A youth policy, also known as a youth development policy or strategy, is usually a holistic, positive, non-political policy document that sets out a government’s long-term investment priorities and goals related to youth.
Based on a survey of youth development policies around the world, including the United Kingdom, Sweden, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Mongolia and Macau (SAR of China), it is found that youth development policies commonly contain these elements: an overarching vision, an analysis of the current situation of youth backed by statistics, a review of existing measures pertaining to youth, stakeholders’ views and future policy directions.
Of course, there is no single approach to youth development. Some countries are more paternalistic in their views of young people (that young people must be protected and/or taken care of), or fragmented in their policy measures (the laundry list approach), or both.
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Recognise youth diversity as of right
Pathways into education, work and training are flexible to cater for different needs and learning styles
Respect the situation of each young person
Diversify pathways into education and career
Promote vocational training and continued professional development
The policy was developed by 9 government departments and presents a shared vision across the interests of these departments
Adopt an overall “youth perspective”
The “whole person whole life” perspective sees each area of young people’s lives as having an impact on others
Strong emphasis on partnerships among stakeholders
Policies by specific areas of need, including health, education, employment and welfare
Policies by specific areas of need, including welfare, safety, health, and education
Vision includes balanced and holistic youth development
Underscore youth’s potential of making positive contributions to the society (not their problems)
Support young people’s independence
Shift collective thinking about young people from a problem based to a strengths based approach
Develop skills that youth need and give them opportunities to contribute to their environments
Focused on protection against harms and risks (e.g., of delinquency)
Preventing delinquency and illegal behavior is a key objective
Provide opportunities in education, for personal and social development
Provide real access to influence over everyday lives
Equip young people to shape their futures through education
Equip young people with the skills and personal networks for employment
Give young people access to a range of development opportunities such that they can influence their lives through choices and skills
Heavy emphasis on counseling
Improve access to healthcare, quality education, and professional training; while at the same time, expanding social services
Improve mobility through training and skills development, while at the same time enhancing access to information and opportunities
Heavy emphasis on counselling, especially on career and life planning and delinquency prevention