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Volunteer your way to employment
Start date: Oct 1, 2014, End date: Mar 31, 2015 PROJECT  FINISHED 

This multilateral youth exchange aims to improve employability of young people. The recent crisis has greatly increased the rate of unemployment throughout Europe and the surrounding areas. Addressing this issue with effective innovative solutions has become even more critical than before. Several factors affect unemployment among young people. 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 labor markets, lack of mentoring programs for entrepreneurs, and unawareness of opportunities. Our partner organizations plan to address this issue via the youth exchange process with the goal of facilitating a project where youth can come together in a multilateral, tolerant, inclusive environment and develop the skills they need to increase their employability as well as empowering them to develop the skills they need to fully participate in all levels of society (social inclusion). This will be done with an eye towards developing entrepreneurial skills , community volunteering and innovative approaches to unemployment. This exchange will bring together 64 young people and youth leaders from the UK, Lithuania, Azerbaijan, and Belarus. The participants for the exchange will be chosen by the participating partner countries and will be representatives of different youth groups with fewer opportunities. As they are at a particular disadvantage when it comes to being unemployed, young people with social, economic or cultural disadvantages will be included. Our youth leaders will meet the criteria of being peer leaders, youth activists, and having some experience in working with youth on a international level as well as involvement in community councils or forums. The objectives of this project will be to bring together youth leaders and youth at risk to work on the issues that will help resolve and remediate the issues related to unemployment and social exclusion focusing on innovative solutions and entrepreneurship. 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. The following working methods will be 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 and on 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 that we anticipate will be an identification and acknowledgment of the issues related to unemployment among youth, 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 organizations. This project will give 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, volunteering, 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.
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