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Innovative voluntary actions for entrepreneurship to support inclusion and employability of young people from deprived urban areas.
Start date: Aug 3, 2015, End date: Mar 2, 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

This multilateral Youth Exchange improved the level of inclusion and employability skills of 56 young people from deprived urban areas. There are many issues affecting these youths: unemployment, poverty, social exclusion, crime, cultural differences, lack of a good education, etc. In order to address these issues, the youth have to participate in the solutions from the ground up. They need to have a sense of belonging to the community and a sense of identity. They also need the skills and competences that can help them begin to affect change in their communities. Addressing these needs with effective and innovative solutions has become even more critical than before. Several factors needed to be addressed for an effective program that could help young people from deprived areas. Some of these include lack of education and skill due to early school drops-outs, inadequate training, lack of opportunity to develop experience, insufficient access to labour markets, lack of mentoring programs for entrepreneurs, unawareness of opportunities, migrant status, and lack of inclusion. Our partner organisations addressed these issues via the Youth Exchange process with the goal of facilitating a project where youth came together in a multilateral, tolerant, inclusive environment, developing the skills they needed to increase their employability, and empowering them to develop the skills they needed to fully participate in all levels of society (social inclusion). This was done with an eye towards developing entrepreneurial skills, community volunteering, and innovative approaches to unemployment and other problems affecting youth from deprived urban areas. This exchange brought together young people and youth leaders from the UK, Portugal, Moldova, and Belarus. The participants for the exchange were chosen by the participating partner countries and were the representatives of youth from deprived urban areas who faced a higher than average chance of being unemployed, disenfranchised, poor, under educated, or from migrant backgrounds. Our youth leaders met the criteria of being peer leaders, youth activists, and having some experience in working with youth on an international level as well as involvement in community councils or forums. The objectives of this project were to bring together youth leaders and youth from deprived urban areas to work on the issues that could help resolve and remediate the issues that affect youth from deprived urban areas focusing on innovative solutions, entrepreneurship and building key competences and skills. We were also able to spread further our findings and knowledge to other youth organisations active with the issues of practicing peer education as a tool to promote social inclusion and increase the employability, skill level, and competences of young people. The following working methods were used during this Youth Exchange: theoretical inputs on various aspects of communication, information, and ICL and exercises (simulations, consensus and confrontation exercises, work groups, etc.); presentations of best practices; role play and simulation exercises; workshops on management of a peer group, inter-cultural communication and peer communication; Open Space method; Forum Theatre; volunteer work as a way to pick up new job skills, presentation of the Erasmus+ Programme with a special focus on new developments and opportunities for cooperation between the partners on the project’s theme. The impact and results of this Mobility Project were: identification and acknowledgment of the issues affecting youth from deprived urban areas, concrete solutions to address these problems, the active use of these solutions with continued refinement through feedback and communication, dissemination of the results to include a wider and wider audience, and sustainment of these practices via support through youth leaders and partner organisations. This project gave the young participants an opportunity to organise informal peer led activities for their peers and local community, while accepting feedback on the chosen methodology and to be active citizens through volunteering. The skills learned in this exchange are not only applicable to unemployment but can be expanded to form a broader base for life learning experiences in general allowing for improvement in knowledge, skills, thought processes, engagement in active citizenship, volunteering, intercultural dialogue, intercultural tolerance, and increased communication skills. These long-term, synergistic benefits helped to propel forward a more inclusive and better attitude towards active citizen participation throughout Europe.

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