Skip to main content

The Youth Work Excellence Awards are an opportunity to recognise and celebrate outstanding youth work practice in Wales.

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


The Youth Work Excellence Awards are relevant for individual youth workers, youth work support workers, volunteers, managers, projects or groups for work that is delivered in youth work settings or in other settings using a youth work approach.

The 2021 award categories are aligned with the strategic priorities of the Youth Work Strategy for Wales and aim to celebrate the rich diversity of youth work in Wales, recognising that outstanding youth work is provided through both the voluntary sector and local authorities,  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.

Please only apply once for the same project. Careful consideration should be given to which category best suits the nomination.

All nominations must be for work which has taken place between January 2020 and December 2020.  

1. Demonstrating excellence in Partnership Planning and delivery

1a. Demonstrating excellence at a local level

1b. Demonstrating excellence at a national level.

This award recognises 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

2. Digital Innovation Award

This award recognises projects or services that have used digital technology or social media in an innovative way within their youth work practice. The award recognises excellent youth work practice and impact for young people as a result of digital innovation.

During 2020 there has been a significant acceleration in the adoption of digital practices across the youth work sector. This award is in recognition of new and innovative developments for organisations and teams for whom a digital presence is part of their core function; or successful adaptation, for organisations or teams that have pivoted their approach to make best use of the new digital opportunities available.

3. Equality and Diversity in a youth work setting

The award recognises 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. They will demonstrate how they 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.

4. Leadership Award

This award recognises exemplary leaders in a youth work setting who have positively impacted the lives of young people and inspired and motivated others to do the same. This award is not restricted to those who hold formal positions of authority - we explicitly recognise that leadership occurs at all levels in an organisation.

We would expect evidence of excellence in inspiring teams, promoting a culture of improvement through reflective practice and self-evaluation and providing innovative solutions to meet the challenge of change.

5. Outstanding Contribution to youth work during the pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic continues to have a huge impact on young people and those that support them. Youth work services were quick to adapt and have been at the forefront of supporting the wider emergency response. This award recognises a group, project or service that has made an exceptional contribution to providing continued support to young people during these exceptionally challenging circumstances.

6. Outstanding youth worker   

This award recognises  an individual who has provided outstanding youth work and had an exceptional impact on the lives of young people

We are asking all nominations to include information on whether they are registered with the Educational Workforce Council. We will not be using this information as part of the scoring process.

7. Outstanding volunteer in a youth work setting 

Awarded to a volunteer who has made an exceptional contribution to the youth work sector in Wales.  Please note that this award in not intended for youth work students on placement unless the student is delivering over and above their placement hours.   

8. Welsh Language Youth Work Award

This award recognises projects or services that evidence excellent youth work practice and impact for young people through the medium of Welsh.  Judges will look for evidence of innovation in welsh language provision of youth work services.

9. Youth Work Champion(s) Award

This award recognises an individual, group, project or service that demonstrates a belief in the importance of youth work services and a commitment to challenging others to step up, make a difference and help change and improve the lives of young people. We would expect evidence that an individual had 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

Useful dates

  1. Please submit your nomination by 29 July 2021.
  2. Finalists will be announced in November. 
  3. Awards Ceremony 9 December 2021.

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.

Please direct all queries to