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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 2023 award categories are aligned with the strategic priorities of 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 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.

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 September 2022 and September 2023. 

Demonstrating excellence in partnership planning and delivery (2 awards)

  • Demonstrating excellence at a local level

  • Demonstrating excellence at a regional or national level. (Projects that cross local authority boundaries)

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, whilst championing Youth Work beyond the sector so that more people understand the positive power and impact of youth work.

Digital innovation

In the last few years there has been a significant acceleration in the adoption of digital practices across the Youth Work sector. This award recognises excellent Youth Work practice and impact for young people as a result of digital innovation.

This may include new and innovative developments for organisations and teams for whom a digital presence is part of their core function; as well as successful adaptation, for organisations or teams that have pivoted their approach to make best use of new digital opportunities available.

Equality and Diversity in a youth work setting

This 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.


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.

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, however, we will not be using this information as part of the scoring process.

Outstanding volunteer in a youth work setting 

This award recognises 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.   

Rising star

This award recognises individuals who are new to the profession but show early promise and potential. To be eligible for this category, applicants need to have been employed in Youth Work in a paid capacity for less than 2 years.

Welsh language innovation

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, in particular where organisations have introduced creative approaches or projects.

Useful dates

Open for entries

27 June 2023

Closing date for nominations

29 September 2023

Finalists announced 

November / December 2023

Awards ceremony 

February / March 2024 (Date to be confirmed)

How are the nominations shortlisted?

All nominations will be assessed by a panel of judges made up of young people and representatives from across 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

Please direct all queries to

Top tips for making a nomination

Here are five top tips from our judges to make your entry stand out.

Tip #1: Choose wisely!

There are lots of different award categories you can enter. Make sure that you take time to match your entry to the most relevant category.

Tip #2: Give detailed examples

Answer all questions carefully and make sure you give relevant examples to support your responses.

Tip #3: Provide evidence

Add some data and evidence to support your entry - this really helps to demonstrate the impact of your project.

Tip #4: Going the extra mile

Remember, excellence is going that extra mile. Make sure that you tell us when people have gone above and beyond what is expected of them in their job.

Tip #5: Youth voices are powerful

Include plenty of feedback from young people – in their own voices. This is really powerful and can really help bring your submission to life.

Good luck!

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