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The future of youth work


In Yo-Pro, we believe that if you want young people to visit youth clubs and organisations in their free time it is important to have the right equipment.

The right equipment can be good computers, updated software, fast Internet access, video/film projector, photo lab, space and equipment for role play, paintball guns, canoes, mountain bikes or a good stereo for parties.

However, one factor that is more important than the equipment at the club is the attitude and behaviour of the youth workers who the young people meet in the clubs and organisations.

The youth workers must be engaged in and skilled at their work. They must like their work and be interested in the young people.

In this exercise we want the participants to answer the following questions:

How does a youth club or youth organisation of yesterday look?
What competencies and skills are behind your biggest successes in youth work?
How will a success full youth club or youth organisation look in the future?
What competencies and skills will you need to work there?
Have many of those competencies and skills do you posses on a professional level?
Which ones do you need to develop?
How will you do that?

The expected learning outcomes for youth workers:
self-confidence: develop, express and share clear ideas and views, capable of presenting ideas effectively to others, believe in oneself;
positive thinking: always think “success”;
motivation: being inspired to take action;
own identity: be comfortable with who you are, express yourself and your views and opinions to others;
working with others: participate cooperatively with others, build trust in relationships, actively collaborate on developing ideas, engage in creative group and activities;
speaking and listening: debate and discuss ideas in small/large groups, explain own ideas and listen to others’ ideas/views, effectively share/present small group ideas to large group;
comfortable with failure as valid learning opportunity: ability to try new things beyond own experience; happy to make mistakes and for ideas to fail; adapt and change ideas through perceived failure; learn from failure in order to reach success
brainstorming and word association: participate in small and large group brainstorming;
verbal communication/reasoning: justify own opinions, be honest and open, critically assess ideas and contributions, engage in meaningful discussion, reach a team agreement
problem –solving: identify problem fully, develop strategies and solutions, discuss and agree these with the team, implement strategies and solutions;
leadership: organise the team, achieve targets set;
confidence: develop self self-confidence and self-belief, act on and take initiative, have a positive vision of your future;
social skills: behave appropriately in different settings, be comfortable and relaxed in groups of people
take responsibility for self and others, organise the team, inspire and motivate others, lead by example, achieve targets set;
basic mind-mapping of ideas: understand how to map out ideas and thinking, understand how to make connections between ideas, ability to see and understand the “bigger picture”

Resumé of exercise
Not only youth workers, but everybody who has a job needs to develop their competencies and skills due to development in society.
Youth workers must realize that the world young people live in changes very fast. The development of youth cultures happens very fast. New cultures can appear to come and go over night.
Youth workers must know how to act in this world of change. They must know how to take advantage of the developments together with the young people they work with but at the same time never compromise on ethical and moral issues.
The youth worker must be able to listen to young people, to learn from them, to show them respect, to co-operate with them and to involve them.
But the youth worker must also be ready to make the young people listen, if they break the law, the rules of the house or if they are in danger of hurting themselves or others.

In this exercise we ask the questions and the participants give the answers. In the end, we make the participants analyze how closely they are to live up to their own answers and what it takes to improve.

List of exercises:

  • Youth club of yesterday
  • Best practice and good examples 
  • Youth club of tomorrow
  • Competencies and skills
  • How good you are
  • Improvement of competencies and skills




"Developed with the support of the European Community, within the framework of the Leonardo da Vinci Programme. The opinions expressed by the authors do not necessarily reflect the position of the European Community, nor does it involve any responsibility on its part."