The Service de la jeunesse (Youth Department) (a ministerial department) and the Service national de la jeunesse (SNJ) (National Youth Service) (administration) each work within their respective fields (see below) to define the youth policy, to offer supplementary educational activities and programmes for young people, to train, guide, advise and support professionals working within the field and to ensure the educational quality of the offers within the non-formal education sector.
Principles of youth work
The action being taken for young people is based on non-formal education (outside of the school framework) and on the “socio-educational youth work”: a vast range of social, cultural, educational, environmental and/or political activities conducted by, with and for young people either in groups or individually.
Socio-educational youth work is essentially a social practice. It entails working with young people and the society they live in, with a view to facilitating their inclusion and their active participation in community life and decision-making.
The key principle for youth work is the voluntary and willing participation of the young people concerned.
The loi modifiée du 4 juillet 2008 sur la jeunesse (amended Law of 4 July 2008 on youth) introduced a quality assurance system within the field of non-formal education and work with and for young people.
In order to guarantee the quality of the services offered by the entire public sector for youth (and childhood), the system is based on five key elements:
- the Cadre de référence national sur l’éducation non formelle des enfants et des jeunes (National reference framework on non-formal education for children and young people), which comprises the fundamental objectives as well as the principles and characteristics of non-formal education in Luxembourg;
- the drafting of a general action concept (concept d’action général, CAG) for every education and childcare service for young people which receives financial support from the state;
- keeping an event log (journal de bord) which shows the implementation of the aforementioned general action concept;
- establishing a continuing training plan for staff within the sector;
- a visit from regional agents (agents régionaux, AREG) whose purpose is to check that the service’s educational practice corresponds to its general action concept.
Financial support for youth organisations and youth services
Actors who put measures and projects in place for young people (whether these are youth associations or structures that work for young people) can receive financial support from the ministry that is responsible for youth.
Through conventions, the State can thus contribute to the costs associated with the acquisition, construction, fitting out, transformation and modernisation of buildings and equipment.
The ministry can also grant subsidies for concrete measures and activities that benefit young people to organisations or associations.
Service de la jeunesse
The Service de la jeunesse (Youth Department) is a ministerial department that supports the various services and actors that act and work in the youth sector and for the benefit of young people in Luxembourg. It establishes approvals and conventions, manages the budget, follows up on issues related to housing, addiction, emotional and sexual health and research, administrates policy files at a national, European and international level, implements the quality system in partnership with the National Youth Service, etc.
Service national de la jeunesse
The field of action of the Service national de la jeunesse (SNJ) (National Youth Service) is non-formal education, which includes all educational activities organised outside of the formal school system. Its offers are intended both for young people and for those who do educational work with children and young people.
The four pillars of the SNJ are:
The SNJ offers educational activities to groups of young people that are complementary to the school curriculum.
In line with its slogan “Making Young People Stronger” (Jonker staark maachen, Rendre les jeunes plus forts) its objective is to help young people to become responsible, active and critical citizens.
The SNJ offers programmes within the following fields of action: Live media / Live the team / Live sport / Live nature / Live creativity / Live human rights.
The SNJ’s education centres are not only reserved for the SNJ’s programmes and projects, they are also open to youth organisations that want to organise their own activities there.
Training is another important aspect of the work. The SNJ offers training for specialist youth workers and continuing training modules for professionals who work with children and young people to share its expertise. Similarly, its education centres cooperate within national and European networks in a spirit of knowledge sharing and exchange.
The SNJ supports young people in their transition to working life by offering them individual advice and concrete alternatives to inactivity.
Young people can contact the nearest local branch directly. These branches are points of contact for young people who:
- are still at school, but who are about to leave their educational establishment without having a concrete solution;
- have left the school system without a diploma;
- would like to (re-)integrate into a school or onto a vocational training course;
- would like to find a way out of their inactivity.
- In the SNJ’s eleven local branches, spread across the entire country, young people can get:
- advice and individual support;
- suggestions of structured activities that enable them to find out about the reality of the world of work and to decide on a realistic career plan: workshops, volunteer services, exploratory work placements;
- individual support.
The offers are supplemented by training aimed at developing social skills.
In order to support young people as well as possible, the SNJ’s local branches cooperate with a number of actors, in particular with secondary schools and youth centres, as well as with all of the services that could help young people.
In addition to those in Luxembourg, volunteer services are available throughout Europe and in developing countries. Young people are therefore given the opportunity to have a unique experience abroad.
With regard to international mobility, it should be noted that the SNJ supervises the reception of young au pairs in Luxembourg. This task is conducted by the Service Accueil de jeunes au pair (“Reception of young au pairs” department).
The SNJ’s task is to ensure educational quality is monitored within non-formal education services (education and childcare services, parental assistants, youth centres). This monitoring is conducted by regional “youth” agents who visit the relevant services regularly to discuss the implementation of guidelines for non-formal education with the people responsible for these facilities. In so doing, they are guided by six “dimensions of quality”: the quality of supervision, the quality of the furnishings and layout of the space and of the play equipment, the quality of the educational offer, the quality of the interaction with the child and the internal quality management.
The regional agents’ main task is to identify the difficulties encountered by the services and to make recommendations. This should be done constructively, in a way that supports the services in their development.
Furthermore, the feedback from regional agents enables those in charge within the SNJ to provide more targeted resources (for example concerning the continuing training programme or educational material).
The SNJ supports the development of quality and innovation within non-formal education. It coordinates continuing training for the actors in non-formal education. Through national conferences on current topics it enables a theoretical and practical exchange of ideas.
It also edits a vast range of educational material (publications, tutorials, etc.) through which it gives advice on educational practice, shares examples of good practice and provides information on current theories.