The initiative will improve the impact and relevance of thousands of youth workers by expanding access to CYP education and training programmes and professionalizing youth work practitioners.
An integral part of the process is the creation of pan-Commonwealth standards that will guide components of the training programmes such as: promoting entrepreneurship among young people; developing parenting skills; planning and implementing peace initiatives; working with youths with behavioural problems; implementing community youth development programmes; and working in ways to promote equality of opportunity.
DPBA head, Paulette Dunn-Pierre provided technical assistance to the CYP’s regional centre in the creation of youth development work competency standards. She presented the standards of best practices and the qualifications framework to the assembly of youth workers, youth leaders, academics and CYP staff representatives at the recently concluded technical meeting at the Commonwealth Secretariat in London.
“The standards were overwhelmingly endorsed by all the four CYP regions. The next step is for the promulgation of the standards across the Commonwealth. This is a key step to professionalizing youth work and increasing the number of highly skilled youth workers,” Dunn-Pierre said.
CYP regional offices are located in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and the Pacific. Their work reflects the priority being placed on youth by the Commonwealth Secretariat. Young people, under the age of 30 make up 60 percent of the collective population of the 53 member states.
Other initiatives include the formation of a Professional Association for Commonwealth Youth workers; increased research into youth work via an enhanced Commonwealth youth development journal; and expanding access to training in youth work. A CYP diploma is currently offered in 45 commonwealth countries; however, plans are in place to also offer the programme online.
“Opportunities now exist for youth development practitioners to access training programmes in youth work offered at the levels of certificates, diplomas, undergraduate and graduate degree courses. Within the Caribbean, CYP is partnering with the University of the West Indies to develop the curricula for the programmes to be offered at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Other regions are undertaking similar partnerships,” Dunn-Pierre said.
Dunn-Pierre, an expert on accreditation and certification for technical vocational education and training (TVET), has in the past served as president of the Association of Commonwealth Examination and Accreditation Bodies (ACEAB), an arm of the Commonwealth Secretariat in London.
The CYP is a channel for young men and women between the ages of 15-29 to partner with governments and other key stakeholders to: “work towards a society where young men and women are empowered to develop their potential, creativity and skills as productive and dynamic members of their societies and participate fully at every level of decision-making and development, both individually and collectively, promoting Commonwealth values of international co-operation.”