“Super Youth Worker”
Udruga gradova u Republici Hrvatskoj
Palmoticeva 25, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia
The purpose of using the City for Youth tool is to provide a concrete list of potential local youth policies, with which local self-government units can assess their current state in terms of quality and quantity, as well as define future short-term and long-term goals, based on this assessment. The tool can also be used by youth councils and youth organizations, so that they can advocate specific things to decision-makers at the local level.
Based on the list of criteria, local self-government units can apply for the City for Youth certificate. If they submit the candidacy, they must prove the implementation of these policies in their communities, and experts evaluate the candidacies. The purpose of awarding the certificate was to further motivate local self-government units to use the tool.
The certification system is implemented by a body at the national level, composed of experts in the field of youth work, who represent partner organizations in this process. Partner organizations are Central State Office for Demography and Youth, Institute for Social Research, Agency for Mobility and EU Programmes, the national network of youth organizations, the association of cities etc. Support is also provided by the Office of the European Parliament in Croatia and the Representation of the European Commission in Croatia.
The aforementioned body coordinates the entire process, defines and updates criteria, publishes calls for applications and awards certificates.
The criteria are divided into eight thematic areas, and cities must meet at least 50% of the criteria in each of the thematic areas, in order to ensure the even development of all areas. Thematic areas are participation, demography, employment and housing, mobility, health and sports, youth work and culture, education and youth outreach. The proposed measures must not be older than three years. The certificate is awarded for three years, which encourages cities to continuously work in this area.
Cities do not have to meet all criteria from the list, but the percentage depends on the number of inhabitants, because there is a difference in competences, financial capacity, etc. Cities with up to 10,000 inhabitants must meet a total of 60% of the criteria, up to 35,000 inhabitants 70% of the criteria, and with more than 35,000 inhabitants a minimum of 80% of the criteria.
Thanks to the implementation of this process, cities show greater motivation to improve existing and implement new measures in the field of local youth policy. Awarding the certificate is an additional motivation for them, so they strive to meet the necessary criteria. Also, young people and the public in general put pressure on city administrations to improve their measures.
As a result, at the first public call, nine cities met all the necessary criteria and were awarded the title of Cities for Youth. At the second call, three additional cities met the necessary criteria. Next call will be published in 2024. Certified cities in the first public call should also apply at that public call, because their certified period of three years will expire.
Worth noting result is that some cities clearly improved between the two public calls, where they achieved much higher percentages on the second public call.
Representatives of local self-governments often point out that their desire to implement youth policies is not in doubt, but that sometimes they do not know what else they can do. They highlight this tool as an excellent instrument in which the criteria are very clearly stated and defined by experts.