On the current EU Year of Youth, the S&D Group on Culture organised a workshop on three topics to get suggestions from experts for a sustainable impact of the European Year of Youth. These topics were: Protecting children and young people from adversity, investing in the future and Breaking the glass ceiling for young people.
For the panel discussion on "Investing in the Future", EZA was invited to participate as a panellist. Caro Moch of JOC Europe, a member of EZA and involved with youth issues daily, represented EZA.
Other panellists were Ioana Surubaru, President of the European Confederation of Youth Clubs, Martina Darmanin, President of the European Students' Union and Victor Negrescu, Vice-President of S&D CULT, member of the EU40 network of young MEPs.
Regarding recommendations to better support young people in the field of education and training, Caro put forward five points.
- We all measure the value of young people in the number of degrees and the prestige of the institution they studied in. But not by what skills they learned in their work as a e.g., a volunteer firefighter. It is crucial when it comes to giving equal opportunities to recognize what people learned, not how they did it.
- Non-formal and informal learning are not only a more individual way of acquiring knowledge and skills. In many cases it has also a positive effect for society. E.g., learning by watching the youtube video to fix your phone so you don’t have to throw it away. What could be better for your wallet, the environment, and the next person you help with fixing their phone?
- Knowledge and skills, efficiency and result-orientation, are not the only important things in live. We should not reduce the worth of a person to their capability to constantly updating one’s skills be competitive. The “Lifelong-learning”, voluntary work, on-job training, have to be for our personal development, or, just as importantly – for the good cause.
- We should also take into account specially people in precarious working conditions as well as unemployed – both of which are quite common situations for young people. A person with a short-term contract for example has much less opportunities to get access to on-the-job training and has also less possibilities to engage in civil society. And if you look at the NEETs: they are outside of all the formal learning processes. The best way to reach them is with less formal, more individual, direct and adapted learning opportunities.
- It’s good to open your mind to different things. We should not be punished for having many different experiences.
During the debate, Caro also stressed the importance of involving trade unions and civil society social organisations in the elaboration of new measures.
Conclusion of the workshop was that many suggestions should be taken seriously and together with the existing guarantee plans for children and youth should be used to elaborate further important measures on EU level to support young people. The year of youth is only a start.