Erasmus+ KA2 project “Strengthening the Professionalisation of Youth Work through Codes of Ethical Practice“
The aim of the project was to establish a strategic partnership between Estonia, Iceland and Australia to strengthen youth workers’ professional associations and provide an impetus for the greater application of Youth Work Codes of Ethics.
Tasks undertaken within the project:
- to establish a long-term strategic partnership between youth work professional associations and universities training youth workers in Estonia, Iceland and Australia for the purpose of furthering a youth work agenda of professionalisation through ethical practice using peer learning and utilisation of an international experience;
- to strengthen the evidence base by undertaking research and comparative analysis and mapping of the application of Youth WorkCodes of Ethics and the professionalisation of youth work in the three countries;
- to increase the level of knowledge and understanding among youth workers on the importance of ethical practice in youth work and how it relates to the professionalisation of the sector;
- to provide guidance and collate practical examples for the use of youth workers to support the application of the Codes of Ethics in their youth work practice.
The project partners were:
- Félag fagfólks í frítímaþjónustu (Iceland),
- Estonian Association of Youth Workers (Estonia),
- Victoria University (Australia),
- Youth Workers’ Association (Australia).
This project has been funded with support from the European Commission Erasmus+ programme.
As part of the project the following three research reports were produced.
Research report number 1: Professionalisation of youth work in Estonia, Australia and Iceland: Building an evidence base
This research report, (Intellectual Output No. 1), is the first of three outputs that the Erasmus+ project will produce and aims to answer the research question “What are the main challenges related to the professionalisation of youth work in Estonia, Iceland and Australia?”
Firstly, the report will introduce the project team and co-authors of this report and then give a short insight into the history and background of youth work in the three countries, including the development of ethical codes and youth workers’ associations. A theoretical framework for understanding the concepts of professional youth work and the professionalisation process is provided, followed by the presentation of the survey results from all three countries.
Research report number 2: The application of youth work codes of ethics and practice in Estonia, Australia and Iceland
This report presents the findings of data collected from youth workers using a mixed-methods comparative analysis to answer the following research question: ‘What are the main challenges relating to the use of Youth Work Codes of Ethics in youth work practice in Estonia, Australia and Iceland?’
This research report attempts to address gaps in the youth work body of knowledge across the three participating countries in relation to applying Codes of Ethics and Practice in youth work, adding to the initial data collected in Intellectual Output Number One (IO1).
The research collected data through a survey and/or interviews and focus groups of youth workers in each country. In addition to identifying the gaps and challenges in national contexts, the main aims of the report are to compare results across countries, acknowledge any differences and find commonalities and recurring themes.
It is hoped that while the results are specific to each country, there may be learnings from the research that are potentially transferable and usable by youth-focused organisations in countries beyond those sampled.
Research report number 3: Youth Work Codes of Ethics in Estonia, Australiaand Iceland: Their use in reflective practice
The impetus for the Research report (IO3) comes from a need, expressed through the research undertaken in IO1 and IO2, for a resource to assist and enable the application and use of codes of ethics and practice (CEP). The rationale is based on the research participants’ responses that a resource or guide will assist youth workers and youth organisations in using their CEP in everyday practice. The supposition being that regular use and ‘reflection’ on the CEP will increase awareness and knowledge of the CEP’s principles, inform youth work (YW) practice and ultimately improve outcomes for young people (YP)
This IO3 resource aims to:
- aid ‘reflective practice’ as an important youth work practice concept
- enable codes of ethics/practice to be used as a tool in ‘reflective practice’ processes
- assist the application of codes to be applied to everyday decision-making concerning youth work practice (for individual youth workers, youth leaders and teams and managers of youth services).
The resource will provide background and comparisons on the three countries’ CEPs, introduce the concept of reflective practice and provide a rationale for its use with CEPs in youth work. Additionally, the resource will provide practical tools to assist with applying CEPs and present two case studies from each of the three countries.