Here you will find relevant resources to enhance youth work, personal development and to assist workers to be agents for change in our global community.
A summary of the Commonwealth Youth Programme International Code of Ethical Practice for Youth Work.
Recommendations of government support of youth work.
Measuring value and strengthening the evidence base in youth work.
The Draft Commonwealth Code of Ethical Practice for Youth Workers is motivated by the importance of ensuring the safety and wellbeing of young people and those that work with them. The Code seeks to draw attention to particular International Conventions and Commonwealth member Governments’ legislation in regard to safe work practices with young people and to document the values and principles that underpin ethical youth work practice in the Commonwealth.
This guide has been developed after consultation with various stakeholders across the 53 countries of the Commonwealth who participated in the Youth Work Conference in Malta 2018. This document has the links to all the other commonwealth codes for youth work from member nations.
Case Study from the Italian Journal of Sociology of Education
Evolution of a Professional Association of Youth Workers in Jamaica Case Study: Prepared by the Jamaica Professional Youth Workers Association Ltd.
Digital Youth Work
This guide was developed by UK Youth as a response to COVID-19 to support the delivery of high-quality digital youth work, not only for the changing conditions but the future of youth work.
Evidence, Challenges and Risks relating to Virtual and Digital Delivery
A report by the Early Intervention Foundation detailing the impacts and disruptions of COVID-19 on the face-to-face delivery of services.
Mediators of Youth Work Practice
Written by CAYWA Founder Director and Treasurer, Jane Melvin. It focuses on issues that affect young people, highlighting the digital world and social media.
This paper is a collaboration from 32 participants on the effects technology has had on youth work practice by Verke, Finland.
Connecting child and youth care workers, mentors and programme staff to children through WhatsApp, texts and phone calls in five provinces of South Africa. This includes the data report.
Mr Moxon hosted an online hangout as a way of providing support for youth workers during COVID-19, youth workers were given space to share their experiences of digital youth work.
The video and padlet are highly insightful and show ways of connecting to young people through the digital medium. Mr Moxon is a well-respected trainer throughout the professional youth work community and these resources are relevant to the current impact on youth work throughout the world.
Dr Tan is the CAYWA Vice-Chairperson and runs a regular podcast where he shares tips, tools and ways to connect with young people.
This is a set of resources by Coyote Magazine which are tools for navigating digital youth work including publications, training materials, good practices, policy frameworks, digital resources, relevant organisations, handbooks, videos, webinars and podcasts on digital youth work. It was updated for the COVID-19 global pandemic.
Commonwealth Youth Programme Code of Ethical Practice for Youth Work
The Code has been developed to provide an agreed framework and set of values for professional youth work. It provides a frame of reference in which to develop ethical and safe practice. In this 'summary' document the Code has been summarised and simplified for ease of use and communication. Following the Introduction on human rights the document is divided into two parts - the first part is titled ‘Youth Work Principles’ and the second part ‘Youth Work Practice Responsibilities’. A Code Based on Human Rights This Code of Ethical Practice is based on a human rights framework. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child has particular relevance to youth work practice. Its four core principles are ‘non-discrimination’, ‘the best interests of the child', ‘the right to life, survival and development’, and ‘respect for the views of the child’.
Article 3.1 of the Convention prescribes that ‘in all actions concerning children, whether undertaken by public or private social welfare institutions, courts of law, administrative authorities or legislative bodies, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration’.
Other United Nations declarations of particular relevance to the content of this Code are the Declaration of Human Rights and the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Who does it apply to?
This Code of Ethical Practice is relevant to all qualified youth workers and to others working with young people without a youth work qualification. The principles and practice responsibilities outlined will support and guide the work that youth workers do with all young people. For the purposes of this document the term ‘young people’ applies to those aged between 12 and 29 years (based on the Commonwealth Youth Programme definition). However, some organisations work with young people in a broader age bracket and this Code may still apply.
Ethical Practice Responsibilities Poster
Ethical Principles of Youth Work Poster
We have gathered national definitions of Youth Work from around the globe. What it shows us is how much we have in common as we strive to empower young people to have a voice as a citizen of their country. For those of you that are struggling to get this level of recognition perhaps this document can speak to your own Government as to the importance of youth work. This document is evidence of how ambitious for youth work CAYWA is.
Informal Learning and Youth Work
In Europe they have understood the role of Youth Work as a part of the learning network of a young person’s life for some time. The Youthpass now in its tenth year is an example of that understanding that young people learn outside of formal settings. However, that understanding is not universal. Though the literature articulates the role of Youth Work very clearly. Youth Workers work with young people in voluntary relationships to design and implement activities, projects and services defined by the young person (Sapin, 2009). In Australia, youth workers work primarily with young people aged between 12 and 25 years. Generalist youth service programs act as a primary means of engaging young people. The engagement can be through an activities program, a music program, an outreach program, information provision or a link with the local TAFE College.
