Friday November 4th was a significant day for the YOUTHShare project, as the Open hybrid Event marking the four years of the project’s implementation took place, at the Hospice of St Catherine, in the Old Town of Rhodes in Greece. Prominent researchers from around the world and local authorities’ officials, either with a live presence or online, assessed and discussed the successful points and the shortcomings of YOUTHShare, presented best practices from different projects and contributed with important insights about policies needed for tackling youth unemployment.
The Open Event entailed two sessions, each devoted to a special thematic. The first one regarding the YOUTHShare project focused on the role of the Key Account Managers (KAMs) and of the Transnational Employment Centre, the training of beneficiary NEETs and the facilitation of their entrepreneurial endeavours. The session elucidated the key factors for the success of the project including the transnationality of the project in its research and intervention legs across 4 countries (Spain, Italy, Cyprus and Greece), the selection procedure and the close monitoring of the KAMs in each branch of the centre, the high quality and research-based training materials and tools, the mobility schemes for vulnerable NEETs, and the platform based intervention, with respect to training (e-learning platform) or to mentoring and networking (Join2Share).
The second session, ‘Social Innovation and the Fund for Youth Employment Projects’, entailed presentations of two fellow Fund for Youth Employment projects, Cowork4YOUTHand YES!: Young Entrepreneurs Succeed, followed by the YOUTHShare spin-off project, e-ResLab Aegean, an Observatory of Geo-spatial technologies and analyses for employment and resilience in Med EEA area. Ms Anna Saroukou, former beneficiary NEET of the YOUTHShare project and currently research staff of the e-ResLab Aegeanas well as Greek co-representative at the EEA and Norway Grants Youth Forum 2022, provided insights on how WebGIS-based observatories may enhance the efforts of tackling youth employment. Purpose of the second session lied beyond parallel monologues and focused on the exploration of productive synergies. The e-ResLab Aegean, being a spin off project has congenital links with the YOUTHShare project. It started as a need for immediate action of the latter during the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic and since then it has been constantly providing valuable data on the peripheral dimension of youth unemployment. The Cowork4YOUTH project, following the common event in Potenza, Italy in May 2022, reiterated the support to the vision shared with YOUTHShare project, that includes sharing of data, expertise and transfer of know-how. The Open Event was an opportunity for the exploration of new collaboration with the the project YES!: Young Entrepreneurs Succeed. After confirming the shared values, the details of common use of YES!’ mentors’ databases and YOUTHShare’s mentoring platform were laid down.
The day concluded with Q&A for all projects presented, which led to fruitful and interesting interactions and discussion between the participants, both on site and online. The presence of Mr Gian Luca Bombarda, Director of the FO of the EEA and Norway Grants Fund for Youth Employment played a significant role in putting the whole discussion in the framework of the common goal of addressing youth unemployment.
Apart from Mr Gian Luca Bombarda, the Open Event was addressed by Mr Konstantinos Taraslias, Vice Mayor of Rhodes for Communication, Press and Etiquette, Professor Ioannis Seimenis, Dean of the School of Humanities of the University of the Aegean, Professor Elena Theodoropoulou, Vice Rector of the University of the Aegean for Academic Affairs and Students’ Welfare, Mr Kostas Boukouvalas, Researcher at the Labour Institute of the Worker’s General Confederation of Greece and Ms Ioanna Lytrivi, Managing Director of the National Organisation for the Certification of Qualification & Vocational Guidance.
The Open Event was organised with the support of the Ministry of Culture and Sports – Dodecanese Ephorate of Antiquities and was part of the events for the European Year of Youth.