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Youth work

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An annual report which includes information on registered members, accreditation, projects, workforce and finance.
Julie James AM, Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology
We are committed to making the principles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) a reality for all children and young people in Wales.
The unique and distinctive character of youth work is that it is based on a voluntary relationship between young people and youth workers.

The Youth Service in Wales is a universal entitlement, open to all young people within the specified age range 11 to 25.

The Youth Work National Occupational Standards (2012) identified that the key purpose of youth work is to:

‘enable young people to develop holistically, working with them to facilitate their personal, social and educational development, to enable them to develop their voice, influence and place in society and to reach their full potential.’

Youth work is provided through both the voluntary and local authority sectors and through a variety of youth work settings and methods.

What is youth work?

Good non-formal educative youth work provides all young people with active interventions with a purpose that produces learning and development environments for young people. It can play an important role in equipping and helping young people to achieve in their formal education. Youth work in Wales offers opportunities for learning that are educative, expressive, participative, inclusive and empowering.

The Wales Charter for Youth Work

On 17 March 2016 at the Together for Young People conference in Cardiff the Deputy Minister for Skills & Technology, Julie James AM announced The Wales Charter for Youth Work. This sets out the Welsh Government’s minimum expectation for youth work to young people across Wales.

The Charter is written from the perspective of a young person rather than that of service providers. Our document ‘Developing Youth Work in Wales’ sets out the Wales Charter for Youth Work.

The National Youth Work Strategy for Wales 2014 to 2018

We have committed in the Programme for Government to update the National Youth Service Strategy. A consultation was carried out for a new national youth work strategy for Wales, which closed 16th September 2013.

The National Youth Work Strategy for Wales 2014-2018 sets the direction for youth work organisations from 2014 to 2018.

Youth Work in Wales: Principles and Purposes (external link) was developed and produced by representatives of the voluntary and local authority youth work sectors in Wales. It sets out the key principles which underpin youth work and provides an overview of its nature, purposes and delivery in Wales.

Youth work qualifications

Youth work is a distinct profession with its own qualifications framework that has parity with teaching and social work.

The Joint Negotiating Committee (JNC) for Youth and Community Workers is the body that sets the national framework used to grade and pay youth work jobs. The JNC also recognise youth and community workers’ qualifications which have been professionally approved by the Education and Training Standards (ETS) Wales Committee. ETS Wales has a list of all endorsed courses (external link).

Gaining a qualification that is either endorsed or validated by ETS Wales and recognised by the JNC ensures that it is fit for purpose and is developing youth workers to meet the needs of young people.

To find out about training in Wales, please contact:

ETS Wales c/o Welsh Local Government Association,
Local Government House,
Drake Walk, Cardiff CF10 4LG
Tel: 029 20468687
Visit the ETS Wales website (external link)

The YMCA Wales website (external link) community college also offer many level 2 and 3 youth work courses across Wales.