The National Youth Association in the UK sets out a framework for understanding youth work practice. According to NYA (2006) Youth Work helps young people learn about themselves, others and society, through informal educational activities which combine enjoyment, challenge and learning. Their work seeks to promote young people’s personal and social development and enable them to have a voice, influence and place in their communities and society as a whole.
Good youth work equips young people with a range of personal and life skills. It is planned and purposeful. It supports young people to develop structure and direction for themselves. Youth workers are skilled professionals who can help young people use information and judgment to make informed decisions for themselves. Youth workers work with other professionals bringing skills, trusted relationships with young people and building relationships with other health professionals (Unite the Union, 2010).
Professional youth work as a particular vocational practice is similar to, but not the same as, the work undertaken by other professionals and groups who work with young people (e.g., teachers, therapists, counsellors, mentors, recreation specialists, arts workers, social workers, welfare workers, religious practitioners) (Broadbent & Corney 2008). Historically good Youth Work practice has used a range of tools and educational frameworks to assist in providing young people with the skills needed to traverse adolescence. This includes building relationships, improving personal development and encouraging a level of self-reflection, resilience and self-esteem for young people and their communities (Irving, Maunders and Sherrington 1995; Bodilly & Beckett, 2005; Gambone, Klem, & Connell, 2002).
A recent study by the European Commission, Working with young people: the value of youth work in the European Union (2014), identified a focus on young people, personal development and voluntary participation as key components. According to the report, Youth Work helps young people to develop skills and competences in many areas; but it also helps them to strengthen their network and build positive relationships. This is an important contribution that is made to the coherence of any society whereby the activities undertaken in Youth Services around Europe offering the chance for contact, exchange and engagement among young people.
YOUNG, K. (1999) The Art of Youth Work. Dorset: Russell House
SMITH, M.K. (2002) Individualization And youth work, in: Youth and Policy/6, 39
A Council of Europe (2011) working paper on pathways to employment reported that the informal learning opportunities undertaken by engaging in Youth Work activities mean that young people learn while simply being active. The report referred to the social, cultural and building of a young person’s personal agency, often called "soft" skills. All learning in the youth field enables young people to acquire essential skills and competencies and contributes to their personal development, to social inclusion and to active citizenship. These are all important employability skills.
Similarly, the OECD (2010) undertook to review the contribution that informal learning makes to young people employment opportunity The assumption behind the work reported here is that all learning has value and most of it deserves to be made visible and recognised. It is a clear possible option, and a plausible alternative to formal education and training, to have non-formal and informal learning assessed. Many countries are putting recognition of non-formal and informal learning at the top of their policy agenda and the time has come for a thorough evaluation of what it entails.
This concept of Youth Work and informal learning is not new, but is a different lens to how Youth Work has been previously viewed in Australia. Young, 1999 and Smith (2002) outline that learning takes place in the context of personal rather than formal relations and that voluntary participation and freedom of choice are essential. Notably they add that the need for this kind of learning is not primarily to resolve personal troubles of difficult children, which is often the way in which Youth Work has been reported in Australia. However, it must be prioritised as a public issue for a democratic civil society so that participating in youth work becomes a way of participating in the larger community.
Reports and Studies
The Benefits of Youth Work
Report from Lifelong Learning UK.
A comprehensive & rigorous economic assessment of youth work published by The National Youth Council of Ireland.
2016 Commonwealth Global Youth Development Index: An assessment report on the development of young people globally
A resource pack for youth workers from the British Council and Erasmus+.
A social return on Investment Analysis.
This report presents the results of a research project commissioned by an Interagency Group comprising several of Ireland’s largest and longest established youth work organisations.
A report from the Expert Group on Youth Work Quality Systems in the EU Member States.
A draft report, released in partnership between the European Commission and the Council of Europe, on information about the education and training of youth workers across Europe and what employment/ career paths it prepares them for.
2016 Australian Youth Development Index
A report on the composite index of 16 key indicators collectively measuring youth development across Australia.
Declaration statement released from the 1st European Youth Work Convention, conducted in Belgium in July 2010.
Declaration statement released from the 2nd European Youth Work Convention, conducted in Belgium in April 2015.
By the European Commission and Council of Europe, this publication is insightful as it explores youth work in Europe, providing a chapter on youth worker organisations and ethical practice.
Youth Work Module
These modules were designed as a part of the Diploma of Youth Work that is still delivered across the Commonwealth. Within each Module is a lot of learning that can provide useful resources and could be used for volunteer training or to inform your own accredited training.
Click each Module below for more information...
Youtrain Video Project
Youtrain is a project that has developed digital resources for non-formal education run by the Erasmus+ Program through the European Union. This resource is a digital toolbox to be used by professionals in a range of scenarios to improve the quality, reach and impact of youth work.