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Youth Work Recovery Conference

Beyond recovery – bringing youth work back on track

CONTEXT

Around 130 participants from policy, practice and research from Europe and neighbouring partner countries met from 13-16 June 2022 in Helsinki in order to discuss the effects of the coronavirus pandemic and other current and imminent crises on the field of youth work.

The conference aimed to explore the evidence on the needs for support of youth work on the one hand, and the available support options for youth work, on the other hand. Therefore, gaps in existing support measures as well as specific and concrete mechanisms needed (in addition to existing ones) were identified.

 

The conference was officially opened by Mr Petri Honkonen, Minister for Science and Culture (Finland), Ms Minna Kelhä, Director of the Finnish National Agency for Education as well as Lotta Tuominen, EU Youth Delegate, Member of the Youth Steering Group of the European Year of Youth Finland.

Participants worked on developing clear actions for relevant actors on how the post-pandemic support and development of youth work can be improved, strengthened and widened across Europe and beyond. A drafting group supported the process by summarizing and contextualizing the work done by the participants.

The Youth Work Recovery Conference was co-hosted by the National Agencies of the European youth programmes from Finland (host), Croatia, Germany, France, Portugal and Slovenia (co-hosts) as well as co-financed by Movetia (Swiss agency for exchange and mobility). The RAY Network Coordination (at the Finnish National Agency) was leading and coordinating the preparation process and the implementation of the conference in cooperation with the RAY transnational research team. The conference was part of the European Year of Youth.

 

INPUT & OUTPUTS

Knowledge from research and sense-making

The first sessions were reserved for knowledge from research and sense-making. The aim was to to introduce participants to the research work done so far (not only by the RAY Network but also other related research) as well as to introduce the five knowledge domains to participants.

>> Input : the presentation can be found HERE

>> Input: the related graphic recording can be found HERE

 

Thematic working groups (according to five knowledge domains)

After the knowledge input, the participants split up in thematic working groups according to the following topics: Structural impact of the pandemic, personal impact of the pandemic, systemic issues exposed by the pandemic, recovery support for youth work and crisis resilience of youth work.

The drafting group clustered the outcomes of the group work according to time: immediate actions, short-term/fairly immediate actions, mid-term action and long-term actions.

>> Outcome (draft actions I): the related graphic recording can be found HERE

 

Actions groups

Following, four action groups were formed, in which participants were invited to identify missing points from the actions developed during the previous sessions (European and/or national level). The main task for the groups was to storify the actions by adding key elements following these questions: What stories can we tell that highlight the importance of this action? Which narratives are pandemic/crisis specific? What would happen if this action was not adapted? What would be the best-case scenario if this action was adapted? What would be the positive ripple effects that can be described?

The drafting group brought these outcomes together and formulated the final draft actions which act as the framework for the ‘Beyond Recovery Action Plan 2030’

 

OUTCOME

Final draft actions – framework for the ‘Beyond Recovery Action Plan 2030’:

  • Strengthening the youth work community and community building
  • Mental Health and support to young people as well as youth workers
  • Education & training for youth workers, youth leaders and policy makers
  • Digital skills and cultures
  • Stability and structure for Youth Work across Europe regionally, nationally and locally
  • Funding: both stable structural funding and flexible and imaginative project funding
  • ’Youth work observatory’: a research, knowledge & evidence hub
  • Recognition, including as essential workers
  • Building on what we learnt during the pandemic
  • Anticipating and Re-imagining the future(s)

>> The related graphic recording can be found HERE.

 

NEXT STEPS

Final ‘Beyond Recovery Action Plan 2030’

The RAY research team, in collaboration with the drafting group and RAY coordination, finalises the ‘Beyond Recovery Action Plan 2030’ until 15 August. The action plan will refer to a wider perspective (going ‘beyond recovery’) – thus, having the pandemic and its effects as a starting point for a wider discussion on systemic issues and different emerging crises.

Participants of the conference as well as other interested stakeholders are invited to translate and to adapt the action plan to their national context.

National conference groups were encouraged before and during the conference to work on their own national action plans as well as dissemination efforts within the follow-up process of the conference.

 

15 September: Common efforts for bringing the actions to relevant stakeholders – JOIN US

Synchronized efforts all over Europe and beyond take place on 15 September. We will use this day to communicate and disseminate the outcomes of the conference and to address policy and decision makers from all levels. Not only the action plan(s) themselves will be shared, but also letters will be sent to European, national and local policy and decision makers for awareness-raising and as a ‘call for action’.

Additionally, national delegations will organise other activities as well as integrate the outcomes of the conference into already planned activities and implement them within the timeline of their own national action plans and contexts.

STAY UPDATED & JOIN US!

 

FURTHER READING

Concept note

Short programme

 

Pictures by Ilkka Vuorinen and Janne Pappila (Petri Mast Photography)

Graphic recording by Raquel Benmergui, Raakku & Co Oy

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Graphic Recording Draft Actions I
Graphic Recording Draft Actions Ii Framework
Graphic Recording Insights From Research And Sensemaking
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