The emergence of digital media have changed the way and the intensity with which young people live, communicate, learn, work, and relax. Due to this widespread diffusion, it is often wrongly assumed that every young person uses digital media in a competent way or will gradually learn it. We need to provide young people with a key set of competences for personal wellbeing in this digitised society. We aim for happy young people who are able to develop themselves further, connect with others and participate in society through digital media. The latter will also enable them to transform the society they live in.

We noticed that in the field of youth work there is a need to have a common reference framework of what it means to be digitally savvy in an increasingly digitized world. This will help to raise the quality of youth work and training in the field of media education. The European media literacy standard for youth workers (EMELS), offers youth workers a tool to improve young people’s media literacy. It can be used in different settings: youth-led organisations, organisations for youth, informal groups or youth services and public authorities.

EMELS was co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union as a strategic partnership project of: Fundacja Nowoczesna Polska from Poland, JFF from Germany, Centro Zaffiria from Italy, Karpos from Greece, Ariel Trust from the UK and Imec and Evens Foundation from Belgium.

The EMELS Standard

The EMELS Standard describes media literacy as a process of preparing individuals – in this case youth workers and young people – for competent use and understanding of digital media. In the standard this falls down into 5 areas of digital competence (Information and data, Media creation and communication, Resistance and Empowerment, Understanding media usage of children and young people,Training skills and development) and 16 competences, followed by practical examples of knowledge, skills and attitudes. The competences are also complemented by best practices and training resources.

What can the EMELS Standard do for you as a youth worker?

This competence framework contributes to the ongoing discussion on the understanding and development of young people’s digital competences. The standard supports digital skills initiatives in youth work with a view to ultimately increase the digital skills capacity of young people in general. Thus enabling more young people to participate more deeply in our digital society. The standard as such can be used by youth workers to:

  1. Self-evaluate the level of digital competences
  2. Assess the digital competences of others
  3. Set learning goals and identify training opportunities
  4. Organise and plan (digital) youth work activities

Guideline on its adoption

Although the standard benefited from the opinions and feedback of a variety of stakeholders, its applicability has not yet been tested. It is therefore likely that once applied in a real youth work context, the different areas and competences will be subject to change. And it must! Because the starting and ending points are not set in stone. Decide as a youth worker which competences already exist in your target group of young people and which are missing or wanted. This will enable you to achieve your mission and goals effectively and efficiently.

Do you wish to know more about the making-of process of the EMELS standard? Read more about it on Questions or remarks? Get in touch with us by e-mail!