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Social Entrepreneurship as a way to tackle youth unemployment using Digital Technology
Start date: Mar 2, 2015, End date: Dec 1, 2015 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Recent years of recession have greatly increased the rate of unemployment throughout Europe and the surrounding areas. This is especially burdensome to young people who, due to lack of practical skills, are often the last group to be hired. Addressing the problem of youth unemployment and lack of practical skills (experience), requires finding innovative and entrepreneurial solutions that involve youth leaders, facilitators, local, regional and national communities as well as input and participation from the youth themselves. Our partner organisations addressed these issues via a project with a two step implementation phase aimed first at organizing a seminar to expand and explore solutions to these problems and second, a youth exchange, where through a programme facilitated by the partner organisations and spearheaded by the targeted youth themselves, these methods were addressed in innovative and entrepreneurial ways to create sustainable solutions that can be disseminated throughout local communities to impact an ever growing audience of people. Each project Activity (Seminar and the Youth Exchange) brought together 24 participants from the UK and Lithuania. The objectives of this project were to bring together youth leaders and at risk youth in a tolerant and inclusive environment to work together to help resolve and remediate the issues related to unemployment, poverty and social exclusion focusing on innovative solutions and entrepreneurship. The seminar brought together youth leaders and facilitators and focused on training them to be educators, facilitators and stimulator's to create an energetic and innovative youth exchange. The dates of the Seminar were: 24/07/2015 - 31/07/2015. The youth leaders met the criteria of being peer leaders, with some having experience in working with youth in an international level as well as involvement in community councils or forums. The young people who participated in the youth exchange were chosen by the participating countries and the criteria that they were representative of the target population (young people facing employment difficulties). The aim of the exchange was for the participants to develop the skills they need to increase their employability as well as empowering them to develop the skills and confidence to fully participate in all levels of society (social inclusion) using digital technology as a tool. Dates of the Youth Exchange were: 17/08/2015 - 24/08/2015. The following working methods were used during the youth exchange: - Theoretical inputs on various aspects of communication, information and ICL and exercises (simulations, consensus and confrontation exercises, workgroups, etc.); - Presentations of best practices; - Role play and simulation exercises; - Workshops on management of a peer group, inter-cultural communication, peer on peer communication; - 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 the project were an identification and acknowledgment of the issues related to unemployment and participants worked towards finding concrete solutions to address these problems. The active use of these solutions with continued refinement through feedback and communication resulted in dissemination of the results to include a wider and wider audience, and sustainment of these practices via support through youth leaders and partner organizations. We have been able to further spread our findings and knowledge to other youth organizations active with the issues of practicing peer education as a tool to promote social inclusion and increased employability of young people. This project has given the young participants an opportunity to organize 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, volunteerism, intercultural dialogue, intercultural tolerance, and increased communication skills. These long term, synergistic benefits will help to propel forward a more inclusive and better attitude towards active citizen participation throughout Europe and the surrounding countries. We anticipate that we will be able to further spread our findings and knowledge to other youth organizations active with the issues of practicing peer education as a tool to promote social inclusion and increased employability of young people.

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