The Estonian Youth Work Centre’s study (2018) examined the role of youth worker and youth workers’ understanding of their own tasks and the effects of their activity on young people. It identified that, in 2017, in relation to the occupational standard:

  • almost nine in ten youth work leaders and eight out of ten youth workers were aware of the youth worker occupational standard.
  • however, less than one in five youth workers and around a quarter of youth work leaders have assessed and recognised the youth worker’s occupational competence, based on the occupational standard:

and in relation to education and training: 

  • almost one in six youth workers and youth work managers had no special preparation (education) or assessment in accordance with occupational standards in the youth field; and
  • just over half of youth workers take part in some training course at least three times a year (Käger et al., 2018).

Based on the youth workers’ own perceptions, Nugin and Taru (2016) concluded that preparing youth workers and youth work organisers has created a common identity, which met the documented youth work regulations. They suggested continuing to offer youth work education and organising the additional training for youth workers with the same aims and activities as before (Nugin and Taru, 2016, p. 23). An ESF funded programme under the Youth Work Strategy, Improving the Quality of Youth Work, aimed to further improve quality (Dunne et al., 2014). Despite the strengths, an interviewee for this study reported that societal expectations for graduate youth workers were perhaps too high, as there was an expectation that they could do everything, and that this has made it difficult to develop the youth work curriculum further.