YouthProAktiv SPAIN organized another successful training in Madrid, Spain, from the 5th to 10th of June 2022 on the topic “Employing European Youth Through Non-Formal Education: Erasmus+ mobilities for the activation of NEETs”.
This training was proposed, planned and implemented with the aim of enhancing the quality of youth work across Europe, and with the challenging times that involve NEETs nowadays in mind. Opportunities for NEETs are very scarce. They need motivation. And when formal education has not worked, youth work is a promising chance for them. Youth work can involve them in social and environmental initiatives that will make them feel useful and eventually involved with disadvantaged groups or environmental situations. Thus, YouthProAktiv has targeted this need through a training that aimed at:
- Improving the professional competences of youth workers equipping them with the skills, non-formal methodologies and working methods needed in order to successfully implement their activities in the youth work sector.
- Equipping youth workers and youth organizations with a deep understanding of the common values inspiring the Erasmus+ program increasing their chances to successfully reach and include the most disadvantaged youth and contribute through non-formal education to the creation of a more inclusive European society.
- Increasing the quality of youth work ensuring that the available tools and means to develop their work are successfully used and implemented.
- Ensuring the creation of a space for the exchange of best practices that will help them to identify successful initiatives/ projects in favor of their main disadvantaged young target groups.
- Increasing the capacity of national youth organizations to operate transnationally and ensuring the establishment of strong and long-lasting partnerships among them.
Hence, throughout the five training days, the training “Employing European Youth Through Non-Formal Education: Erasmus+ mobilities for the activation of NEETs” gathered in Madrid 33 youth workers from different countries such as: Belgium, Georgia, Greece, Croatia, Turkey, Slovenia, Lithuania, North Macedonia, Serbia and Spain. During the training, the participants had the opportunity to strengthen their skills and knowledge in Erasmus+ and applying for KA1 funds for their projects with the support of a facilitator from YPA SPAIN and Paloma Cantero Gómez, project writer at CWConsulting. They exchanged best practices from their organizations, used creative methods for understanding the NEETs group and their needs, and used active listening to learn more about Erasmus+, National Agencies and best practices.
A key aspect of this training were our partners: Active Youth, European Integration Group, Youth On Board, Interkulturalis, Klub Koroških študentov, Hrvatsko drustvo za Ujedinj, EKO and Social innovation and Integration group. They carefully selected very motivated and involved youth workers who brought their knowledge on the topics and previous experiences, which undoubtedly added value by increasing the quality and diversity of the exchange.
The first day of training the group the group learnt about each of the other organizations and got in touch and reflected about the Erasmus+ core values and priorities. They also worked through the use of a Personas exercise on what are the different profiles of NEETS, what are their needs and what youth workers can do to help them. Finally, they also got a first introduction to the YouthPass Certificate and it’s importance for young people and for youth workers.
On the second day, each group made specific presentations on their best practices regarding NEETs, exchanges ideas on what is Erasmus+ for them, and explained their national context regarding NEETs to their peers. A highlight of this day was the presentation by Adelina Florescu, youth worker at Asociatia Ajutam, Integram, Dezvoltam si Evoluam (AIDE) about their organization, its work and impact.
The third day, the group began with an exchange of best practices regarding previous applying for funding and the relationship between their organizations and their NA. After that, Lina Trebiene presented to us their work at Jaunuoliu Dienos Centras, giving a yet more inspiring type of work that can also be funded by Erasmus+ projects. And after a short break, our trainer on project writing, Paloma Cantero, explained her tips and tricks to successfully write a project application in a very interactive session where the participants asked many questions and generated a very productive discussion. The final highlight of the day was an exercise on how important is the Consortium in a project and how it should be based on how each partner has needs but also offers their strengths.
On the fourth day participants worked in three designing and developing each one KA1 project proposal. They extensively worked on the official KA1 project outline and on developing the learning outcomes and how those would be achieved by the program of activities with the help of the preparatory and dissemination activities. During the last exercise of this session, they also developed an organization action plan to schedule how they would implement the dissemination of the knowledge they had gained within their organizations once they went back.
The morning of the last day, the three groups presented their final KA1 project to the whole group, and received feedback by our trainer on what were the strengths and weak points. This provided a lot of insights on their work, which the participants found valuable because it is often the case that youth workers spend many hours planning and writing a project, and receive no further explanation when the funding for it is rejected.
In the end, many expressed their appreciation and how useful this training was, which was also very encouraging for our team, which had planned this to happen, but it could only happen thanks to the attendant’s positive energy and complete involvement in the training.
Despite the busy and productive agenda, the participants also had time for leisure in the evenings. They had the opportunity to visit some of the most attractive landmarks in Madrid. For instance, they visited Plaza Mayor, Cibeles, Retiro Park and the wonderful Prado Museum.
With this new experience and knowledge in their professional portfolios, participants will be able to foster quality projects that will provide new opportunities for NEETs all over Europe to participate in mobility projects. Through this training we are taking a step towards motivating and activating a key group of youngsters who often struggle to engage with their networks or society.
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