YES Forum - Youth and European Social Work
YES Forum News December 2017

Dear ###USER_first_name### ###USER_last_name###,

After many difficult years for Europe as a whole – and an entire decade for European youth in particular – the tide may finally be turning. Economic prospects have improved in all EU Member States, with positive outcomes on youth unemployment in particular. However it has not been enough to put a real end to the many inequalities young Europeans still have to face, in comparison to older generations ... and among youth itself. This, among the many other dangers still lying ahead of the European Union, calls for our vigilance and continued engagement for and with youth.

But as we are reaching the end of 2017, let’s begin by celebrating the achievements of the YES Forum’s whole network! Once again, this year has indeed been busy. Several projects were concluded, in particular “Our Life. Our Voice. Young People and Poverty”, which reached its climax with a Final Conference in May in Brussels, giving an exceptional opportunity to its young participants to raise their voice and present their work to EU officials, among many other European stakeholders.

New projects, on the other hand, started and have showcased the increasing involvement of YES Forum’s members and partners. The YourEP project, in particular, gathered its 10 partners and their young participants twice this year, and will enter its second phase next year. YES Forum’s events also attracted more participants than in the past years, with about 30 participants in our latest Project Planning Meeting in September, and almost 70 participants in the YES Forum’s 2017 Policy Event in Brussels in November, including a majority of young people.

And let’s not forget a key milestone, and one more reason to rejoice: this year, the YES Forum celebrated its 15th Anniversary! This year’s successes, as well as the last 15 years’ developments, would not have been possible without the network’s involvement. For your contribution to all YES Forum’s achievements, we would like to conclude this year with a big and sincere THANK YOU! We will be happy to keep working with all of you in 2018 and beyond, with one final goal in mind: building a fair Europe for all young people.

For now, we wish you all a Merry Christmas and, in advance, Happy New Year!

 

The YES Forum Secreteriat

Contents

Contents
Focus: European Developments

· EU Leaders proclaim the European Pillar of Social Rights read more »

· European Solidarity Corps: Commission proposal read more »

· Education and Training Monitor 2017 - Spotlight on inequality in education read more »

· 2018 Erasmus+ Annual Work Programme published read more »

YES Forum’s activities and members’ activities

· Save the date! Next General Assembly in Athens, and YES Forum's 2018 Agenda read more »

· YourEP in Brussels on 20-24 November read more »

· 2017 Policy Event, Brussels, 23-24 November read more »

· Official Founding of YES Innovation and Research read more »

· New project: DIVE read more »

· Project Progress: H2020 PROMISE read more »

Calls for Proposals, Conferences and Training

· Erasmus+ - 2018 Programme Guide, Calls and Important changes read more »

· 8th European Conference for Social Work Research read more »

· European Training Calendar – Check it out! read more »

Other News

· Study - New and innovative forms of youth participation in decision-making processes read more »

· New Handbook: “Improving youth work – your guide to quality development” read more »

· Youth Knowledge Book - "Thinking seriously about youth work" read more »

· New Updated “European Youth Wiki” read more »

Focus: European Developments

EU Leaders proclaim the European Pillar of Social Rights

Last month, European Union leaders have solemnly proclaimed the European Pillar of Social Rights at the Social Summit for fair jobs and growth in Gothenburg, Sweden.

The European Pillar of Social Rights sets out 20 key principles and rights to support fair and well-functioning labour markets and welfare systems in the EU, distributed in three chapters:

  • Equal opportunities and access to the labour market
  • Fair working conditions
  • Social protection and inclusion

The European Pillar of Social Rights represents a clear progress in comparison to the past decades as it expresses the commitment of the EU institutions and Member States to work toward a more social Europe. However, as a “proclamation”, it is not legally binding in itself, and its real impact will depend on how well and actively the EU institutions and Member States use it in the future.

European Solidarity Corps: Commission proposal

To strengthen the European Solidarity Corps, the Commission has proposed a dedicated budget and a legal basis for the next three years. This proposal will help consolidate the initiative thanks to a dedicated budget of €341.5 million. The aim is to enable 100,000 young Europeans to take part by the end of 2020. The following types of activities are envisaged in the future:

  • Solidarity placements (volunteering activities up to 12 months, traineeship placements for 2–6 months, job placements for 2–12 months).
  • Volunteering teams (10-40 young volunteers from different countries for 2 weeks to 2 months)
  • Solidarity projects (at least five participants to set up solidarity projects at the local level on their own initiative, 2 to 12 months)

The volunteering opportunities under the new ESC will replace, from 2018 onward, the European Voluntary Service activities which were so far implemented through Erasmus and which will fall under the geographical scope of the ESC (i.e. EU Member states at first).

The proposal is being examined by the European Parliament and Council of the EU. For more information, please check here. You can also check our 2017 Policy Event’s report here, as its second panel addressed the ESC.

Education and Training Monitor 2017 - Spotlight on inequality in education

The European Commission recently published its 2017 Education and Training Monitor.

