EC publication: "Quality Youth Work - A common framework for the further development of youth work. Report from the Expert Group on Youth Work Quality Systems in the EU Member States"
This report starts with a discussion on the nature and specifics of youth work; its overall aims, its different forms and its delimitations. It states that something so rich and diverse as youth work cannot be defined by its concrete actions or the settings where it takes place, but only by its overall aims and by the principles that must guide it if it is to reach these aims and be successful. The core principles of youth work hence constitute the basis and starting point for the rest of the report.
In chapter 4 the concept of quality is discussed. It is stated that quality relates to aims and outcomes, but also to the preconditions and work processes/methods that are set up in order to make these outcomes come true. Parallel to this it also states that
quality development must have a holistic approach, include both quantitative and qualitative aspects, be carried out continuously in a systematic way and address the youth work context as a whole, from policy to practice. This also means that all relevant stakeholders, from young people to politicians, must be engaged in the process and meet each other as equal partners.
After this follows a discussion on indicators, what they are and how they could function as a basis for quality development. On the basis of this quality tools are described as means to gather and manage knowledge on how reality relates to indicators. This section of the report ends with a discussion on how and according to what principles quality tools should be combined in order to establish a wellfunctioning quality system. Once again it is pointed out that this is a concern and responsibility of all stakeholders and that the whole context at hand must be covered by the quality system if it is to give a trustworthy and sustainable result.
The two following chapters, 5 and 6, describe how the previous parts of the report should be used in practice in order to create sets of indicators, construct quality tools and build quality systems. The related appendices contain many examples of indicators, quality tools and systems. However these are not to be copy-pasted, but should instead function as inspiration and a starting point for the common efforts of all relevant stakeholders in the youth work context concerned.
The report ends with a number of general conclusions relevant for all levels and actors in the field of youth work. Due to the rich diversity of youth work, the most important one is that no common, universal, one-size-fits-all set of indicators, quality tools or quality systems could be constructed. What this report instead offers is a common framework for quality development; a common ground in terms of the core principles and a common process for developing indicators, quality tools and systems. This way the report pays full respect to the diversity of youth work whilst at the same time it builds a solid ground for mutual learning, exchange of best practices and support for quality development. To help this take place, the conclusions are followed by a set of recommendations on the future handling of this report.
The report finally states that the development of indicators, quality tools and systems asks for a lot of efforts. This should however not be seen as a cost but as a necessary investment.
- Youth work