South Africa wants to see more of the work done with young people being professionally recognised, Minister in the Presidency for Performance Monitoring, Evaluation and Administration Collins Chabane has said.
Speaking at the opening of the Commonwealth Conference on the Education and Training of Youth Workers recently, Minister Chabane said: “Given the huge challenges faced by young people in the country and across the globe, it was important to ensure that anybody who works with young people should be competent and skilled, with the required expertise to effectively address their needs and challenges”.
South Africa’s National Youth Policy defines youth work as “a field of practice that focuses on the holistic development of a young person, enabling the realisation of youth development via a combination of focused strategies”.
The Minister said international best practice showed that the professionalisation of youth work had many benefits.
“These included strengthening the capacity of youth workers to develop and deliver value added youth development services and empowerment, and providing professional quality services to the youth.”
The Commonwealth has over the years been promoting education and training of youth workers. In addition, there has been support for this process through the Commonwealth Diploma in Youth Development offered by institutions of higher learning in some Commonwealth member countries.
“However, it is important to note that, despite progress made, there are still challenges that are worthy of attention, particularly in the realisation of professional recognition of youth work,” said Minister Chabane.
He stressed the importance of countries coming together to share experiences and identify the common challenges as well as solutions to advance youth work.
Like many other countries, South Africa has also been on the road of professionalising youth work for quite some time.
“We therefore have lessons to share and we are equally open to learn from the wealth of experiences from our counterparts representing various countries in this conference. We hope that the lessons learnt from this conference will help deal with pertinent common issues facing youth workers globally,” said Minister Chabane.