The NYA is the leading national charity for youth work and was created in 1964 to act as the national body for the youth work profession. Since 2010 the NYA has received no state funding to support our sector development work.

The NYA has three strategic objectives which explain the scope of our work:

  1. Create opportunities for young people
  2. Developing a skilled and effective youth sector workforce
  3. Influencing practice [youth work] through policy and research

Our place in the system

We are very serious about youth work, the science of enabling young people to believe in themselves and to prepare for life. Educators, policy makers and employers all have crucial roles to play here.

Youth work focuses on working holistically with young people. It’s about building resilience and character and giving young people the life skills (often totally misleadingly described as “soft”) they need to live, learn, work and interact successfully with other people (see our definitions of youth work).

The National Youth Agency is the national body for this important, under-recognised discipline. We have taken the lead in championing it for fifty years. But as the choices and challenges facing young people get more demanding and the public funding to support them diminishes, our mission gets more urgent every day.

It’s time to ramp up youth work and find better, more inventive ways to empower more young people.

And how we do it…

Our starting point will be – as it has always been – our steadfast belief in young people and their potential to shape the world, no matter what society puts in their way. Our plan then has three key elements…

Championing youth work in all its many forms –showcasing great practice, incubating new approaches, celebrating its many thousands of practitioners and winning more understanding of the value and depth of the discipline among policy-makers, educators and employers.

Professionalising youth work –training youth workers, setting occupational standards, offering accreditation for professional development and constantly researching, innovating and improving the methodologies and practice of youth work in all its forms

Enabling youth work –making it happen through our networks of front line youth work providers, our deep experience of managing complex projects and through innovative tie-ups and funding arrangements with imaginative commercial and public sector partners.


Find out more about youth work.

Read more on our purpose.


We are proud to work in partnership with the National Youth Agency to deliver a compelling, high quality, innovative youth programme
Ronan Dunne, former CEO, Telefonica UK (O2)


🚨3 days left! 🚨

We can't wait to see how you all celebrate the amazing impact of youth work this year! Find out how to support the campaign on social media here, and don’t forget to get signed up to the daily youth work webinars!

🚨 Just Published! 🚨

Click here to read our latest Guidance for Local Authorities on Providing Youth Services!

The new updated guidance supports local authorities in their statutory duty to secure local services.


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