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What is the Youth Service?

The Youth Service makes a positive contribution to education, employability and life skills for young people. It is voluntary and can help them engage positively as active members of their own communities and provides a valuable link to education and training particularly for those who are the most disadvantaged in society.

Youth policy

The Priorities for Youth Policy provides the framework for future delivery of youth service provision across Northern Ireland. The policy aims to:

  • contribute to raising standards for all and closing the performance gap between the highest and lowest achieving young people by providing access to enjoyable, non-formal learning opportunities that help them to develop enhanced social and cognitive skills and overcome barriers to learning
  • continue to improve the non-formal learning environment by creating inclusive, participative settings in which the voice and influence of young people are championed, supported and evident in the design, delivery and evaluation of programmes

Make-up of the Youth Service

The Youth Service is made up of a voluntary sector and a statutory sector.

  • statutory sector is under the control of the Education Authority (EA) and consists of a number of youth centres/clubs and outdoor education centres
  • voluntary sector is by far the larger sector and is composed of a diverse range of organisations both uniformed and non-uniformed operating at local and regional level

Benefits of the Youth Service

Throughout Northern Ireland there are approximately 148,000 young people who use the Youth Service and who benefit greatly from the various programmes.

Not only are friendships cemented and forged but there are real opportunities to develop socially, morally, physically and intellectually through participation in challenging, dynamic and stimulating programmes.

Just as the programmes vary so do the locations where young people meet. Young people can be engaged on the streets, in community centres, youth centres, schools, church halls, on boats, mountains or even underground.

Contact the Education Authority in your region for the youth services in your area.

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