‘Our Future in our Hands’
The projects, financed by the EEA and Norway Grants Fund for Youth Employment, included in this special edition speak eloquently for themselves, requiring little further explanation or elucidation. However, some accompanying context will help underline their reach and relevance.
Europe is a young region. One third of the EU-27 population was under the age of 30 as of 1 January 2019, with children aged 0-14 years accounting for a 15 % share and young people aged 15-29 years for 17 %. Europe is also a region of opportunity and possibility, a region of youth and vitality, a region of creativity and cultural diversity. But not all its youth have equal access to employment and education.
Each of these projects, inspired by the deficits in Europe’s employment and education sectors, subscribes to the overall approach and substance that underpins the philosophy and ambitions of EU Youth Week. These are summarised below:
- Support the establishment and development of youth representations at local, regional and national level, recognising young people’s right to participate and self-organise, the recognition of representative youth structures and their inclusion in the work of local, regional, national and European authorities;
- Actively engage young people, youth organisations and other organisers of youth work in the development, implementation and evaluation of policies affecting the lives of young people on local, regional, national and European level;
- Encourage and promote inclusive democratic participation of all young people in society and democratic processes;
- Enable access for all young people, as well as for youth workers, to cross-border mobility opportunities, including volunteering in the civil society sector, by eliminating obstacles and implementing support measures with special attention to young people with fewer opportunities;
- Create and further develop, when and where possible, easily accessible youth contact points that deliver a wide range of services and/or provide information, including financial guidance, guidance and support on career, health and relationships and educational, cultural and employment opportunities.
- Support quality youth work development on local, regional, national and European level, including policy development in the field, training for youth workers, the establishment of legal frameworks and sufficient allocation of resources. Support youth work activities on all levels, including grassroots, and recognise youth organisations as providers of competences development and social inclusion through youth work and non-formal education activities, while respecting national, regional and local activities in this field.
That is enough about context, let the projects tell their stories.
Thomas Mc Grath