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Due to the coronavirus pandemic the Youth Work Excellence  Awards ceremony will now take place online on 9 October 2020 at 3.00pm.

The Youth Work Excellence Awards are an opportunity to recognise and celebrate outstanding youth work projects, youth workers and those involved in youth work across Wales. 

Youth Work in Wales: Principles and Purposes’ sets out the key principles which underpin youth work in Wales. We would expect all nominations to reference this document and to reflect on how their nominee is demonstrating excellence against the five pillars of youth work. 

The 2020 Award categories have been aligned to the strategic priorities of the new Youth Work Strategy for Wales. The Strategy, launched in June 2019, set out a series of high-level principles and collaborative actions to improve youth work provision and our offer to young people. The Strategy is supported by an Implementation document which is time bound to the lifetime of the Interim Youth Work Board.

The new Award categories have been developed in close collaboration with the Youth Work Marketing Group. We expect 2020 to be a transitional year as the sector collectively gathers evidence and pilots new approaches to developing a sustainable model for youth work in Wales. The Award categories reflect this transitional period and demonstrate our commitment to celebrate the rich diversity of youth work in Wales, recognising that outstanding youth work is provided through both the voluntary and local authority sectors and through a variety of youth work settings and methods. 

Each youth work organisation or Local Authority Youth Service can submit no more than one nomination in each of the categories and no more than three nominations across all categories. 

All nominations must be for work which has taken place between January 2019 and December 2019.


1 - Incorporating a Children’s Rights approach in a youth work setting

Young People are thriving. Projects or services that demonstrate excellence in delivering a children’s rights approach, rooted in the UNCRC, ensuring their youth work policy and delivery: 

  • embeds children’s rights 
  • ensures equality and non-discrimination 
  • empowers children and young people 
  • supports their participation 
  • establishes accountability

2 - Welsh Language Youth Work Award

Youth Work is Accessible and Inclusive. Projects or services that evidence excellent youth work practice and impact for young people through the medium of Welsh.

3 - Digital Innovation Award 

Youth Work is Accessible and Inclusive. Projects or services that evidence excellent youth work practice and impact for young people using digital technology.

4 - Equality and Diversity in a youth work setting

Youth Work is Accessible and Inclusive. Projects or services that demonstrate excellence in ensuring youth work opportunities are accessible and inclusive i.e. giving important consideration to issues such as location of services, but also accessible and inclusive in a wider sense to all young people. Eligible projects will therefore reflect the range of diverse backgrounds, identities, experiences, and needs of young people in Wales/their communities, proactively remove barriers to engagement and participation, ensuring they are accessible to all, and particularly to those young people who may have experience of isolation, marginalisation, exploitation, or discrimination, including those with a protected characteristic.

5 - Developing Self and Others in a youth work setting

Voluntary and paid professional youth work staff are supported throughout their careers to improve their practice. An individual, team or organisation that has demonstrated excellence in developing the youth work skills, knowledge and expertise of themselves and others. To be successful in this award, we would expect nominees to be:

  • Demonstrating excellence in inspiring teams and building workforce capacity
  • Promoting a culture of improvement through reflective practice and self-evaluation
  • Providing innovative solutions to meet the challenge of change

6 - Demonstrating excellence in Partnership Planning and delivery

Youth Work is Valued and Understood. Projects or services that demonstrate excellence in working with a wide range of partners; maximising skills, knowledge and expertise to deliver a holistic, united youth work offer to young people.  

7 - Outstanding Contribution to youth work

Youth Work is Valued and Understood. An individual who has not only made an impact to the field of youth work and young people, but championed it beyond the sector so that more people understand the positive power and impact of youth work

8 - Outstanding youth worker

Awarded to an individual who has provided outstanding youth work and had an exceptional impact on the lives of young people 

Please note: For 2020, we are asking all nominations to include information on whether they are registered with the Educational Workforce Council. In this transitional year, we will not be using this information as part of the scoring process. As part of the implementation of the strategy, a group has been convened to look at Workforce Development issues. This group will develop, publish and implement a Workforce Development Plan and will consider the future role of registration in professionalising and supporting voluntary and paid professional youth work staff in Wales.     

9 - Outstanding volunteer in a youth work setting

Awarded to a volunteer who has made an exceptional contribution to the youth work sector in Wales.    

Useful dates

  1. Please submit your nomination by 28 February 2020.
  2. Finalists will be announced on 2 October 2020. 
  3. Awards Ceremony Friday 9 October 2020.

How are the nominations shortlisted?

All nominations will be assessed by a panel of judges made up of young people and representatives from the youth work sector in Wales.  

Welsh Government staff will co-ordinate the process and ensure that judging teams maintain fairness throughout. 

Judging criteria

The judging panel will score against the following criteria:

  • Relevance to the category 
  • Clear evidence of a youth work approach with reference to the five pillars of youth work as set out in ‘Youth Work in Wales: Principles and Purposes’  
  • Impact – making a positive difference to the lives of young people, the community, the youth work workforce
  • Excellence – consistently demonstrating high standards and outstanding quality of practice

Privacy notice

In accordance with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), this privacy notice sets out what the Welsh Government does with the personal information that you submit in relation to the Youth Work Excellence Awards.

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