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Go Non-Formal: Volunteering for Employability
Start date: Aug 8, 2015, End date: Feb 7, 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Youth unemployment is one of the most critical challenges the world is facing today: young people make up almost half of the world’s unemployed, despite accounting for only one quarter of the working population. Youth unemployment rates are historically four to five times more than the adult rates in every country in the world. In 2012, youth made up to 40% of the world unemployed. Close to 75 million youth were unemployed worldwide. The quality and relevance of education is often considered as the first root cause of youth unemployment. Yet, high education does not guarantee a decent job. One global survey found that more than 55% of employers worldwide believe there is a “skill crisis” as businesses witness a growing mismatch between the skills students learn in the education system and those required in the workplace. Within the frameworks of this project we wanted to promote volunteering as an important tool for unemployment solution. Different types of volunteering – short-termed and long-termed EVS, engagement with local CSOs and charities, internships in NGOs and businesses – all these types of activities increase person’s chances for employment. Volunteering a person gets new skills and knowledge, learns useful tools, gets experience of teamwork and subordination. In many cases the experience of volunteering changes the person’s attitudes towards their life plans changing the direction of what kind of employment they are looking for. Volunteering creates new working places, develops entrepreneurship, contributes to person’s CV. There are different levels of youth involvement into volunteering activities in different countries. While in Western Europe it’s quite common for students to take a year off studies to volunteer abroad or to be involved in number of local charities, in Eastern Europe and Caucasus and Mediterranean countries it’s still something strange and foreign. Raising awareness of volunteering opportunities in these countries may turn beneficial for students, young unemployed graduates, organisations – NGOs and developed business enterprises, society in general. Using methods of non-formal education we promoted volunteering activities and for this established a network for volunteering opportunities for the young people in different NGOs around Eastern and Western Europe, Balkans, Caucasus and Mediterranean countries. It will help to make people from these countries closer to each other, to exchange experience, project ideas and stories of success. With the help of existing youth programs young people from Western Europe will volunteer in Eastern Europe and vice versa. During our TC we gave the participants space to create their future projects related to volunteering, to make the participants use their creativity to develop new approaches of volunteering, to establish informal contacts necessary to this task. Objectives: 1. to establish good connections between the young people from participating countries; 2. to transfer the good practices in the field of youth work, cultural diversity and social inclusion; 3. to promote volunteering activities and for this to establish a network of organisations involved in volunteering of the young people in different NGOs around Eastern and Western Europe, Balkans, Caucasus and Mediterranean countries. The participating countries are: Austria, Israel, Netherlands, UK from countries with better employment situation and more developed volunteering programs and Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, FYROM, Georgia, Greece, Jordan, Russia, Turkey, Ukraine with very bad situation with youth unemployment and volunteering opportunities. With these partners we had a good set of Project and Partner (50/50) for the aims of this project and the variety of skills, experience and competences to have great discussions that will allow us to share the tools the participants and their NGOs could use in their future work with youth for the promotion of volunteering and to create new approaches for future projects and international cooperation. The group will consisted of 27 participants (youth workers) plus 3 facilitators. The 7 days long TC took place October 28 - November 5, 2015 in Yerevan, Armenia. The working methods were discussions, work in pairs, trios, small and big groups, interactive role-playing games, icebreakers, team-building, simulations, intercultural and other parties, energizers, evaluations etc. Informal communications and meetings with local NGOs, authorities, media, press-conference were also on agenda. The potential long-term benefits of this project are: more experienced young people, more tolerant and open-minded young people, more professional youth work addressing the needs of unemployed young people, new opportunities for youth that will decrease the number of unemployed young professionals, more socially active youth in targeted countries.
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