European Academy on Youth Work, 2nd edition

Conference – Symposium – Forum / 31 May – 3 June 2022 | Kranjska Gora, Slovenia

Do you want to reflect and discuss with colleagues from the European youth work field trends and innovation in youth work, how to implement and support it, and how to get youth work ready for the challenges of the future? Then join us at the 2nd EAYW!

Please note: The 2nd EAYW event has been postponed from November 2021 to 31st May – 3rd June 2022. Some participants have already been selected within the first call for participants published in June 2021. The call is now being reopened to recruit additional participants for the residential event.

Some parts of the Academy will be opened for online participation. More information and a call for registrations will be opened in April.

What is the European Academy on Youth Work (EAYW)?

The EAYW is an initiative of National Agencies of the Erasmus+ programme, youth field, and the European Solidarity Corps [1] and SALTO-YOUTH Resource Centres. The EAYW aims to support innovation in youth work and youth work policy, to promote the development of quality youth work and to contribute to creating a common ground on youth work and youth work policy. It offers a regular platform for reflection, exchange and knowledge gathering on innovation and current European topics, trends and developments in and with relevance to the youth field.

In particular, the EAYW wants to enable learning, as a field, about why, when and how innovation in youth work happens and under which conditions innovative approaches and practices are successful in responding to current developments and challenges faced by young people across Europe.

In this respect, the EAYW responds to the demands expressed in the final Declaration of the 3rd European Youth Work Convention to encourage and support the different stakeholders in youth work in Europe to strive “towards the maintenance of the good structures and practices that already exist, their development when the need arises, and the space for innovation in our thinking, our organisation and our practices”. Especially “in a post-pandemic Europe, youth work must seek to innovate and go further than the paths already known”. [2]

The outcomes of studies and reflections and the exchange of good practices, views and debates on these questions undertaken in the framework of the EAYW should support the further development of youth work as well as political frameworks for youth work development in Europe and thus contribute to the implementation of the European Youth Work Agenda through the Bonn process.

About the 2nd edition of the EAYW

The 2nd EAYW event follows the successful 1st pilot edition, which was organised in May 2019 in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, and brought together around 170 professionals from youth work practice, research and policy, including institutions supporting youth work at different levels. Following a call for proposals, 36 innovative practices in and related to youth work were presented and discussed in relation to current trends and developments identified by the participants. More information and the final report of the 1st EAYW event are available at

The 2nd edition builds on the experiences of the first EAYW event, but also intends to go a step further by putting a stronger emphasis on learning about the mechanisms that can spark, sustain and support innovation in youth work as a response to the challenges and changing realities faced by societies and young people in Europe today. It further takes into account the outcomes of the recent Study on Innovation in Youth Work undertaken by the EAYW as well as a series of webinars on the topic of “Learning in times of disruption and change” carried out between November 2021 and April 2022.


The 2nd EAYW event will offer a space for knowledge-building through peer learning and exchange, and networking, in particular:

TRENDS: To jointly explore what are the main challenges and trends in and of relevance for youth work that are calling for and leading to new, innovative and creative approaches and developments;

RESPONSES: To showcase and mainstream innovative practices, approaches and strategies developed in response to these challenges and trends;

INNOVATION: To find out more about how innovation evolves in youth work, and which conditions are needed by young people, youth workers, organisations working with young people and other relevant stakeholders to spark and sustain innovative and impactful approaches, practices or strategies and

FUTURE SUPPORT: To produce outcomes of the reflections and discussions during the event, which will help to build knowledge as a field and support further developments related to innovation in youth work.

The EAYW aims to be inclusive and participatory in its approach and to give a voice to contributions representing the diverse levels, environments and stakeholders in youth work. Furthermore, it promotes cross-sectorial and multi-perspective approaches involving youth work practice, research, and policy, which have proven vital to successfully address identified developments or challenges. Reflection based on different perspectives should help to identify responses to trends that could be taken up by different roles.

In relation to the Covid-19 pandemic, the organisers will ensure that safety and hygienic measures are in place during the activity. The selected participants will receive detailed information about the conditions in place and coverage of costs in cases of emergency.


During the 3-day programme, participants will be able to attend Practice & Reflection Forums of their choice where they will have the opportunity to explore the development (looking at the process behind the product) of innovative examples of practice from different fields and contexts of youth work, research and policy and addressing a variety of themes and target groups. Key notes, debates and inspirational inputs will offer further sparks for reflection.

The learning from the Forums and plenary sessions will be taken further in discussion spaces at the end of each day where participants can reflect in smaller groups (“Learning tribes”) on what they experienced during the day and what they are learning about how innovation in youth work can be understood and what actions might be needed to further support it.

Finally, it is also important and fun to feel and get a glimpse of what innovation is all about, so there will be informal spaces for sharing, experimenting and seeing things from a different perspective…

Content-wise, we will be looking at innovation from different angles, highlighting those aspects that have been found to be essential to support innovative thinking and developments:

  • the central role of young people as contributors and target groups of innovation,
  • how to support a “culture of innovation”, i.e. the ‘cultural factors’ and conditions within an organisation that foster innovative thinking and the development of innovative youth work practices,
  • the way youth work connects with larger trends and is supported by the wider environment, which plays an important role in fostering or hindering innovations,
  • last but not least, digitalization and the potential consequences of this development on the core of youth work, its principles and values.

How to make youth work future-fit? This is also an important topic from the perspective of education and training of youth workers. Here, the EAYW will also pick up on recent developments within the European Training Strategy.

Attached, you can find the draft programme overview and the list of contributors of innovative practices who will share their experiences, perspectives and practice examples during the Practice & Reflection Forums.

Profile of participants

The EAYW targets experienced youth workers, paid and/or volunteers, and representatives of NGOs, as well as professionals in areas with relevance for the youth sector, such as: representatives of youth work policies and public services, National Agencies and other youth work structures, trainers and educators in the field of youth work (education) and other professionals from related fields of science and research.

Participants should have a keen interest in learning about and contributing to new and innovative initiatives and developments, in order to further develop youth work or frameworks for youth work in their own context.

[1] National Agencies of Austria, Belgium-FL, Cyprus, Estonia, Germany, Italy, Lithuania, The Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia and Sweden

[2] Final Declaration of the 3rd European Youth Work Convention, Signposts for the Future (Bonn, 10 December 2020)

Available downloads: Draft programme and contributions, 18.2.2022.docx.pdf

More information at: SALTO