Our Purpose

The need

Young people – all young people – deserve a productive, fulfilling future.

Society needs the spark and energy of young people to make it tick.

Yet somehow thousands of young people feel blocked by the complex, sometimes disheartening challenges the modern world throws at them.

And, for their part, businesses, health bodies, the police, the media often find it hard to value and connect with young people.

There’s a waste of human potential going on that urgently needs to be reversed.


Where we fit in

Educators, policy makers and employers all have crucial roles to play here. But there’s another dimension that simply isn’t getting enough attention.

We need to get serious about youth work, the science of enabling young people to believe in themselves and to prepare for life.

Youth work focuses on working holistically with young people. It’s about building resilience and character and giving young people the life skills (often totally misleadingly described as “soft”) they need to live, learn, work and interact successfully with other people.

The National Youth Agency is the national body for this important, under-recognised discipline. We have taken the lead in championing it for fifty years. But as the choices and challenges facing young people get more demanding and the public funding to support them diminishes, our mission gets more urgent every day.

It’s time to ramp up youth work and find better, more inventive ways to empower more young people.


And how we do it…

Our starting point will be –as it has always been –our steadfast belief in young people and their potential to shape the world, no matter what society puts in their way. Our plan then has three key elements…

Championing youth work in all its many forms –showcasing great practice, incubating new approaches, celebrating its many thousands of practitioners and winning more understanding of the value and depth of the discipline among policy-makers, educators and employers.

Professionalising youth work –training youth workers, setting occupational standards, offering accreditation for professional development and constantly researching, innovating and improving the methodologies and practice of youth work in all its forms

Enabling youth work –making it happen through our networks of front line youth work providers, our deep experience of managing complex projects and through innovative tie-ups and funding arrangements with imaginative commercial and public sector partners.


National Youth Agency

Prepare for life