"We need to get serious about youth work, the science of enabling young people                                                                                                                              to believe in themselves and to prepare for life."

                                                                                                                                    UK National Youth Agency

Youth work focuses on working holistically with young people. It’s about building resilience and character and giving young people the life skills (often totally misleadingly described as “soft”) they need to live, learn, work and interact successfully with other people. It’s time to ramp up youth work and find better, more inventive ways to empower more young people.

Youth worker? Is that a profession?

A Youth worker is a person that works with young people to engage them in informal education. Youth workers can work in many contexts. In the UK and elsewhere, the main distinction is usually made between statutory, those who work as part of a government run initiative, and non-statutory, those that work in any other context. In some circumstances, the term should be carefully distinguished from Child and Youth Worker which refers to therapeutic work in the USA and Canada.

The exact population of youth workers in the EU is estimated to be over 1.7 million youth workers.The status of youth workers in the UK and in the EU in general is increasingly becoming understood as a distinct profession but professionalism is not only about formal qualifications. Volunteer youth workers also integrate a professional approach to their work with young people. It becomes and European-wide tendency that youth workers are qualified and specifically trained to carry out the activities they are involved with and governments, university and private training units offer support through training and development opportunities, recognition and validation of learning for youth workers.

In the UK youth workers are responsible for planning, organizing and overseeing community programs designed to redress inequalities and facilitate the personal, social and emotional development of young people between the ages of 11-25. Youth workers are responsible for a number of organisational and fundraising roles. The jobs usually involve working with children and young people from a variety of backgrounds; managing projects; planning and organizing appropriate youth and community programs; establishing new youth services; recruiting, training and supervising volunteers and paid employees; undertaking detached ‘outreach' youth work; producing reports and business plans giving presentations promoting young people's interests; maintaining records; managing and administering budgets and resources preparing and distributing publicity materials and displays; liaising and working with parents, schools, the police and other community groups/organisations; providing advocacy and counselling raising funds. 

Typical employers of youth workers in the UK are the Local education authorities (LEAs); Local government; Health and housing departments; and - of course - a wide range of local, national and international independent, voluntary and charitable organisations. 

Qualifications and training required are usually a degree in youth and community work; a diploma in youth work of specific courses obtained by public and private training centers such as MBM Training and Development Center. We provide a wide range of training opportunities for present and future youth workers in order to support them in their professional development. 

Another crucial qualification for the your workers is to possess relevant paid or voluntary work experience – a minimum of one year's experience is usually required prior to entry into training. The Youth Work Learning Center at the MBM TDC can support you in your efforts to gain such experience by helping you to join the European voluntary service programs, Erasmus plus internships, student community groups or community projects.

The Youth Work Learning Center is an example of MBM TDC`s systemic approach to professional development that focuses on specific strategies for gaining the skills and knowledge youth workers need.

With the support of MBM TDC the youth workers can build and strengthen core

competencies in a number of ways, including:

  • Training: Competency-based, topic-specific, or practical
  • Education: Higher education and self-directed learning
  • On the job: Experience-based learning and problem solving
  • Mentoring: Learning and receiving guidance from experienced practitioners
  • Other: Conferences, forums, site visits, etc.

How is youth work delivered?

‘Youth work’ involves a diverse range of activities, topics and measures provided by a range of actors in assorted fields and settings.

However, at the heart of youth work there are three core features that define it as youth work distinct from other policy fields:

■ a focus on young people,
■ personal development, and
■ voluntary participation.

Not all countries worldwide and even in European Union have a formal definition of youth work and amongst those that do, there is a variety of definitions.

The following characteristics are frequently cited when describing youth work (look at the graph on the right):

The MBM TDC`S Youth Work Learning Center is an education, research and staff development resource for youth workers.

We provide relevant, high-quality services for people who work with youth – empowering them to implement the most effective programs possible.

In MBM TDC we believe that - in conceiving a competency-based youth work curriculum and its contribution toward the development of professional youth work identities, ‘how’ youth work education programs are implemented is just as important as ‘what’ they should consist of, in contributing to building diverse and rigorous professional identities in youth work.​​

The trainings of the  MBM TDC  Youth Work Learning Center employ a facilitative training approach that blends participatory learning and interactive and experiential exercises while connecting concepts to practice. 

Training opportunities available are:

Youth Work Supervisor Training: 
This 96-hour training focuses on supervision and program management in youth work.  It addresses the roles and responsibilities of supervisors, communication, work relationships, program management, and the specific supervision of youth workers within a youth and community development framework.

