n Commonwealth Youth and Development - Continuous education : lifelong learning to professionalise youth work programmes

Volume 11, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1727-7140


Professional youth work is in most cases blurred and not acknowledged appropriately by policy and the powers that be. The demand for professionalism is increasing as investment in youth work is considered beneficial to holistic development and progress in South Africa and other Commonwealth countries. According to this paper, investing in the knowledge base and expertise of youth workers is imperative for professionalism in youth work. Youth work professionalism is critical and it is suggested that the role of continuous education and training, also known as lifelong learning, can lead to a professional recognition of youth workers and their work. Mere formal education resulting in a certificate is not enough for the professional development of youth work in a rapidly changing and globalised world of innovation and high technology. A review of the available literature was the main source of information for this paper. A library search was conducted and relevant information examined to provide the description and analysis of the various approaches to youth work professionalism. Professionalism in youth work through continuous education and training should produce the following distinctive qualities: acceptance of the moral and ethical responsibility inherent in youth work practice; promotion of the wellbeing of young persons and their families in a context of respect and collaboration; and valuing care of young people as essential for emotional growth, social competence, rehabilitation and treatment. There is a need to acknowledge the strengths arising from cultural and human diversity. Valuing individual uniqueness and family, community, culture and human diversity is integral to the developmental and intervention process. Advocating for the rights of youth and families promotes their contribution to nation-building and the development of society.

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