During the first EAYW, we discussed about trends in youth work, quality and innovation. Even though this topic is quite broad, we managed to receive really good insights into different aspects and trends, with the help of participants and contributors. Future trends and challenges, as well as an overview of the current situation can be found in our final report.

And today, we would like to share them with you, focusing on three practices that are covering this topic as well. So, let’s start!

1. Digitalisation

Let’s talk a bit about Generation Z. “Wait, what?” – you’re maybe asking yourself. Generation Z? Where did the millennials disappear to? Don’t worry, the millenials are still here, but most of our activities are (and will be) targeted to the new generation: born between 1995 and 2010. They are called Generation Z or post-millenials. And this generation was the one who never spent a day without the internet, computer or a cell phone. Moreover, they all have digital footprints and, believe it or not, – more than 70% of them spend their free time online. The need to digitalize our activities was recognized by the wider youth work community at the EAYW. One of the contributions called “Digital youth work in policy and practice (Finland / Europe)” by Suvi Tuominen and Juha Kiviniemi dealt with this important topic. The aim of the contribution was to discuss how to integrate digital approaches into both outreach work with disadvantaged youth and capacity building for youth workers. Participants had the opportunity to hear more about the implementation of digital policy in the European context and to explore a specific digital youth work approach (maker activities). Also, the toolkit “Innobox” for innovating new (digital) youth work practice based on organisations’ own strategy or action plan was presented and tested. Interested to find out more about digitalisation in youth work? Then head out to the workshop report and find out more!

Watch contribution “Digital youth work in policy and practice (Finland / Europe)”

2. Competences

One of the current trends was connected with competences of youth workers. This can be linked to the changes that are happening in youth as “the mentality is changing quickly and new methods and tools in youth work should follow the youth trend”, as a participant described it. So, the need to continuously professionally develop ourselves is quite important, in order to reach young people and think about quality activities.

3. Personal needs and development

One of the prevailing topics in current youth work trends is connected with personal needs and development. And here we are not talking only about the importance of needs assessment of young people and the importance of developing their social, personal and civic skills, but also about our own personal needs and development.  The need for developing sustainable physical, intellectual and psychological living conditions is nowadays a key challenge for the whole society, since psychosocial risks can affect personal fulfilment and work-life balance. The contribution “Switch it on. Manual on Emotional Intelligence in Youth Work” by Maria Luisa Pagano dealt with this aspect. In the contribution, the “Switch it on” manual was presented, which includes exercises, tools, activities and methods that are currently in use in youth work practice across Europe and that can promote mental well-being amongst young people and youth work. The manual is a valuable instrument that youth workers and youth trainers can use to integrate Emotional Intelligence in their practice, and it is thus supporting their own well-being and that of young people they work with. In addition, the manual will support any actions to counteract un-cohesive behaviours. Find out more about the manual and the project in the workshop and presentation report below.

4. Active participation and cultural changes

One of the trends identified are connected with active participation and cultural changes. The trend is that young people are possibly more aware of problems and wanting to participate more actively in society, which has perhaps manifested in their use of social media. Generation Z is more aware about the environment, sustainability, diversity and inclusion and want to participate to make a change. When we work with young people, should we then show our “political” role and empower them in political interests? This was the intention of the contribution “The Political /Civic Role of Youth Workers – How to Translate that into Competences?” by Gisele Evrard-Marković. The aim was to explore the ‘political’ role of youth workers and the space it takes in their day-to-day practice to act as political human being, to be a role model for others and to work with youngsters on their political interests (which meant to also debate the difference between the ‘big P’ and the ‘small p’). Hence, besides a presentation of the ETS Competence Model for Youth Workers to Work Internationally and the fact that this ‘political role’ or ‘civic engagement’ will be turned into the 9th competence area of the model, during the contribution a short exchange on this topic was initiated. Interested more about this topic and the ETS Competence Model? Then look inside the workshop report and be inspired!

Next week we’ll be bringing you six new practices to be inspired! 🙂 Don’t forget to check our Contributions page, which will be updated periodically with materials! The EAYW Contributions page is available HERE.