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European Training Strategy in the Field of Youth

The ETS aims at sustaining quality youth work through capacity building.

Following essential policy developments and the introduction of Erasmus+: Youth in Action, the European Commission has sent the European Training Strategy (ETS) into its next phase. The strategy continues to focus on the key principle of capacity building among key actors in the youth field. Introduced as part of the YOUTH (2000-2006) and revised under the Youth in Action Programme (2007-2013), the ETS has proven to be an effective instrument for sustainable capacity building in the field of youth, connecting its micro-, meso- and macro-level.

The strategy encourages decision makers, experts and practitioners to cooperate on a broader scale to improve the quality of youth work and its recognition. It moreover aims at establishing a peer learning process in which stakeholders on both the national and the European level can exchange existing concepts and good practices. As knowledge about the effects of capacity building on quality youth work is limited, the ETS in this regard calls for online platforms and research studies to gather knowledge and raise awareness, giving key actors the opportunity to evaluate their work. Based on these measures, common guidelines and a set of quality criteria for capacity building in the field of youth can be established on the national as well as the European level.

In order to support quality capacity building, it is important to give orientation and guidance to those who are responsible for training the youth workers. Based on the Competence Model for Trainers, the ETS therefore aims at developing a modular system to train trainers within the context of Erasmus+. This is to be achieved through several training offers ranging from newcomer to advanced level courses as well as the bi-annual conference “Bridges for Trainers”, which connects key actors concerned with the issue. Moreover, the recognition tool Youthpass is planned to be extended in order to help trainers establish a personal portfolio that documents their skills and competences in a standardised yet individual way. All of these measures should also serve to establish an “ETS trainer pool” that assists Erasmus+: Youth in Action stakeholders with creating training strategies and activities for both youth workers and trainers.

In addition, the ETS does not only focus on trainers, but also on the advancement of youth workers. Different offers should provide room for youth workers to exchange knowledge and ideas. Multiple courses tailored to the varying needs of youth workers are offered by the network of Youth in Action NAtional Agencies. In order to reach better recognition of quality youth work, the ETS also aims at extending Youthpass beyond the boundaries of Erasmus+: Youth in Action. Pilot projects are in place to serve as a model for the recognition of non-formal learning in national and international contexts.

With regard to the potential of online tools in a wider sense, the ETS particularly encourages the exploration of e-learning as a way to disseminate information to a broader audience and aims at further increasing the pool of online capacity building tools. The services provided on www.salto-youth.net are planned to be enhanced through new, innovative online tools to become the main European online communication platform in that field. Additionally, the ETS newsletter and ETS journals will not only give an insight to the strategy’s achievements and its challenges, but also introduce different stakeholders and their projects to support synergies and cooperation.

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