WHAT IS YOUTH WORK?
Under the Youth Work Act, 2001, youth work is defined as:
“A planned programme of education designed for the purpose of aiding and enhancing the personal and social development of young persons through their voluntary participation, and which is
(a) complementary to their formal, academic or vocational education and training; and
(b) provided primarily by voluntary youth work organisations.”
This normally includes groups such as the following:
- Youth clubs, etc.
- Special interest groups
- Foróige Clubs
- Scouts and Guides
- Youth work services
- Youth work projects
- Girls’ Friendly Society
- Boys’ / Girls’ Brigade
ETB’s YOUTH WORK FUNCTIONS
Under the Education and Training Boards Act, 2013, the function of the ETB in relation to youth work is to:
“Support the provision, coordination, administration and assessment of youth work services in its functional area and provide such information as may be requested by the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs in relation to such support, and assess whether the manner in which it performs its functions is economical, efficient and effective.”
The Youth Work section of Mayo, Sligo and Leitrim ETB is primarily funded by the Department of Children, Equality, Disadvantage, Integration and Youth (DCEDIY).
- Administer funding to youth work services on behalf of various government departments.
- Carry out quality assurance programmes with youth work services (National Quality Standards Framework) and with volunteer-led youth groups (National Quality Standards for Volunteer-led Youth Groups).
- Administer the Local Youth Club Grant Scheme and other similar schemes, which provide small grants for volunteer-led youth groups. In Mayo, Sligo and Leitrim, the ETB provides support each year to around 100 volunteer-led and operated youth groups, with approximately 5,000 members.
- Provide training and development programmes for youth workers.
- Promote the integration and coordination of youth work services with other services through participation in Children and Young People’s Services Committees, School Completion Programme and other networks.
- Report to government departments on projects and services funded through the ETB, including validating annual reports and funding applications.
- Promote initiatives that aim to increase the involvement of young people of all backgrounds in youth work.
- Contribute to the development of youth work at a national level by working with Education & Training Boards Ireland (ETBI), the Department of Children, Equality, Disadvantage, Integration and Youth and other bodies.
QUALITY STANDARDS IN YOUTH WORK
The ETB is responsible to carry out quality assurance programmes with youth work services (National Quality Standards Framework) and with volunteer-led youth groups (National Quality Standards for Volunteer-led Youth Groups). Please see below for more information on these quality standards.
National Quality Standards Framework
A National Quality Standards Framework for youth work was introduced in January 2011. This framework applies to all staff-led youth work organisations, services, projects and programmes which are funded under the DCEDIY Targeted Youth Funding Scheme (TYFS) and Youth Information Centres.
The primary function of the NQSF is as a support and development tool for youth work services funded by the DCEDIY. Its aim is to assist youth work organisations to identify strengths and areas for development in their services and to benchmark progress accordingly. Having done so, services take a structured and developmental approach to the assessment of youth work provision, examining its level, impact and efficacy. The role of the ETB is to facilitate and oversee this process with DCEDIY-funded youth work services in its operational area.
National Quality Standards for Volunteer-led Youth Groups
Through the Local Youth Club Grant Scheme, funded by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, the ETB directly supports around 100 youth groups in Mayo, Sligo and Leitrim, catering for approximately 5,000 young people. These groups provide a wide range of recreational and developmental programmes and activities for young people.
As a natural progression to the NQSF for staff-led projects, the Department has rolled out a set of National Quality Standards for Volunteer-led Youth Groups. Developed in consultation with partners in the youth work sector, these quality standards are aimed at local youth groups and clubs. They present an opportunity for youth groups to demonstrate their commitment to best practice and to the delivery of quality programmes and activities, which meet the needs and expectations of their young members. All youth groups funded through the Local Youth Club Grant Scheme are required to engage in the standards process.
Youth groups affiliated to national youth organisations should consult with the Regional Youth / Development Officer of their parent organisation in relation to the standards. ETB Youth Officers will provide similar support and guidance to youth groups not affiliated to a national youth organisation / other locally active groups.