The aim of the »ABC of Youth Work« project is to contribute to the rise in the quality of youth work in the European Union and to provide better social inclusion of young people with fewer opportunities.
The abbreviation “ABC” in the project title symbolises the need for youth work to return to its basics and foundations. The project is based on the assumption that youth work needs to return to its fundamental principles in order to maintain its position in the society: opening the space for young people as well as constructing bridges between the worlds of youth and adults.
Youth work has been under increasingly large pressures of achieving qualitative and quantitative indicators and standards, and under harsh demands for delivering intersectoral impact. Nowadays, indicators in respect to various youth policies (e.g. health improvement of youth or reduction of youth unemployment) are prevailing. On the other side, lack of reflection on the importance of one of key elements of youth work, i.e. the group, can be noticed.
The project will offer two innovative tools established with the aim 1) to lift the quality of youth work and 2) to strengthen the inclusion of young people with fewer opportunities into social environment and into permanent groups in youth organisations.
The first tool will be a quality system in the field of social inclusion of young people with fewer opportunities. Its target group consists mainly of key staff in youth organisations. The aim is to help the target group to change organisational cultures in youth organisations to become more participatory and based on verified methodologies of inclusion.
The second tool will be a manual on inclusion of young people with fewer opportunities developed primarily for youth leaders and youth workers. It will result from a hypothesis that the environment in which young people live today has changed essentially – mainly from the technological and social point of view. Main factors of societal change in modern society were developments of mobile communications and mass migrations. Due to this structural changes youth workers need new competencies that have not yet been included into the majority of youth work educational systems.
In order to reach the project goals the following main activities will be conducted: a research on sociological conceptualisation and the role of groups, 30 interviews with youth leaders, 8 focus groups and 20 case studies. Furthermore, a pilot 4-day training for youth leaders will be developed and a mentorship scheme for key staff of youth organisations will be prepared.
The most important direct results of the project will be delivered to more than 400 youth leaders and youth workers. Indirectly, 3000 young people and their leaders will be addressed. Decision makers and support staff in the field of youth work in various countries will also benefit.
The project based on mutual learning of the four project partner organisations from Germany, Poland, Italy and Slovenia will also act as a concrete implementation of several recommendations taken from 2nd European Youth Work Convention as well as of some of the conclusions of the Quality Youth Work Expert Group that had been established by the European Commission.