This book is the culmination of an Erasmus+ funded project which aimed to independently identify the impact of youth work in the UK (England), Finland, Estonia, Italy and France. It applied a participatory evaluation methodology entitled ‘transformative evaluation’ which collated young people’s own accounts of the impact of youth work on their lives – collecting their stories. Over 700 stories were collected in total over a year long process.
The stories were then analysed independently through a process of coding and only then was youth work in each of the five countries compared and contrasted. The findings reveal both the diversity as well as the similarity of youth work in Europe.
Differences include the variety in age ranges across the five countries, where youth begins at 7 in Estonia, but extends to 35 in Italy. Other differences revealed include the differing levels of resources available to youth workers and therefore the variety in opportunities that this creates for young people in the different contexts. Other differences include the extent to which youth work focuses on recreation or education, the variations in youth empowerment, as well as the varying levels of professionalization in youth work across the five countries. Despite these differences there were also some remarkable similarities across the diverse contexts. For example both ‘friendship’ and ‘self-confidence’ were identified as final codes in three of the five countries.
Another important similarity was the extent to which youth work enabled young people to make positive changes in their lives. Analysis of the stories however reveals that many of these changes are premised upon the creation of a safe space for young people to meet and ‘be themselves’.
The Impact of Youth Work in Europe: A Study of Five European Countries, Edited by Jon Ord with Marc Carletti, Susan Cooper, Christophe Dansac, Daniele Morciano, Lasse Siurala and Marti Taru
ISBN 978-952-456-301-7 (printed)
ISBN 978-952-456-302-4 (online)
ISSN 2343-0664 (printed)
ISSN 2343-0672 (online)
Humak University of Applied Sciences Publications, 56.