The Council of Europe Youth Work Portfolio is a tool to help those doing youth work to assess and further develop their youth work competence and that of the people under their supervision. It was developed by the Council of Europe in cooperation with experts and partners such as the European Commission and the European Youth Forum between 2004 and 2009. The revised version of the European Portfolio of the Council or Europe was presented during the Youth Work Convention 2015 by Laurence Hermand, Director of Bureau International Jeunesse and Chair of the European Steering Group for Youth, and Mara Georgescu, Educational Avisor, Youth Department of the Council of Europe. (Brussels, 2015) The revised Council of Europe Youth Work Portfolio is an online tool that helps youth workers, youth leaders and youth organisations across Europe to understand their youth work competences and to develop them more effectively. It can also be used by others who are interested in quality development and recognition of youth work. The tool has great political relevance for the recognition of youth work in Europe.
The Portfolio contains the following 4 parts (chapters) as described by Markovic & Paddison(2014):
Chapter 1 is entitled ‘Context’ and it defines who this self-assessment tool is for. In addition to that, it provides a definition of youth work, informed by history and experience, as the basis for understanding the kind of competence that shall be assessed using the tool.
Chapter 2 is called ‘Guidance’ and describes the information and instructions users need for using it. It outlines instructions on how to make a self-assessment, a team assessment, or an organisational assessment of youth work competence and how to make a ‘development and learning plan’.
Chapter 3 is named ‘Tool’ and provides the assessment infrastructure users need for making an assessment and developing a ‘development and learning plan’.
Chapter 4 is called ‘Further information’ and contains background on the development of the European Youth Work Portfolio, its European context, a section with useful information and references, a glossary and acknowledgements. In comparison to the initial version of the Portfolio which was a paperbased tool, the new version will be a fully online tool.
The Portfolio includes the following functions and the users are assessed based on them:
- Address the needs and aspirations of young people
- Provide learning opportunities for young people
- Support and empower young people in making sense of the society they live in and in engaging with it
- Support young people in actively and constructively addressing intercultural relations
- Actively practise evaluation to improve the quality of the youth work conducted
- Support collective learning in the youth workers’ team
- Contribute to the development of their organisation and to making policies / programmes work better for young people
- Develop, conduct and evaluate projects
Each function is divided into competences and the users need to answer the following questions for each competence:
- Rate their competence in a scale from “Not relevant at all” to “Highly relevant”
- Why? Please explain the profile of your youth work by providing examples why this competence is / is not relevant.
- How competent do you consider yourself in this competence? (Here users need to choose from a scale “Not competent at all” to “Highly competent”)
- Describe your competence here, including examples of how you demonstrate this competence in your youth work. You can include previous learning experiences that developed your competence and examples of youth work where you make use of this competence.
- If there is anything more you would like to learn related to this competence, please insert the main points you would like to improve on below. If you insert something here, this will be automatically included in your learning and development plan.
Apart from undertaking the self-assessment tool, the users have the chance also to implement a Learning and Development Plan, again through a particular series of questions. Any information provided by the users in both of the tools, can be later on revised.