Youth Work. The Council of Europe creates special programs to ensure the quality of youth work living in different regions. She thinks today's young people need programs, which will help them to create secure future, as a result of which they will be ready to implement all their potential in youth work.
For Hrayr Poghosyan was remarkable the sixth point, which promotes CoE Quality Label for Youth Centres as a good practice.
The Armenian free translation of the Recommendation is one of the priorities of the action plan for the Armenian participants, which they have already begun to implement. The recommendation consists of seven points, which are represented as they are below.
Recommends that the governments of the member States, within their sphere of competence, renew their support for youth work by:
1. ensuring that the establishment or further development of quality youth work is safeguarded and pro-actively supported within local, regional or national youth policies, as appropriate. Taking into account the diversity of youth work across and within member States, special attention should be paid to the need for strategies, frameworks, legislation, sustainable structures and resources, effective co-ordination with other sectors, as well as to related policies that promote equal access to youth work for all young people. Youth workers and young people should be actively engaged in any planned measures for implementation;
2. establishing a coherent and flexible competency-based framework for the education and training of paid and volunteer youth workers that takes into account existing practice, new trends and arenas, as well as the diversity of youth work. Stakeholders, including youth workers and young people, should be involved in developing this framework;
3. taking into consideration the measures and principles proposed in the appendix to this recommendation and encouraging providers of youth work to do the same;
4. supporting the initiative of the Council of Europe’s youth sector to set up an ad hoc high-level task force of the relevant stakeholders in youth work in Europe, which can elaborate a mid-term strategy for the knowledge-based development of European youth work, in order to:
– improve co-ordination of and access to youth work knowledge and resources at European, national, regional and local levels;
– further support the exchange of youth work practices, peer learning and the creation of sustainable networks and partnerships;
– stimulate co-operation within the youth sector and among sectors and fields of expertise wherever youth work takes place in order to reinforce ties, in particular between formal education and youth work and between public authorities, the private sector and civil society;
– strengthen the dialogue between youth work, youth policy and youth research;
– strengthen the capacity of youth work to respond to the changes and trends in our society and the emerging challenges faced by young people;
– carry out a mapping exercise on existing education and training (such as vocational training and higher education) and existing systems for validation of competences for paid and volunteer youth workers;
– develop a range of assistance measures to support member States in taking forward and implementing this recommendation;
5. fostering national and European research on the different forms of youth work and their value, impact and merit;
6. supporting the development of appropriate forms of review and evaluation of the impact and outcomes of youth work and by reinforcing the dissemination, recognition and impact of the Council of Europe Youth Work Portfolio in the member States;
7. promoting the Council of Europe Quality Label for Youth Centres as an example of good practice.
It further recommends that the governments of the member States:
– ensure that this recommendation, including its appendix, is translated and disseminated (in accessible formats) to relevant authorities and stakeholders, with a view to raising awareness of, and strengthening commitment to, the further development of quality youth work;
– examine, within the Committee of Ministers, the implementation of this recommendation five years after adoption.
Armenia is a full member of the Council of Europe since 2001. The Council of Europe is an international organisation whose stated aim is to uphold human rights, democracy and the rule of law in Europe. Founded in 1949, it has 47 member states.
The free Armenian translation you may download here: