Dear Friends and Readers,
Our 7th issue comes in a very particular period. Our lives, in terms of our personal relations, our works, our habits, are trying to refill our routines with “normality”. Normality, a word which is, in reality, a paradox: we would like our normality being promptly back, and that’s what we are seeking to, but – inwardly – we are aware that more likely nothing will be the same as before the outburst of the pandemic COVID 19 from spring 2020.
Normality, in the way it was conceived, is no more a characteristic of our habits: we have been forced to get used to restrictions, we cannot travel as before, we have to limit physical activities. We all know, since we are all involved, that we must find new way of “normality”.
The new upcoming challenge ahead us is exactly this one: re-adapting our work and our projects’ activities to the actual concept of redefined normality.
The positive aspect resulting from this challenge is that youth can be part of the solution, in spite of being, most likely, the most penalised during the lockdown! Young people, as you have got acquainted and learnt by implementing your projects, can help us in readapting the required solutions to the new challenging situations that this difficult period has imposed; situations that will continue being part of our future.
It is back last year when we welcomed the idea of a Baseline Study, a snapshot of youth unemployment situation in the 15+3 Youth Employment Fund beneficiary countries. As explained by the author, Iván Martín,The Baseline Study, from today available on our website, can be a departure point for an analysis of the youth employment context in each of the project’s intervention target countries (with 2018 used as the baseline) and as a measure of the perceptions and understanding of participating partners with respect to the main challenges and policy interventions affecting youth employment in their respective countries.
Why am I mentioning the Baseline? It is not only because I’m pleased to present the final result of a long work, but also – and especially – because I would like to invite all of you to consider and possibly to use these analyses as a starting point for future solutions, by having in mind the challenges we are all facing, noting the specificities of each country.
2018 has been the departure point: the year when your projects were finally conceived and designed. The data presented in the Baseline Study can be used for research and/or study purposes, while harmonising the whole Programme overarching the Youth Employment Fund. We have promised you that the study would have been available by spring 2020: we all know what, regretfully, has hindered our mission. The pandemic caused by the spread of Coronavirus has not only produced sanitary alarms: it has alerted and threatened the whole world of research, in consideration of the sudden uncertainties due to a situation never experienced before and of its related consequences still under analysis.
2019 has been the year of study and research, of data collection, of experimentation: this Baseline Study is the first result, presenting the unemployment situation in the YEF countries as a whole.
2020 is the year of change: the data referring to 2018 and 2019, most likely, cannot be mirrored with respect to 2020. The Covid-19 impact and consequences related to youth employment are still under analysis by the whole international community. That is why we have decided to continue our mission: another analysis, specifically focused on the impact of Coronavirus on youth employment, will follow, as a natural sequel of our Baseline Study. The author, our Spanish Youth Employment Expert Iván Martín will, once more, give you the space for possible considerations and projects’ contributions, to shape a Covid-19 Annex to the actual Baseline outlining pandemic impacts and the related new challenges.
Therefore, please use our YE MAG e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) to convey any additional reflection and/or contribution to Iván to develop this additional important step.
Our Baseline Study is therefore not only a source of analysis and of data transposition for research; it can and should be, at the same time, a starting point for a reflection towards the future.
What is changed now? Or, better, what can we change? How can we accompany
and insert youth in the new, changing and challenging, work sector?
One possible answer, at least so far, is investing in digital. Digital youth could be the future, or simply the natural consequence of what we have been living. Youth has readapted their lives to the new demands – e.g. smart-working, online courses and lessons, online trainings, online workshops, etc. – and we could and should do the same with our projects. A communication package is just a “package”: what is inside can be, or has to be, readapted with creativity following what you all have already started to do during this recent period of reinvention.
As it will be shown by the following articles by some of our projects, the conditions created by Covid-19 have generated uncertainties, affected economic activities, people’s lives and behavioural patterns in various ways (please have a look and read how project NESET presented these concepts). What we would like to do, pushing and soliciting you to do, is to find positiveness, keeping reinventing our habits.
Let’s try, as much as we can, by inventing smart solutions for our youth workers, to shape active positive youth, instead of a passive youth sitting behind a personal computer.
For sure, we will have to keep updating our skills, readapting them to our specific target groups, exploiting the potentials of digital education and ICT tools, using them as an alternative but efficient tool to reduce unemployment. Youth can easily readapt to this changing society, shaping a digital citizenship together with their critical thinking.
Online environment is forcing us to be more accountable, but it also needs inspiration and pluralistic ideas.
Our mission is to help our entire society to keep on constructing a strong digital community, following the recent changes which will accompany us on our path.
Our positiveness and inspiring solutions can be mirrored also online!
I’m looking forward to seeing how our Family will adapt to this new reality, and I’m sure that, after summer, positive vibes and ideas will come!
Among the positive vibes we would like to share with you, I’m happy to announce that the Fund for Regional Cooperation, your “brother”, will start running from September. A parallel website is under construction, and a new Online Magazine will shortly come to life: our Family is further expanding, and I’m sure that anyone of us will have the chance to exchange good practices and new ideas.
Gian Luca Bombarda