New research shows that Erasmus+: Youth in Action is helping maintain and improve the quality of youth work across Europe. The findings show that participation in an Erasmus+ mobility project is an important pathway for accessing professional development and training opportunities. In this blog post Steven Murray, Impact Assessor at the UK National Agency, shares some of the outcomes from this latest research by the RAY Network.
Youth workers operate in a dynamic context and require a range of skills and competences to effectively engage with young people. Yet, as this context changes the scope for youth workers to access professional development opportunities are becoming increasingly difficult.
In their Annual Monitoring of Youth and Community Programmes 2015-16, the National Youth Agency found that national policy and funding for youth work remains uncertain. They note that the nature of youth work is changing as are the type of organisations that are employing youth workers. Furthermore, the opportunities for entering and remaining in youth work are falling.
The Erasmus+ programme in the UK is actively helping youth workers to access the training and development that is vital for their work with young people. In the period 2014-2016, the UK Erasmus+ National Agency has funded over 9,400 mobility opportunities for youth workers in Youth Worker Mobility (YWM) projects.
How is Erasmus+ helping?
The National Occupational Standards for youth work identifies five first-level functional areas and 18 second-level areas.
The RAY Monitoring survey investigates the professional competence development of participants in Erasmus+ YWM projects. The latest results of the survey indicate that participants gain or improve their competences in all five first-level functional areas.
Table 1 shows where RAY Monitoring survey responses correspond to two of the first and second-level functional areas:
- Work with young people and others; and
- Facilitate the personal, social and educational development of young people.
The evidence from the RAY survey shows that Erasmus+ is providing a valuable contribution to the quality of youth work.
Through Erasmus+, youth workers are gaining the skills to engage with young people and communities better. This learning is allowing them to design and deliver better quality provision which is supporting the learning and participation of young people.
The research was led by the Institute of Educational Science at the University of Innsbruck on behalf of the RAY Network. The UK Erasmus+ National Agency is a member of the RAY network along with National Agencies from another 28 countries and their research partners. Find out more about the RAY Network.
Bammer, D. et al (2017), Exploring Erasmus+ Youth in Action: effects and outcomes of the Erasmus+ Youth in Action Programme from the perspectives of project participants and project leaders, RAY Network: Vienna.
National Occupational Standards (2008), LSI YW00 Youth Work National Occupational Standards.
National Youth Agency (2017), Annual Monitoring of Youth and Community Programmes 2015-16, NYA: Leicester, p21.
UK Erasmus+ National Agency (2017), 2014-2016 Key Actions 1 & 3 Outputs Funded - Placements (estimates) data tables 06-09-2017, Table 1.