Symposium: Youth Work in Europe

At a symposium we want to highlight the importance of youth work in Europe and discuss standards. We will discuss this with representatives from 8 countries.

Youth work is interpreted very differently in Europe. We will explain and discuss the different facets at a symposium. Participants from Germany will be joined by youth workers from Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Italy, Romania, Serbia, Spain and Slovenia.

The term "youth centres" (hereafter also YC) describes a place where young people can meet, develop their competences and cooperate with each other. However, between different regions and legal frameworks, there is quite a different understanding of the context and framework for this.

We want to promote the idea of youth centres where young people can meet in an informal way (also known as open youth work), spend their free time, receive support through guidance and develop their own ideas. From this starting point, youth centres develop non-formal educational activities together with young people in the area that interests them. Through this approach, young people are involved in the decision-making process, which leads to greater participation in projects. Likewise, a youth-friendly atmosphere is created, which is determined by the young people and their interests and contains information that the young people are interested in. We strongly believe that this approach is useful for all young people and that it is a very inclusive way of working with young people. We have experienced that for young people who have difficulties adapting to a formal setting (school, vocational training, etc.), participation in informal and non-formal activities can be a step towards a better future or even back towards a formal educational pathway.

There is still no youth work in this sense in many countries, and even in the countries where it exists, it is very often the playground for economic cuts in the state budget. Therefore, it is necessary to make the idea known not only among social workers and youth workers, but also in society and among political actors.

Within this context, we would like to agree with you on how open youth work in Europe should at least be equipped.

Symposium Agenda

10:00 Welcome (Martin Kleinfelder)

10:05 Greetings (N.N.)

10:15 Introduction to the project (Chiara Maggi)

OPEN YOUTH WORK FOR OPEN SOCIETY is an international project that aims to support and raise awareness about youth work and to stimulate a discussion about the different perspectives of young people, youth workers and social scientists. The project involves partners from five different countries (Romania, Serbia, Germany, Slovenia and Italy) who have worked together to produce a series of resources both to make the case for why youth work should be supported and to make this knowledge available to a wider audience. Ideas were also developed on how each youth centre should be equipped in terms of spaces, resources and staff.

10:45 Coffee break coffee break

11:00 Rooms and equipment (Jose Messina)

The project participants will present their work on rooms and equipment. We will discuss our findings with you.

12:00 Profile of youth workers (Cosmin Catana)

We have created different role profiles of youth workers. This includes learnable skills as well as personality requirements for youth workers. Let's talk about it.

13:00 Lunch break and market of opportunities

14:15 Intervention (Elke Josties)

Review of the history of open youth (cultural) work in Germany / Current discourses on the social construction and change of youth in Germany / On the concept of youth (cultural) work / Plea for free spaces!

15:30 Coffee Break

15:45 Factsheet

We have produced an argumentation aid on open youth work. It is aimed at decision-makers and administrations. It summarises the opportunities and results of open youth work and puts them in the context of positive social development. Before we translate it into different languages, we would like to discuss it.

17:00 Closing round

17:30 End


Only vaccinated or recovered persons are admitted (2G).


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