Process and network
The main concerns of Austrian youth policy are ensuring the well-being of young people and providing them with opportunities for the future. The Austrian Youth Strategy of the Federal Chancellery is therefore developing a scheme for all of Austria that pools knowledge in the field of youth policy.
The main focus of this strategy is on the 14- to 24-year-old age group, though the youth strategy extends further to encompass young people under 30 years of age. Policies and measures for these groups should be collected, systematised and optimised for maximum effectiveness. At the same time, the Youth Strategy should identify new fields of action and cooperation.
A core criterion of the Youth Strategy is the active inclusion of young people. This is facilitated indirectly through the continual involvement of the Austrian National Youth Council as well as additional national networks for open youth work, youth information and the national agency Erasmus+: Youth in Action. The Youth Strategy is also based on research and surveys. Using specific methods such as focus groups, the needs and concerns of young people can flow directly into the Youth Strategy development process.
Youth Competence Centre
The operating unit for the Youth Strategy is the Youth Competence Centre in the Federal Chancellery. It coordinates key activities, offers knowledge and skills, and establishes contact with experts. The goal of the Centre is to develop a stable network between a diverse group of youth policy stakeholders. The political responsibility for the implementation is however still the province of the individual government departments and institutions.
A development group was established to guide the Youth Strategy in its efforts to integrate the Youth Council and extracurricular youth work and maintain the expertise and support of these organisations.
The Youth Strategy development group meets monthly and is comprised of
- the National Youth Council,
- the Centre of Competence for Open Youth work in Austria,
- the Austrian Youth Information Centres,
- the National Correspondent to the European research network,
- the National agency Erasmus+: Youth in Action and
- Employees of the Youth Policy Department and the Youth Competence Centre in the Federal Chancellery.
The development group discusses policy focuses for the Youth Strategy. Based on this core group and the impulses it creates, working groups and round tables with additional stakeholders on specific topics are organised.
A further instrument of the Youth Strategy is the Youth Screening initiative. It draws attention to the concerns of young people in all areas of politics and the bureaucracy. Within the different administrative departments, the “Knowledge – Transparency – Latitude” process provides for stable structures. A summary of the KTL model is as follows:
- Providing knowledge about the situation, needs and diversity of the target group (young people) as well as about important youth policy stakeholders at the various levels.
- Providing transparency about important youth policy measures, activities and services of the individual administrative departments as the necessary foundation for youth policy coordination efforts.
- Engendering innovative and creative cooperation between elected officials, government agencies, young people and other stakeholders give everyone involved a new kind of latitude.
The Youth Competence Centre supports administrative departments as they make use of this process.