FSD3519 Future of Youth Work 2030: Survey 2020

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  • HUMAK University of Applied Sciences
  • Hakoluoto, Tanja (HUMAK University of Applied Sciences)


adolescents, development, future society, social services, youth, youth clubs, youth organizations, youth work, youth workers


The study surveyed youth work professionals on their views on the future of youth work and the needs of the field in Finland in 2030. The survey is part of the research project Tulevaisuuden nuorisotyön tekijät, paikat ja ympäristöt ("Workers, Places and Environments in the Future of Youth Work"). The data were produced by a network of partners: Tampere University, the University of Eastern Finland, the University of Applied Sciences, Centria University of Applied Sciences, Diakonia University of Applied Sciences, and the South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences. The South Ostrobothnia Folk High School, Church Council, the Centre of Expertise for Municipal Youth Work Kanuuna, the Finnish National Youth Council Allianssi, and the Finnish Youth Research Society were also involved in the study. The study was funded by the Ministry of Education and Culture.

First, the respondents were asked to describe their current sector of employment within the field of youth work (e.g. digital youth work, outreach youth work, youth camps, youth clubs) and their views on which sectors of youth work will grow in importance in the future. The topics of work environments and youth work professionals in the future were examined with questions on who the respondents thought they would work in collaboration with (e.g. members of their own team, a national youth work network, teachers and other school staff, social workers, the police) as youth work professionals in 2030, and what kind of work environments they thought they would have (e.g. online spaces, public spaces favoured by youth, schools, libraries). The survey also included open-ended questions on what kind of digital work environments would be used for youth work in the future, and what other work environments and locations would be important for youth work in the future.

On the topic of societal change, the respondents assessed statements from Sitra's Megatrends 2020 publication in relation to their impact on youth work in 2030. These statements included, for example, "Mental health problems increase, especially among young people, due to factors such as climate anxiety, a competitive society and the information overload brought about by digitalisation.”, "Global migration increases due to changes in working life, urbanisation, conflict, and environmental change. Immigration to Finland may also increase.”, and "Income inequality has not changed much, but wealth inequality and perceived inequality have increased. As the middle class shrinks, the divide between the rich and poor becomes more pronounced." The respondents could also describe any other societal changes or future trends they felt would be significant or beneficial to youth work in an open-ended question.

Next, the respondents assessed what the significance of the objectives set for youth work in the Youth Act would be in the future of youth work. These objectives included, for example, removing obstacles in access to education and employment, promoting equality between young people, promoting active citizenship, and preventing social exclusion and promoting social empowerment. The respondents could also describe any objectives that they felt would be especially important for youth work in 2030 in an open-ended question. Views on the challenges (e.g. young people who live in less populated localities will have reduced opportunities to participate, the lack of clarity about the objectives of youth work and its low profile in society are a threat to the future of youth work, inability to measure the effectiveness of youth work) that the field of youth work would face in the future were investigated. The respondents were also asked which aspects of youth work (e.g. youth work that prevents social exclusion, the professional competences of youth workers, promoting a sense of community, promoting the mental well-being of youth) would be highly appreciated in 2030.

The importance of different skills (e.g. collaboration and networking skills, crisis and trauma work skills, project work and process-related skills, digital skills) and competences (e.g. youth policy, media education, pedagogical competences) in future youth work were also charted. The respondents could also describe the competences and skills they thought would be required in the field of youth work in 2030 in an open-ended question.

Background variables included the respondent's gender, highest level of education achieved, years of work experience in the youth work field, sector of employment, location of workplace (regions NUTS3), population of the workplace location, and age group of young people the respondent works with. In addition to this quantitative dataset, a qualitative dataset (FSD3520 Future of Youth Work 2030: Group Interviews 2020) that was produced as part of the research project has also been archived at FSD.

Study description in machine readable DDI-C 2.5 format

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