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Beyond your postcode
Start date: Mar 1, 2015, End date: Feb 29, 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The background of this project is based on Equi-Visions work with young people and seeing the differences between young people from other European countries and those that live in the UK. It was very clear the differences on how travelling and being part of a wider Europe develops young people but also breaks down cultural barriers and gives them possibilities to changing their attitudes and lifestyles. This project is part of Equi-Vision's Youth Employment Strategy and it was planned and designed by our young volunteers and clients who expressed a strong interest in developing their own youth exchange on the theme of employment. The project was designed in partnership with three organisations: APEL Romania, CISS Italy & Good Deeds Russia. These four organisations work with young people who are seeking employment, so the theme of the exchange is a very relevant and urgent topic for them. The issues and needs we are seeking to address through this project had been identified during our work with young people and during a number of consultations that took place in September 2014: -To organise a 9 days youth exchange in Palermo, Italy involving 40 young people from 4 European countries on the theme of youth employment. -To increase the employability of 40 young people through developing relevant competences such as sense of initiative and entrepreneurship, team work, learning to learn, digital competences, communication in mother tongue & foreign languages, cultural awareness -To establish the grounds of an European Network for Youth Employment by setting up a website and a Forum where young people will post their experiences, opinions about finding and maintaining a job , as well as employment & volunteering opportunities -To generate a promotion strategy for the European Network for Youth Employment using young people's ideas, creativity and commitment. All the participants in the project are young people aged 18-30 years, having an interest in the area of employment and willing to actively participate in all the activities throughout the project. All the methods of the youth exchange are based on non-formal learning and responded to the interests of young people. This included, workshops, team building exercises, multicultural awareness, open space discussions and working in groups in order to share experiences, ideas and share skills. The project has the potential of impacting on a European level, as the newly established network will aim to engage young people from across the EU, different European stakeholders from the voluntary sector, but also business and public sector. The impacts that we have seen are vast which included: -Disseminating attitudes of class and race which were completely transformed via open dialogue in a safe environment. -There was a mutual recognition and awareness from the young people that regardless of where their peers are from within Europe, there were more similarities than differences among them. -The young people learnt a lot from their peers and were open and honest with them whilst respecting their different values. -There was recognition that belief systems are very much inherent and young people must debate and learn to break down a lot of the negativity aimed at other young people. -A culture of who you know rather than what you know or what you can do still exists in many European countries which can make it difficult for some young people to find employment, especially if they come from marginalised communities. -Awareness that the friendships formed are long term. -Each young person felt a sense of achievement when they saw the product of their work. -Recognition that the informal learning has just as much significance as qualifications. -The young people realised that even though the work was tough one of the young people said “this is the best holiday I have ever had”. -The young people gained a sense of empowerment through working with their peers, sharing ideas, skills and problem solving. -The young people having shared experiences felt more equip to apply for jobs, complete the application process making themselves more favorable and more confident with regards to job interviews. -There was a raised level of competencies when it came to computer skills, communication and marketing.

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