Parliament debates act regulating youth work

Government launches act outlining qualifications and conditions which will allow students who graduated in Youth Studies obtain a warrant.

The Youth Work Professional Act was this evening presented before Parliament with the intent of granting Youth Studies graduates a warrant.

Parliamentary Secretary for Research, Innovation, Youth and Sport, Stefan Buontempo, pointed out that the act was being introduced 19 years after the Institute for Youth Studies was established in 1993.

Buontempo who opened the debate of the act's second reading underlined the importance of regulating the profession.

"Never before has there been a government committed to strengthen youth work and help young people in their development. It is our duty to give all young people the opportunities to succeed in life," he said.

The act outlines the qualifications and conditions through which students who graduated in Youth Studies, can obtain a warrant.

The law was one of Labour's electoral promises and Buontempo said that the introduction of the act demonstrates the lack of vision of previous Nationalist administrations.

He said that although the act was originally presented in 2012, it was a shame that the profession was left unregulated for such a long time.

"Upon my appointment as Parliamentary Secretary responsible for Youths, I kicked off the process which should lead to the regulation of the sector and establish benchmarks, to ensure that the service will be consistent and follows the necessary practices," Buontempo said.

He stressed that the need for a new national youth policy is both "opportune and pressing."

"The Government is convinced that a new national youth policy needs to be inclusive: one allowing all young people and those that work for and with them to shape and claim ownership of. The policy needs to be built on past achievements and good practices and take due account of youth policy developments and implementation at European and international level," Bountempo said.

The parliamentary secretary said that the Labour Party always believed in young people and placed them on solid foundations upon which today's society depends.

Listing measures introduced along the years, Bountempos said that these  contributed to the elimination of poverty in Malta.

"Granting the vote to 18-year-olds, among other initiatives, was an indication of Labour's belief in youths," he said.  

Buontempo went on to mention the initiatives that the current government intends to implement in this sector.

He added that act is part of wide ranging initiatives aimed at empowering  young people in building a solid future through acquired skills that would enable them to face the challenges and opportunities of a globalised world.

The initiative being undertaken by government, Bountempo said, including granting 16-year-olds the right to vote in local elections and other schemes such as the professionalisation of youth work, complement and take account of developments at a European level.

"The renewed framework for European cooperation in the youth field (2010-2018) is now at its mid-point and there is a focus at present on how the framework should evolve over the duration. The new financial support framework Erasmus + will focus on such issues as mobility, innovation and good practice, and policy reform over the next seven years," he said.