The three-year project was designed to promote the quality of youth work in higher education. It featured educational institutes from Finland, Estonia, and the UK. The project was funded by Erasmus+.

New ideas about youth work

The University of Tartu Narva College acted as the leading partner in the project. The cooperating institutions were Newman University from the UK, Viljandi Culture Academy of the University of Tartu Estonia, Estonian Association of Youth Workers, and Humak University of Applied Sciences.

The aim of the project was to promote the quality of youth work. This was achieved by developing the education and training of youth workers in higher-level institutions.

Estonia, Finland and the UK all had somewhat different ideas about youth work, which provided for a fruitful collaboration.

Class in session. Photographer Anna Markova.

The purpose of the project was to analyze and compare different youth work study programmes. The results will be published as a book titled “Teaching Youth Work in Higher Education — Tensions, Connections, Continuities and Contradictions”.

The book was produced as a collaboration between 46 different authors who, for the most part, teach youth work in higher-level education.

The primary editor is Mike Seal and the preface is written by Professor Howard Williamson. Many Finnish authors contributed to this book. The participants include the following people: Sari Höylä, Tomi Kiilakoski, Tuija Mehtonen, Tarja Nyman, Ursula Roslöf, Anita Saaranen-Kauppinen, Eeva Sinisalo-Juha, Lasse Siurala and Päivi Timonen. The book will be soon available online.

The project culminated in an international conference on education and the training of youth workers. The conference was held on 20 September 2019 at Narva College of the University of Tartu in Estonia.

Results Presented in the Conference

The conference was opened by Marek Sammul, the Director of the University of Tartu Narva College. Speakers from all participant countries introduced and reviewed the results of the project. Sari Höylä, Senior Lecturer at Humak University of Applied Sciences, was among the presenters.

All presenters were pleased with the results of the project. The collaborative book, which they very especially proud of, was officially published during the conference.

After the project reviews, Professor Tim Corney, all the way from Victoria University in Melbourne, talked about professional youth work from an Australian perspective. He expressed special concern for the indigenous youth in Oceania and the recognition of full human rights for young Australians.

In the afternoon, Sari Höylä spoke about the education and training of youth workers in Finland. The audience was particularly interested in the different study paths in the Finnish education system, as well as the possibility for EU/EEA citizens to study in Finland for free.

Sari Höylä speaking about youth work in Finland. Photographer Emma Salomaa.

Sari’s presentation was followed by a panel discussion on the future directions of Youth Work. The panel discussed matters such as the educational and financial resources, the appreciation of the work, and the potential of youth workers as schoolteachers.

The last discussion focused on the prospects of youth work in the year 2035, and included three local youth work students as participants. They talked about the possibility of robots taking over their work in the future. All three students felt rather positive that there will be work in their field in the future, although they were cognizant of possible challenges in today’s rapidly changing world.

The conference concluded in a group photo. All participants were eager to continue the collaboration in the future.

Project participants. Photographer Anna Markova.

For more information about the project and the book, please don’t hesitate to contact:

Sari Höylä at Humak
tel. + 358 400 349 376
sari.hoyla(at)humak.fi

Text by Emma Salomaa and Sari Höylä.