Dublin Declaration agreed on contribution of youth work to youth employment

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Foróige June 24, 2013

The Dublin Declaration recognises the unique potential of youth work in supporting attainment of ‘soft’ skills which are increasingly sought after by employers. The Declaration was agreed following an EU Presidency expert roundtable hosted by Minister Fitzgerald who has agreed to write to President Herman Van Rompuy ahead of next week’s EU Council summit. 

The roundtable was attended by youth work providers, policy makers, researchers and business interests from Ireland and across Europe to explore how best to harness the potential of youth work in supporting youth employment.

Minister Fitzgerald told the roundtable that she will communicate this Declaration to EU Council President Herman Van Rompuy ahead of next week’s EU Council summit as well to her fellow Youth Minister in EU member states.

Minister Fitzgerald stated that: “The challenge of youth unemployment requires a broad range of responses involving the mobilisation of many players. The roundtable, which I convened as part of Ireland’s EU Presidency, has reaffirmed the specific and highly-relevant role for quality youth work in developing young people's skill-sets and supporting their job-readiness.

The Minister added that the roundtable has in particular resulted in an important recognition and articulation of youth work’s unique potential to support young people in attaining key ‘soft’ skills such as leadership, communication, teamwork, and entrepreneurship. The Minister noted that these ‘soft’ skill were being increasingly seen as highly-valuable and sought-after by employers.

The Dublin Declaration set out key principles and actions in four key areas:
- Enhancing the visibility of youth work’s potential

- Building new partnerships between youth work and employers
- Ensuring that youth work is central to EU youth employment initiatives, in particular the implementation of the Youth Guarantee.
- Delivering quality and innovative youth work which is responsive to the changing needs of young people, broader society, and the needs of the labour market

This Foróige video showcases the Foróige Youth Entrepreneurship programme, NFTE:

Text of Dublin Declaration on contribution of youth work to youth employment

The Informal Expert Roundtable organised by the Irish Presidency of the Council of the EU brought together, for the first time, youth representatives, academics, business leaders, industry, innovators and policy makers on a national and European level, to discuss the contribution of youth work to youth employment.

One of the most significant issues facing young people in Europe as a result of the crisis is the challenge posed by the lack of jobs and work experience, which in turn impacts upon their well-being, independence, mobility and inclusion. There is also a widening gap between skills being sought by certain employers and those held by many prospective employees. Responding to these challenges requires a broad range of actions involving the mobilisation of many players. Youth work offers a significant infrastructure, reach and capacity to play a highly-relevant role in developing young people's skill-sets and supporting their job-readiness.

Across Europe youth work provides opportunities for young people to engage voluntarily in non-formal educational and developmental programmes and activities. Youth workers are the experts at working with young people, including reaching out to marginalised youth and minority groups. Through their engagement in youth work, young people attain specific and transversal skills which enhance employability. These ‘soft’ skills include learning to learn, social and civic competence, leadership, communication, teamwork, and entrepreneurship. These skills actively support young people’s participation, development and progression in education, training and employment, in ways that are relevant and applicable to industry and valued and sought after by employers.

To maximise the contribution and viability of youth work in supporting the employability and employment of young people all stakeholders working with and for young people at European, national and local levels, should have regard to the following principles and actions:

1. Enhancing the visibility of youth work’s potential

- Work with the youth work sector to take a lead in clearly, confidently and strategically communicating and promoting, to a range of audiences, its unique contribution in supporting young people to attain transversal skills which enhance employability.
- Ensure that young people’s personal and social learning and skills development through youth work is recognised in term of the applicability and transferability of this learning through mechanisms such as accreditation and awards systems.

2. Building new partnerships

- Develop strategic and mutually beneficial partnerships between youth work and employers and the business community to maximise and coordinate opportunities to create new synergies aimed at enhancing employment opportunities.
- Ensure that youth work is included in high-level, inter-sectoral partnerships at both national and European Union level and this should be further explored and supported by Governments and EU institutions.

3. Ensuring Implementation

- Ensure that youth work is central to youth employment initiatives, in particular the implementation of the Youth Guarantee.
- Guarantee access for youth work to EU funding opportunities.

4. Delivering quality and innovative youth work

- Support and assure quality-based, evidence-informed youth work which places young people’s views, visions and voices at the centre of practice to ensure a relevant response to their needs and interests.
- Promote and foster innovative youth work practice that is responsive to the changing needs of young people, broader society, and the needs of the labour market, for example though support for social entrepreneurship.