That has been the focus of the interest of Erasmus+ funded a strategic partnership project between three countries the last three years.

We started by sharing the “best practices” of our education and training. We found similarities and we found differences.

The University of Tartu Narva College act as a leading partner in the project

Youth workers’ training in HEIs: approaching the study process and the other partners 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 from Finland.

The aim of this project is to promote the quality in the youth work practice by developing the education and training of youth workers in higher level institutions.

Estonia, Finland and the UK have the supposedly different concepts of youth work.

Photographer Anna Markova.

The main value of the project is the analysis and comparison of concrete youth work study programmes and making this material and approach available for all European stakeholders.  The result is a book “Teaching Youth Work in Higher Education – Tensions, connections, continuities and contradictions”.

In this book there are articles from 46 different authors – authors who are mostly teaching youth work in higher level education.

The editor is Mike Seal and the preface is written by Professor Howard Williamson.  From Finland, the followed authors gave their input to this very first book about teaching youth work on higher education: Sari Höylä, Tomi Kiilakoski, Tuija Mehtonen, Tarja Nyman, Ursula Roslöf, Anita Saaranen-Kauppinen, Eeva Sinisalo-Juha, Lasse Siurala and Päivi Timonen.

“This book will be on-line soon.”

The project culminated with the International one-day conference on education and training of youth workers on Friday, September 20th, 2019 at Narva College of the University of Tartu in Estonia.

The launching of the book “Teaching Youth Work in Higher Education” took place in the conference

The conference was opened by Marek Sammul, Director of the University of Tartu Narva College.

The project was introduced and reviewed by Kristjan Klauks, Project Manager from the University of Tartu Narva College, Maria Zuravljova, Youth Work Programme manager at the University of Tartu Narva College, Pauline Grace, Senior Lecturer at Newman University, Sari Höylä, Senior Lecturer at HUMAK University of Applied Sciences, Piret Eit, Youth Work Assistant at the University of Tartu Viljandi Culture Academy, and Ilona-Evelyn Rannala from Estonian Association of Youth Workers.

All speakers were happy with the results of the project and particularly proud of the book that was produced in collaboration with 46 international authors.

After the project recap, Prof. Tim Corney, all the way from Victoria University Melbourne, talked about professional Youth Work from an Australian perspective. He expressed special concern for the indigenous youth in Oceania as well as the recognition of full human rights of young people in Australia.

Pauline Grace and Michael A.S. Gilsenan, Senior Lecturers from Newman University discussed the tensions and connections in Youth workers training in higher education institutions.

After lunch, Sari Höylä introduced 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. Photographer Emma Salomaa.

Sari’s presentation was followed by a discussion session on the future directions of Youth Work. The expert panel consisted of Naomi Thompson from Goldsmith University, Tim Corney and Ilona-Evelyn Rannala, and was moderated by Kaur Kötsi from Estonian Youth Work Centre.

“The questions concerned, for example, the educational and financial resources, the appreciation of the work, and the potential of youth workers as schoolteachers.”

The last panel discussion focused on the prospects of youth work in the year 2035 and invited three local students of Youth Work to participate.

It was pondered, for instance, whether robots will take over their work in the future. All three students felt rather positive about the future of their field although they recognized the challenges of today’s rapidly changing world.

The conference ended with a group photo and strong wishes to continue collaboration in the future.

Photographer Anna Markova.

More information about the project and the book, don´t hesitate to contact

Sari Höylä at Humak
tel. + 358 400 349 376

Text by Emma Salomaa and Sari Höylä