The National Youth Agency (NYA)-backed Institute will enable members to network, develop best practice and keep abreast of policy developments through the website.
There are four levels of membership – volunteer, student, a "member" level for those working with young people without a formal qualification, and a "certified" level open to professionally qualified youth workers – with fees ranging from £10 to £40.
Youth workers who join the IYW will be required to join up to the body's code of ethics, which asks members to ensure the privacy and safety of the young people they work with.
Several organisations, including the Scouts, De Montford University and the NYA itself, have already signed up as "organisational supporters". They pay £1,000 a year in return for a 50 per cent membership discount for their members, employees and volunteers.
The NYA will continue to provide support until it becomes self-resourcing through membership.
Garath Symonds, chair of the National Youth Agency’s education and training committee, which oversaw the development of the website, announced the long awaited launch.
He said: “It’s taken many years to get to this point, and launching the IYW is the culmination of a lot of discussion, negotiation, consultation and hard work on behalf of many individuals across the youth sector.
“What we have, as a result, is a unique organisation that can unite all youth workers from across all sectors and at all levels of experience. The IYW is a central hub for youth workers to share information, good practice, to network, discuss areas of mutual interest and improve their knowledge and skills.”
More than 500 people expressed their interest in the IYW before its launch, which Symonds said puts it in “an excellent position to provide a collective voice” for youth workers.
It is hoped the institute will help to increase the profile of youth work among the public and politicians. Speaking exclusively to CYP Now, civil society minister Nick Hurd said he was a “strong believer” in the power of the youth work role.
He said: “If you draw down into how youth work works so brilliantly, talk about what makes a difference, it is always down to people – team leaders, young leaders – and what they do is extraordinary in terms of change.
“I have been hugely impressed with the youth workers I have met. They are very committed.”
The Institute for Youth Work will appoint its own committee at the end of its first year of work.
Membership fees range from £10 for volunteers to £40 for certified members.- See more at: http://www.cypnow.co.uk/cyp/news/1078213/scouts-sign-institute-youth-work#sthash.8wmPtOyR.dpuf