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Youth Work Week: Building Skills for Employability

30 July 2013
The Commonwealth will raise awareness of the valuable role youth work plays in empowering and supporting young people during Youth Work Week in November.

Youth Work Week 2013 will run from 4 to 10 November. This marks the 20th anniversary of the event, which raises awareness of the valuable role youth work plays in empowering and supporting young people.

For the second year, The Commonwealth will partner with the UK National Youth Agency to ensure the message reaches people across The Commonwealth’s 54 countries in six continents.

The Commonwealth Youth Programme (CYP) has a 40-year history of training youth workers and championing the recognition of youth work as a profession. The National Youth Agency started Youth Work Week 20 years ago, with similar aims of acknowledging the great contribution of youth workers.

This year, Youth Work Week will focus on 'Building Skills for Employability'. The campaign aims to highlight the role of youth work in supporting young people to unlock their productive potential, acquire decent work, start their own businesses and develop relevant skills and attitudes for ‘the world of work’. Youth workers also advocate for employment policies that create genuine career pathways for young people.

The annual Youth Worker Awards will, for the first time, include a call for nominations from Commonwealth countries for the Commonwealth Youth Worker Award. The awards celebrate the individual impact and contribution of youth workers.

The Commonwealth will also initiate discussions on the importance of a professional code of ethics for youth work during Youth Work Week. Such a code was highlighted as vital at the first Commonwealth Conference on Youth Work Education and Training, convened in South Africa in March 2013.

Other initiatives will include launching new national Youth Worker Associations in countries where none exist, highlighting the valuable contribution of youth work at all levels and exchanging case studies of effective youth work.

Katherine Ellis, Director of Youth Affairs at The Commonwealth, said: “There is an almost global recognition and acceptance that young people and youth issues impact on national development outcomes. One critical factor that is often overlooked is an appreciation of the important contribution of youth work and youth workers in supporting, engaging and empowering young people to contribute to national development.

“For 40 years the CYP has focused on youth work as an important part of the enabling environment for young people. We believe that societies that invest in the training and education of youth workers – whether they work in youth ministries, NGOs, or are young leaders themselves – will deliver better outcomes for young people. Youth Work Week is a time to highlight and celebrate youth work as a profession in its own right.”

Fiona Blacke, National Youth Agency Chief Executive, said: “Youth Work Week is a time when people from every part of the sector can come together to celebrate and promote what youth workers do and the often transformative contribution they are making to young people's lives. It's also exciting to know that this isn’t only happening in our small patch, it's also happening in countries across the world, and that we are part of a global movement.”

The Commonwealth is calling for youth clubs, national youth councils, youth ministries, departments, commissions and national youth organisations, to get involved in Youth Work Week by holding an event or activity related to the theme of ’Building Skills for Employability’. The Commonwealth Youth Programme working with the National Youth Agency will be putting together an events calendar to promote and profile all local and national initiatives.

For further media information contact:

Victoria Holdsworth
Deputy Director
Communications and Public Affairs Division
Commonwealth Secretariat
Tel: +44 (0) 7895 493 520
Email: [email protected]

Tiffany Leake
National Youth Agency
Tel: +44 (0) 116 242 7358
Email: [email protected]

Notes to Editors

About the Commonwealth Youth Programme

The Commonwealth Youth Programme (CYP) believes youth workers are needed now more than ever before, given the growing youth population especially in Commonwealth member states.

The CYP has a dedicated programme which focuses on training youth workers, supporting the development of youth work as a profession and supporting youth worker associations.

For over 40 years the CYP has conducted certificate and diploma training for youth workers across The Commonwealth. In 2011 the CYP partnered with the University of the West Indies to deliver the first Youth Work Degree programme in the Caribbean.

About the National Youth Agency

The National Youth Agency believes that now more than ever young people need youth workers. Youth workers dedicate their time and expertise to helping young people in their personal and social development, equipping them with the practical skills they need to be resilient in challenging times, and positive contributors to future economic growth.

The National Youth Agency works to support youth workers to do that more effectively, and for more young people.

They do this by:

· Championing the work of youth workers

· Enabling youth workers to do what they do

· Supporting the recognition of youth work as a profession