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Youth Goals and the EU Youth Conference.

“We all want a better future. Our vision on how to get there might differ, but the ultimate goal is the same. The key is finding common ground. Young people and decision makers are allies in shaping future policies. Collaboration is a powerful tool to bring different opinions and different people together to work on the same goal: creating positive change. With the Youth Goals a common tool and language has been created, now let’s use it!”

Three youth delegates from Ireland, nominated by NYCI and the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, recently attended the final EU Youth Conference of the Structured Dialogue Cycle VI in Austria. Young people and policy makers have spent over a year working on how the youth voice can feed directly into the new EU Youth Strategy. Here in Ireland NYCI has hosted events and online consultations throughout that time encouraging and supporting young people from all over the country, from all backgrounds and from all viewpoints to engage in the discussions that aim to influence and shape the new EU Youth Strategy. See full report and the journey for the young people in Ireland on the new EU Youth Strategy Youth in Europe: What Next? Structured Dialogue Cycle VI - Consultation Phase – full report

Our delegates Dan, Imelda and Dean carried with them the Young Voices of Ireland and while in Vienna worked with their peers from across Europe and indeed Youth Ministers including our own Minister Katherine Zappone TD who also made her way to Austria for this important event.

The Youth Goals reflect the mutual vision of almost 50.000 young people for a better Europe. However, at the moment they are only written words on a piece of paper. And unless they lead to real actions, they are worthless. But who is responsible for the implementation of the Youth Goals: is it the European Commission? Is it national governments? The civil society? Or is it young people and youth organisations? The real answer to this question is; “all of the above”.

The focus of the endeavours in Vienna centred around how the Youth Goals can come to life in our own national realities. Let’s see how the National Working Group and National Youth Council of Ireland respond to the challenges that our delegates will present on their return!


The National Youth Council of Ireland is in a Strategic Partnership funded by Erasmus+ through Leargas working on Digital Youth Work at a European Level.

Please check out the project website for examples of best practice video, including some from Ireland, show casing the great digital youth work to inspire youth workers.

The Digital Youth Work Project aims to build capacity to deliver digital youth work at local, national, regional and European levels. It is a transnational Erasmus+ project with seven partners from six different countries across Europe and it is implemented during 2017-2019.

The project partners are National Youth Council of Ireland , YouthLink Scotland, Centre for Digital Youth Care (Denmark), Verke – The National Digital Youth Work Centre (Finland), wienXtra MedienZentrum (Austria), JFF – Institut für Medienpädagogik (Germany), and Camara Education Limited (Ireland).

As a partnership, we believe that quality youth work that meets young people’s needs must, in this modern era, include digital considerations. This does not mean that every youth worker should be a technical expert, but that a recognition that young people are growing up in a digital era and that they need support to navigate the online aspects of their lives and critically analyse online information/ interaction is becoming increasingly central to youth work.

There is also huge potential within the youth work sector to enhance and innovate practice through the use of digital technology and media and to use non formal and informal learning to help young people to create digital content and shape the digital world of the future.

However, alongside these needs and opportunities there is also a lack of confidence, competence, strategic planning and investment to enable the youth work sector to fully embrace these developments. This project aims to increase capacity of the youth work sector to engage with these two areas by offering training, guidance and best practice sharing to practitioners and managers to help incorporate digital youth work into their planning. It also creates opportunities to raise the profile of and showcase the value of digital youth work.

Thereby the project objectives will promote quality youth work through supporting open and innovative practices in a digital era. The Digital Youth Work Project objectives are:

  • Share good digital youth work practice across Europe leading to improved practice and innovation within the European youth work community
  • Build capacity of youth workers to respond to digitalisation through training that meets their needs
  • Improve digital youth work planning and the development of digital youth work strategies through increasing awareness of managers of ethical and organisational considerations and requirements of digital youth work
  • Raise awareness of digital youth work within the youth work sector and to policy makers and funders nationally and EU wide

The project produces three outputs:

  • Good practice collection of 36 good practices in total
  • Digital Youth Work Training Resources to be used in youth worker tranings
  • European Guidelines for Digital Youth Work

The methodology to create these outputs includes an innovative Training Jam process as well as training, networking and consultation within the sector. There will be national multiplier events in each country and a final International Digital Youth Work Summit in September 2019 to showcase innovative practice in digital youth work and launch the European Guidelines for Digital Youth Work


Young People meet National Forum on Guidance in Education

On May 8th 2015 a group of young people presented to the National Forum on Guidance in Education. Representing the National Implementation Project (NIP) of the NYCI and DCYA, their presentation was the culmination of a six month process whereby young people from across Ireland considered the topic of Guidance Counselling and its potential positive impact on Social Inclusion.

picture of young people

The group were invited to attend and present at the NCGE’s National Forum on Guidance which is an annual gathering of practitioners from the field of Guidance within the Second level, Third level, Community and Vocational sectors.  The presentation was received very positively by the more than 50 delegates to the event and after taking a lengthy questions and answers session, the young people were asked to stay for the full meeting to contribute to the remainder of the sessions.


Presenting on the day were Shane O’Sullivan, Annika Lipsius and Vanessa Mulhall.

By outlining the process and the rationale for ultimately choosing Guidance Counselling as their Topic they were able to illustrate how a diverse group of young people came to the conclusion that a positive and strategic improvement in the provision of Guidance Counselling across the sectors could have a very significant impact on Social Inclusion. Combining research with real life stories while paying attention to the resonance of the possible positive impact, the group found themselves on a journey that they believed could promote real change for the better.

They believe in the idea that Guidance Counselling at its best begins in 1st year of Secondary School and offers support to students as they navigate their education pathways through second level, community, vocational or third level education. They see a distinction between guidance counselling for life and guidance counselling for careers. The NIP group fundamentally believe that a fully equipped and high quality Guidance Counselling model can have an impact on such ongoing challenges in society such as school dropout, college dropout, mis-informed choices for learning/training/studying, managing mental health, navigating adolescence etc.


If Guidance Counselling were to reach its potential we see a service that facilitates the empowerment and enabling of young people to reach their potential as well as a service that supports people at the times and in the moments when they need it most.


European Youth Work Convention Report

27-30 April 2015, Brussels

Anthony Burrowes (ECO Unesco), Mike Randall (Scouting Ireland) and Eibhlín Harrington (SWAN Youth Service), recently attended the EU Youth Convention in Brussels along with 500 other delegates. 

Read the report from Anthony on what happened at the event (PDF).

More infomation about the convention at


Screenagers Survey on the use of ICT and Digital Media in Youth Work

The Screenagers project is a partnership project between the NYCI and partner organisations in Northern Ireland, Austria, Denmark and Finland.  It is a research project which is investigating the extent of use of ICT and Digital Media in youth work.  All partners have now sent out surveys to practitioners to gather information and we have received approximately 300 responses in Ireland!  Watch this space for an initial report on the findings which will be available in the Autumn.  

We will be carrying out focus group meetings and documenting case studies to get some more detailed information so if you have an interesting project which uses ICT, please contact Anna in NYCI at