Youth Work Policy

The unique and distinctive character of youth work is that it is based on a voluntary relationship between young people and youth workers.

The Youth Service in Wales is a universal entitlement, open to all young people within the specified age range 11-25.

The Youth work National Occupational Standards (2012) identified that the key purpose of youth work is to:

‘enable young people to develop holistically, working with them to facilitate their personal, social and educational development, to enable them to develop their voice, influence and place in society and to reach their full potential.’

Youth work is provided through both the voluntary and local authority sectors and through a variety of youth work settings and methods.

What is youth work?

Good non-formal educative youth work provides all young people with active interventions with a purpose that produces learning and development environments for young people. Youth work can play an important role in equipping and helping young people to achieve in their formal education. 

Youth work in Wales offers opportunities  for learning that are educative, expressive, participative, inclusive and empowering.

The recently-revised ‘Youth Work in Wales: Principles and Purposes’ booklet has been produced for the managers and trustees of youth organisations, politicians, local authority elected members and officers, practitioners, trainers and people training to be youth workers and youth support workers.

It has also been written for young people, those already involved in youth organisations as well as those wishing to find out more about the kinds of experience youth organisations can provide.

National Youth Work Strategy for Wales

Youth work has an important role to play in supporting the Welsh Government’s commitment to help everyone reach their potential. Also to tackle poverty, reduce inequality, increase levels of educational attainment and employment, improve economic and social well-being, address health and other inequalities and increase young people’s participation in society.

The Youth work strategy for Wales aims to give direction to those planning and delivering youth work provision. It supports the vision within Extending Entitlement to raise the bar on our expectations and aspirations for all young people, and close the gap between the most and least advantaged.

Through the implementation of this strategy the expectation is that delivery partners across Wales develop a more consistent offer of high-quality youth work for young people, enabling youth work organisations to operate as strategic and valued partners. To achieve this youth workers need to be recognised for their professionalism and impact within the broader educational system, and have their services and expertise recognised and utilised effectively to help deliver the best possible outcomes for young people.


The Welsh Government actively supports the engagement of children and young people in decision making about issues which affect their lives. This is based on the principles of the UN Convention of the rights of the Child.

Youth Work in Wales: Principles and Purposes

Youth work in Wales is based primarily on a voluntary relationship between young people and youth workers. The Youth Service is a universal entitlement, open to all young people within the specified age range 11-25.

YOUTH WORK IN WALES PRINCIPLES AND PURPOSES has been produced by representatives of the voluntary and local authority youth work sectors in Wales.

United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC)

In Wales, the ‘Rights of Children and Young Persons Measure, 2011’ strengthens and builds on the rights-based approach of the Welsh Government to making policy for children and young people in Wales. From 1 May 2012 to 30 April 2014, Welsh Ministers must have due regard to the rights in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) when making decisions about proposed new policies or legislation or about reviewing or changing existing policies.

Then, from 1 May 2014, Welsh Ministers must have due regard to the rights in the UNCRC whenever they use any of their legal power or duties.

More information can be found here.

Strategic Representation

Third Sector Partnership Council

In order to work effectively with the Third Sector, a Third Sector Partnership Council was established in 2007, following from the Voluntary Sector Partnership Council, in 2000.

The Council is chaired by the Deputy Minister and Chief Whip and includes twenty five representatives, appointed from the Third Sector, representing distinct strategic areas of interest.

The Third Sector Partnership Council:

  • facilitates consultation with relevant Third Sector organisations and public sector bodies on the Scheme’s implementation, operation and review; and
  • considers issues that relate to the functions and responsibilities of the Welsh Government that affect, or are of concern to, the Third Sector and makes recommendations to the Welsh Government

Youth Work Employers’ Group

The Employers’ Group is a strategic forum and is co-chaired by CWVYS and the Wales Principal Youth Officers’ Group. The Group provides for a joint-sector approach and exists to promote:

  • The wellbeing of young people in Wales
  • Coherent working between the statutory and voluntary sectors (both locally and nationally)
  • The implementation of ‘Youth Work in Wales: Principles and Purposes’
  • The provision of data to inform youth work strategy and delivery in Wales
  • The quality and regulation of youth work in Wales
  • The influence of the sector through marketing and publicity