Youth work – empowering the changemakers of tomorrow

Super Youth Worker
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JUK Jugendarbeit Köniz, Fachstelle Prävention, Kinder- und Jugendarbeit

Stapfenstrasse 13, 3098 Köniz, Switzerland

  • Participation of young people in activities (planning, preparing, carrying out, etc.)
  • Participation of young people in decision making
  • Non-formal education/-learning
  • Active citizenship/activism
  • Employability
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Volunteering/voluntarism
  • Organisation
  • Planning
  • Follow up/evaluation

We want to upscale the skills of our youth in the community so that they can lead and overtake responsibility in all areas and levels of the community life, as initiators and animators. We aim primarily at the impact of experience, which implicitly leads to learning. The training is about learning for the personal mastery of challenges in the living environment, and not about studying per se. Valuation of this kind of learning promotes the self-esteem. In the face of the growing significance of education for the professional and private life, especially learning outside of the formal education system becomes a subject with increased importance.

Please describe your good practice based on the above given information (Explain your practice as such, in ‘technical’ terms and as clear and simple as possible.)

Accomp+ The training for young people in youth work

Target group: Young people, ages 14 to 18

  • who want to become a coach in an ongoing sports project (e.g. “midnight sports”) or in the operating group of a youth center,
  • who are motivated to accompany other young people,
  • who are looking for supplements to their job applications,
  • who are interested in participating in the youth work,
  • who are interested in project work and other skills

The training weekend (2 days):

  • They learn to know themselves better
  • They learn about different forms and techniques of youth animation
  • They learn how to organize projects on target
  • They learn how to lead groups
  • They learn how to lead discussions
  • They learn to reflect their behaviour in conflict situations

The volunteering (1 day):

  • They volunteer in the community or in the youth work with a project of their interest
  • They prepare, organize and animate their activity
  • They evaluate their animation with a professional

The dossier:

  • They receive a diploma and an attest of the volunteer work

Please describe eventual challenges and problems related to the creation, implementation, and/or running of your good practice? (Explain the eventual difficulties that you have come across, so that others know what to think about if they want to implement your practice.)


  • The young people are often tired after a full week of school or in their apprenticeship and need to have a good balance of learning and fun activities.
  • The groups need to be mixed and matched so that all get to know each other and do not remain in the groups they came with. Often the trainings are bilingual, which makes this especially challenging.
  • Current and new things want to be flexibly integrated (e.g. whats app, memes, songs, etc.).
  • Each sequence or workshop is immediately afterwards reflected on the meta-level (e.g. even the getting-to-know-each-other game starts with a planning sequence first, the participants plan the game together with the moderators, who ideally are former participants themselves. After the implementation of the game, all are invited to reflect the good and the bad, and to suggest improvements)
  • Places need to be found, where the volunteer work after the training can be implemented,
  • these places need to be kept satisfied.

Please give the names, roles and tasks of eventual partners involved in the creation, implementation and/or running of your good practice.

  • Youth workers, school social workers, teachers, pastors, etc. have a place or a project, where they need the participation of young people. It is them who acquire the interested young people in participating. They inform them about the programme and write a recommendation.
  • Moderation teams: Ideally there are multiplicators in the area of the participants who are willing to come along and moderate the workshops during the training weekend. Therefore, the planning and organization is very need-oriented, plus the moderators are already known and serve as motivators and role-models.
  • Cooperation with an attest-partner that is widely recognized (volunteer organization that hands out a certificate)
  • Of course, the usual camp organizers and partners are needed.

Please give an overview of the resources needed in order to establish and run your good practice. (Please describe the human, financial and other resources that are needed. Please also explain if you have got external financing from sources available for others, and if so, from what funding scheme(s).)

Most importantly: The living environment must be open to value the participation of their young people, despite their sometimes not fully professional ideas, plans and projects, and view there contribution as an inspiring and innovative source.

Human resources: Next to the project manager (often a youth worker, teacher or pastor), there needs to be at least one other professional. Depending on the number of participants, but also with the aim of building a multiplicator-systems, as many moderators or senior coaches as possible are welcome to lead the workshops and animate the in-between sequences.

Financial resources: Often, they are funded by the youth work for projects in the area of non-formal learning. The training weekend is free for the participants, because they will generate project ideas and later volunteer their work. The moderators are paid a moderate motiviation fee.

For young people:

  • A diploma for their volunteer work to add to their job application dossier
  • Skills in leading groups and project work
  • Communication and social skills are trained
  • Fun in a camp with others
  • Friendships can develop

For youth workers:

  • Gain engaged and motivated project helpers and leaders
  • Gain a source of ideas
  • Keep up with the needs of their target audience
  • Gain contact to new young people

For your organisation as such:

  • It fulfills the effectiveness targets that are required by the regional governement.
  • It serves the multiplicator-system
  • It lets us be close to our target audience
  • It often sparks the interest of the local politics
  • It increases the recognition of our organization through media coverage

For youth work in general:

  • It establishes the recognition in the non-formal learning
  • It solidifies our role between school and the young adult’s entering into the apprenticeship or employed work force

For society/your community in general:

  • Self-effective, motivated, well-reflected and responsible young members of the community.

Other, please specify:

  • Future employers gain additional distinguishing factors in the job application of young people, plus, they can hire people with addition skills.