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Youth Work Policy

NYCI Policy Positions

  • NYCI calls on the next Government to increase investment in current youth work funding by €15  from €58 in 2014 to €73 per young person by 2020, this equates to an investment in current spending of €73.1m by 2020 

  • NYCI calls on the next Government to introduce a revised Youth Capital Grants Scheme with an annual budget of €1m  

  • NYCI calls on the next Government to invest €1m per annum in the Local Youth Club Grant Scheme 

Investment in Youth Work Services

As we emerge from the economic and social crisis, one of the positive indicators is our growing youth population. Between 2015 and 2020 the number of young people aged 10-24 will grow by an estimated 13%. This also will create challenges, however, with adequate resources the Youth Work sector is well placed to support young people to reach their potential and make Ireland the best country in the world in which to be a young person.

Youth organisations are active in almost every community reaching over 383,000 young people. As detailed in the Indecon Report youth organisations are particularly active in supporting young people from economically or socially disadvantaged communities, with 53% of all participants coming from these areas. The track record and credibility of the youth sector is also demonstrated by the high levels of participation by young people here in youth services. Ireland has the highest level of involvement in youth services in the EU with 26% of young people active in a youth club.

€1 invested in youth work returns €2.20

The Indecon Report found that for every €1 invested in youth work the economic benefit/costs saved by the State in the long run are €2.20. This study demonstrates that investment in youth work not only supports young people to reach their full potential and become active citizens.  The current expenditure for youth work services from the Department of Children and Youth Affairs has fallen by almost 31.7% since 2008 from €73.1m to €49.9m in 2015.  This has placed enormous strain on youth services at a time when the numbers and needs of young people are growing. In 2008, the spending on youth work services was €76 per young person; by 2014 this has fallen to €58 per young person. Based on estimates of the youth population in 2020 we would propose a €15 increase to €73 per young person in current expenditure by the end of the term of the next Government. This would bring investment in youth services up to €73.1m by 2020 which we believe is a modest increase in light of the increased youth population, additional commitments and regulatory requirements and inflation over the next five years.

Another consequence of the severe cuts has been the limited capital funding available to develop new physical infrastructure, renovate existing facilities and to acquire equipment, such as IT and digital equipment to enhance the services and supports to young people and better engage with them. We welcome the allocation of €500,000 for a Youth Capital Funding Scheme earlier this year. This fund was limited to small works and therefore excluded larger projects. We would propose that a revised Youth Capital Fund should be developed with clear priorities of €1m per annum over the lifetime of the next Government.

A unique characteristic of youth work services in Ireland is the contribution of thousands of volunteers who give their time and expertise to working for and with young people. The Indecon Report found that there were 40,145 volunteers in the youth sector and estimated that they give 5.5 million hours annually valued at between €47m (minimum wage rate) and €139m (average hourly rate). The Local Youth Club Grant Scheme is an effective way to support local volunteers to meet some of the costs of delivering youth services in their areas. Therefore we are calling on the next Government to invest €1m per annum in the Local Youth Club Grant Scheme in the years 2016-2020.

NYCI response to Budget 2016 welcome for increased youth work funding

What is Youth Work?

Youth Work funded by Department of Children and Youth Affairs

Assessment of the Economic Value of Youth Work (Indecon)

Assessment of the Economic Value of Youth Work (Indecon)


EU Commission Expert Group “Working with young people: the value of youth work in the European Union” February 2014