Innovation, Current Trends and Developments in Youth Work in Times of Disruption and Change

The outbreak of the Covid pandemic was the beginning of an unprecedented period that has had a major impact on the youth sector. Young people and youth work experts have suffered considerably, and the youth work system has been shaken to the core in many countries. However, it is already foreseeable that the pandemic will not be the last major challenge the youth work field will have to navigate.

A war in Europe and the increasingly visible impacts of climate change are only two of many other challenges already impacting our societies – and more uncertainties are surely on the horizon.

Against this backdrop, being able to react adequately and support young people in responding to those challenges seems a key element of future-proof youth work.

The European Academy on Youth Work (EAYW), a strategic cooperation project of the network of National Agencies, seeks to support youth work in Europe in managing current and upcoming changes.

Innovation as a response to current trends and future challenges

As the final declaration of the 3rd European Youth Work Agenda states,

“To be a safety net for all young people in times of uncertainty, more resilient youth work structures are required that are grounded in evidence informed innovation principles, encompassing long term thinking, reflexivity and strategy-based youth work. A culture of innovation in youth work practice should be fostered as well as the capacity of youth."

The European Academy on Youth Work is a major strategic project that focuses on supporting innovation in youth work in response to the trends, challenges and uncertainties faced by young people in today’s fast-changing societies.

It aims to promote the development of quality youth work,to strengthen the field’s capacity to react to current and future developments, and to help create common ground on youth work and youth work policy.

The European Academy on Youth Work is a major strategic project that focuses on supporting innovation in youth work.

The EAYW offers a platform for reflection, exchange and knowledge gathering on trends and developments in and with relevance to the youth field in Europe, and on innovative youth work responses to these trends and developments.

Supporting youth work in navigating change

The report of the 2nd European Academy on Youth Work Event has just been published. It summarizes the discussions that took place during the event and provides interesting observations and further questions when it comes to help to build knowledge as a field and support further innovation in youth work.

Based on an analysis of key inputs and contributions at the event, and considering the outcomes of the recent Study on Innovation in Youth Work and the series of webinars on Learning in times of disruption and change preceding the Academy event, the report draws a practice-based picture, highlighting specific needs when it comes to supporting the further development of youth work in Europe and its capacity to navigate change.

Among others, the report highlights the need

  • for local, national and international funding programmes, to focus on long-term results to support the creation of resilient youth work structures and the creation of safety nets for both youth workers and youth organisations, allowing them to learn and grow through trial and error when it comes to new challenges and societal change,
  • for analytical approaches to assess existing and emerging challenges so organisations can become more successful in developing targeted and more effective actions, 
  • for stronger support and encouragement of cross-sectoral cooperation, as youth workers can benefit from knowledge transfer from other sectors when it comes to innovative practice in the context of our fast-changing world.

For an overview of all key outcomes, download the full report here.

The EAYW - a platform for further reflection and exchange

Further activities throughout 2023 and 2024, including the 3rd European Youth Work Academy event are being planned to continue providing a platform for common reflection, exchange and knowledge building so the field can grow and successfully navigate current and future transformations.

Stay updated through the website of the European Academy on Youth Work or by following the EAYW’s Facebook and Instagram accounts.