The National Youth Strategy, 2015-2020 has its basis in BOBF and, in particular, its youth-specific commitments. The purpose of the National Youth Strategy is to coordinate policy and services across Government and other stakeholders so as to enable all young people aged 10-24 years to realise their maximum potential. (DCYA and ETBI, 2016).
The National Youth Strategy is a universal strategy for all young people aged 10 to 24 years, while having particular regard to those young people who are experiencing or at risk of experiencing the poorest outcomes and, therefore, in most need of support. (DCYA, 2015a).
The aim of the National Youth Strategy is “to enable all young people to realise their maximum potential, by respecting their rights and hearing their voices, while protecting and supporting them as they transition from childhood to adulthood.”
The National Youth Strategy sets out Government’s aims and objectives in relation to each of the five BOBF national outcomes areas, namely:
|Table 1: National Youth Strategy Objectives|
|1. Active and healthy, physical and mental well-being|
|Objective 1||Young people enjoy a healthy lifestyle, in particular with regard to their physical, mental and sexual health and well-being.
|Objective 2||Young people benefit from involvement in recreational and cultural opportunities including youth work, arts, and sports.
|2. Achieving full potential in all areas of learning and development|
|Objective 3||Young people’s core skills, competencies and attributes are enhanced and promoted through accessible, responsive, formal and non-formal education and learning opportunities.
|Objective 4||Young people benefit from strengthened transition supports at all levels as they move through the education system.
|3. Safe and protected from harm|
|Objective 5||Young people, and in particular vulnerable and marginalised young people, are supported to feel safe at home, in school, in their communities and online, and are empowered to speak out when feeling unsafe or vulnerable.
|Objective 6||Young people have safe places and spaces where they can socialise and develop.
|4. Economic security and opportunity|
|Objective 7||Young people are better able to participate in the labour market through enhanced employability skills that complement formal learning and training qualifications and entrepreneurship opportunities.
|Objective 8||Young people are a particular focus in policies that address social inclusion and poverty.
|5. Connected, respected and contributing to their world|
|Objective 9||Young people are included in society, are environmentally aware, their equality and rights are upheld, their diversity celebrated, and they are empowered to be active global citizens.
|Objective 10||Young people’s autonomy is supported, their active citizenship fostered, and their voice strengthened through political, social and civic engagement.
The strategy identifies some fifty priority actions to be delivered by Government Departments, state agencies and by others, including the voluntary youth services sector, from 2015 to 2017. These actions are designed to address matters that are a high priority for young people themselves. With specific regard to young people, the DCYA works to support and promote non-formal and informal education (youth work) and other developmental opportunities and activities to secure good outcomes for young people. The DCYA administers funding to support the provision of youth services by the voluntary youth sector for these purposes.
Importantly in the context of the ETB Youth Work Plan, the strategy also identifies DCYA-led enabling actions in support of the National Youth Strategy, as follows:
|Table 2: Enabling Actions in National Youth Strategy|
|· Ensuring quality services
· Focus on prevention and early intervention
· Improving coordination and collaboration
· Access to quality information.
Some of these areas have a direct relevance in relation to the statutory youth work functions of ETBs. For example, ensuring quality services encompasses the quality standards initiatives for the youth work sector.