As outlined in table 3, although the definitions and aspirations of youth work outlined in table 1 are often inclusive or universal, in Ireland and Wales in particular, youth work in practice  has become increasingly issue-based and targeted at particular groups, such as young people not in employment, education or training (those who are routinely described as “NEET”) or seen as “at risk” and who need additional support. As section 4 outlines, this practice helps determine the competences that youth workers are considered to need. As table 3 outlines, the balance between paid and volunteer youth workers and between state and non-governmental sector provision  also differs markedly, from the mixed economies of Estonia and Wales, with both state and non-governmental sector provision, to the greater reliance upon non-governmental (voluntary) sector provision in Ireland and North Macedonia.   

Table 3. Socio-political context: Which groups of young people and issues are prioritised by government? And how and where is youth work practised?