Youth Development Training:

This 70-hour training provides youth workers with grounding in the youth development approach.  They are introduced to an appropriate common language for discussing youth development, and provided with information about locally identified core competencies, childhood and adolescent development, cultural competence, gender and cultural sensitivity, positive youth outcomes, youth stereotyping, healthy relationships and boundaries, youth workers as community resources, and other critical issues.

Youth Development Training, Advanced Level: 

This 40-hour training is designed to deepen youth workers’ understanding of youth development principles, enhance their ability to engage and build leadership in young people, and strengthen their skills in key areas of facilitation and group management. The training focuses on building youth participation and leadership, intentional programming toward developmental outcomes, and facilitation skills for youth workers.  This training is for learners who have been working with young people for at least one year.

Human Rights-based Approach to Youth Work

This 96 hours training is design to introduce the European and UN human rights systems in their direct implications to youth work. Promoting a human rights-based approach to local, national and international youth work in a holistic approach including diversity management, non-discrimination approaches and individual needs assessment for each young person`s integration opportunities in the youth groups and communities. All kinds of youth workers will find the training beneficial, especial those who face cases of discrimination and human rights violations in their daily youth work. 

Youth Work Approach to Violence Prevention:

This 56-hour training provides youth workers with some effective strategies on violence prevention, such as conflict management skills, conflict resolution strategies, and peace building activities. This training also teaches participants how to support young people’s leadership and advocacy skills and how to collaborate with other youth programs interested in these issues.

Youth Work for Migrant and Refugee Inclusion: 

This 148-hour training is designed for youth workers who have been in the youth-work field for at least three years or more. Youth work should respond to the refugee crisis in Europe as young people now comprise the significant majority and a growing proportion of new entrants to UK and Europe in general. In recognition of the particular needs of young refugees, there are now a range of specialist settlement and integration services targeting newly arrived young people.The training also focuses on positive youth work impact on inclusion and the migrant and refugee youth participation framework.  

Supporting Young Women Girls: Gender Sensitivity Training:

This 56-hour training provides youth workers with effective strategies and activities for teaching co-ed adolescent groups about gender issues, especially those relating to self-esteem and relationships.  The training focuses on differing social development patterns for adolescent boys and girls, the impact of teaching/leadership styles on girls, and effective methods for empowering adolescent girls and assuring that they sustain a strong sense of self in the critical early adolescent years, especially in the context of co-ed groups. 

Supporting Young Men and Boys: Gender Sensitivity Training:

This 56-hour training provides youth workers with effective strategies and activities on how to integrate the youth development approach into programming that supports young men and boys. The training encourages participants to explore strategies for understanding the mental health of boys and how to connect boys to resources. The training will help participants bring activities back to their programs that introduce boys to critical thought around gender, stereotypes and their positive skill development and outcomes. 

Supporting LGB, trans and intersex young people: Gender Sensitivity Training: 
This 56-hour training provides youth workers with effective strategies and activities on how to raise awareness about the topics of sexual orientation and gender identity promoting a rainbow gender approach, going out of the box of heteronormativity and the bi-gender approaches. Learners will be equipped with skills to manage gender diversity in youth group, by applying a gender sensitive human rights based approach to gender diversity in youth work. 

Supporting Youth Leadership in Healthy Lifestyle Promotion:

This 42-hour training is designed to explore the Inseparable Goals of youth development and healthy lifestyles promotion. This training is interactive and employs discussion, activities, role-plays and case studies in supporting youth workers in learning the youth development approach and about youth-adult collaboration.  This training particularly focuses on engaging youth in public health promotion work, addressing challenges and strategizing practical applications.

Creativity and Arts in Youth Worker Artist Training:

This 96-hour training introduces youth workers and teaching artists to ways to reinforce the natural alignment between youth development principles and strong arts learning experiences. The training goes into depth about the creative and artistic youth work approach, using arts examples and including exploration of art education theory. The training team will include a trainer certified in the creative and artistic youth work approach and an experienced teaching artist.

Short-Term Youth Work Events:

Two-three days workshops, seminars and conference for youth workers in the UK and abroad, focusing on skills development, information sharing, debating European youth work and networking. MBM TDC brings together national and international training providers and leading youth work practitioners to present a variety of workshops that address the day-to-day challenges of the profession.

Additionally, The MBM TDC Youth Work Learning Center offers shorter, long-term and customized trainings.