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YES Academy
Start date: Sep 1, 2015, End date: Dec 31, 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Throughout the EU, young people are the category of persons hit hardest by unemployment, underemployment and feel discouraged to look for work. Furthermore the last European elections and numerous elections in the Member States in recent times show, that there is a growing absenteeism of young people combined with an increasing European scepticism. This development and the complex situation of young people in transition to adulthood call for trained and experienced professionals in the field of youth work. Driven by our members, the “YES Academy” project contributes to achieve a greater impact of the Inclusion and Diversity Strategy in youth work leading to increased active citizenship of young people: • To create a more inclusive environment, with more and diverse young people participating in civic activities throughout Europe. • To enable organisations working with and for young vulnerable people to be a more effective force – to make it easier for young people to actively participate • To increase the capacities of individual youth workers and their organizations in working with young people and to foster greater cooperation among organisations and other sectors throughout the EU The idea for the project came from our partner organizations that have an ongoing interest in increasing civic participation of disadvantaged young people. All the project partners bring strong expertise in working with young people affected by social inequalities (educational, emotional, economical etc.) in their own communities. Ranging from school social work to street-based work, our partners aim to prevent, resolve and avoid the worst effects of exclusion and help young people flourish. Over the span of 16 months, the YES Academy project will include four events for youth workers including an international seminar, two contact-making events, and a study visit. The project aims to reach 115 participants from 15 different European countries. The first event builds a common approach based on mutual understanding. Using interactive methods, participants present their experience applying concepts and methods concerning young people’s engagement, active citizenship, participation and social inclusion. The second contact-making event will conclude the learning activities and summarise the experiences into an action-oriented report on how to be more effective in reaching young people and to make it easier for young people to actively participate in society. In addition, our international seminar organised in Brussels will foster a space for exchange of good practices and information between participants and high-level EU stakeholders in the EU policy field of Youth. Here we aim to be in dialogue with European policy makers as well as public bodies involved in youth social inclusion, youth unemployment, and active citizenship. The project will culminate in a study visit in Finland co-organised with After Eight, an organization with a long standing experience in the development of youth active citizenship, participation and social inclusion. The event offers an in-depth look into After Eight’s implemented measures and projects with young people, their methodology and their political, financial and administrative infrastructure. The event will provide youth workers with space for reflection on different approaches, methods and perspectives, as well as an opportunity to exchange experience with their professional colleagues. Finally, activities facilitating transfer into practice will take place to analyse ways to promote and use constructively the knowledge gained during the project visits and adapt it to reflect participant’s own context and working environments. “YES Academy” will innovatively combine a process-oriented learning approach that prioritises youth worker reflection on key issues with an aim to produce tools for sustainable approaches in working more effectively with young people in Europe. The envisioned tangible results of the project include: • policy recommendations for European youth work on promoting active citizenship among young people, as well as involving young people from disadvantaged backgrounds in democratic decision-making processes; • a good practices guide for youth workers throughout Europe on issues of active citizenship and youth social inclusion; • an action-oriented final report that will summarize the case studies of good examples for inclusive youth work. The expected learning results for youth workers are: • deeper knowledge of structures and support measures for young people in the Member states of the participants, • qualitative support for the dialogue between with different stakeholders in the field on Youth on issues of young people with fewer opportunities, • greater knowledge and implementing new transferable models for supporting active citizenship of young people with fewer opportunities
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