Governments should do more to support youth workers by promoting their professional recognition, education and training, according to a new report by the Commonwealth Secretariat.
The study of the status of youth work in Asia, Africa, the Caribbean and Americas, Europe and the Pacific shows that only a third of countries sampled have introduced national-level policies that regulate, protect and promote youth work as a distinct profession.
This is despite a significant youth bulge in many countries, and a global development context in which young people still face disproportionately challenging life circumstances.
The report, ‘Youth Work in the Commonwealth: A Growth Profession’, aims to establish a baseline to measure progress, to share best practices and to encourage greater investment in a sector which is largely composed of volunteers, many of whom work at youth clubs, charities and faith-based organisations.
While the study of 35 countries provides evidence of major advancements in the recognition of youth work in several countries, it found that only 34 percent of those sampled (12 in total) have taken significant steps to professionalise the youth work sector.
However, reflecting the growing popularity of youth work among educational institutions, 71 percent of countries (25 in total) today offer a diploma-level qualification. This indicates that, although the sector is lacking official recognition, it remains a career of choice for many students.
The authors of the 270-page report conclude that greater investment is needed to upskill and support youth workers. Among the report’s recommendations is a call for youth work to be given the credential of a public sector profession and for relevant qualifications to be registered by national authorities.Publication date: 31 Jul 2017 Read the full report here