Inequality is the lead theme of this year's Monitor. International comparison and country analyses show that even though national education systems are becoming more inclusive and effective in the EU, students' educational attainment largely depends on their socio-economic backgrounds. These conclusions will now feed into the EC’S work and future recommendations to Member States on how to improve their educational systems based on peer-review analyses.

Moreover, on 25 January 2018, the first ever EU Education Summit will be organised to gather high-level representatives from across Member States and invite them to discuss how to make national education systems more inclusive and effective. For more information, please click here.

2018 Erasmus+ Annual Work Programme published

The work programme outlines the structure and funding of Erasmus+ for 2018 and highlights the link between the policies as well as changes from 2017.

Despite an increase from €2.5 billion in 2017 to €2.7 billion in 2018, the Erasmus+ budget leaves its youth strand with €210 million in 2018, instead of €232 million in the 2017 budget. This is explained by the impact of the European Solidarity Corps initiative: from 2018 onward, European Voluntary Service (EVS) activities will no longer be implemented through Erasmus+, but will be implemented as volunteering placements under the European Solidarity Corps.

Other activities under the youth strand of Erasmus+ (Mobility of youth workers, Strategic partnerships for youth) will remain unchanged. The full Annual Work Programme is available here.

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YES Forum’s activities and members’ activities

Save the date! Next General Assembly in Athens, and YES Forum's 2018 Agenda

The next YES Forum General Assembly will be organised in Athens, Greece, in collaboration with YES Forum member and partner organisations Nostos and IEKEP.

The 2018 GA between 11-15 June. More precise dates will be announced in early 2018, but in the meantime, don’t forget to Save the Dates!

You can also find an overview of YES Forum’s activities in 2018 and their planned dates here.

YourEP in Brussels on 20-24 November

On 20-24 November, the YourEP project had its first meeting involving all its participants, with a majority of young people experiencing their first trip abroad as well as their first Erasmus+ experience.

Together with the youth workers supporting them, the young participants began by learning about Europe, the European Union, and the European Parliament in particular. Through various activities - discussions, visits of the European Parliament and the European Quarter, an “EU Board Game” and meetings with MEPs and other EU officials in particular – they acquired crucial knowledge for the rest of the project ... and their life as EU citizens of course!

All this learning then helped them reflecting about the next steps of the project. Through their first roleplaying activities and a World Café, they indeed brainstormed about the future “inclusive” simulation of the European Parliament that they will implement next year.

All these ideas will now feed into the preparation of this simulation, which will continue online in the next few months, before we all meet again in Strasbourg in 2018 to test the young participants’ own EU political simulation, and even participate in the EYE2018!

A full pictures gallery is now available here, as well as additional information on our website!

2017 Policy Event, Brussels, 23-24 November

On 23-24 November, the YES Forum organised its 2017 Policy Event in Brussels under the theme “Reconciling the European project with youth – An open dialogue”.

Through this event, practitioners from the youth field, young people themselves and EU policy and decision-makers could share their respective views on the best way forward in the promotion of a more inclusive European Union for youth. On the first day, two panel sessions addressed the question “How to reconcile the European project with all youth before it is too late?” and explored how the future European Solidarity Corps can contribute to this “reconciliation”.

After celebrating the YES Forum’s 15th Anniversary, Policy Event guests gathered on the second day to discuss the future of the YES Forum network. It was the perfect opportunity to officially found the new legal entity, YES Innovation and Research, which will now complement the YES Forum’s work by providing a new, innovative and more flexible toolbox for future projects in the field of youth!

For more information, please check the complete report here. A pictures gallery is also available here.

Official Founding of YES Innovation and Research

Following a 2 years process of discussion on how to create more financial stability for the YES Forum, the new, additional, legal entity YES Innovation and Research, was officially founded during the 2017 Policy Event in Brussels on 24th November.

It was followed by the election of its Board of Directors and Steering Committee. It will complement the YES Forum’s work by providing a new, innovative and more flexible toolbox for future projects in the field of youth.

First ideas on this issue were discussed with the members at the GA in Finland, 2016. Based on the members’ feedback and taking legal advice from a law firm, the board together with secretariat staff elaborated several options. At the GA in May 2016, the concept of founding an additional legal entity was presented and agreed by members.

New project: DIVE

From 2017 to 2019, the YES Forum will support the European youth networks JEF Europe (Young European Federalists), ESN International (Erasmus Student Network) and AEGEE Europe (European Students' Forum) and their local and national member with its expertise in view of making their sections more inclusive.

The project aims at identifying the barriers explaining the lack of diversity of these networks, and at collectively reflecting on how to take them down. The final goal is to make sections of JEF, ESN and AEGEE more diverse and ultimately to make European volunteering more accessible and inclusive. To do so, the project will organise 3 trainings where members of these European platforms, together with the YES Forum, will identify these barriers and develop adapted tools to take them down.

For more information on DIVE’s first meeting in Lyon on 25-26 November, please visit our website.

Project Progress: H2020 PROMISE

The consortium leading the H2020 research project PROMISE, in which the YES Forum is a partner, met in Zagreb on 28-29 September to discuss emerging themes from their ethnographic case studies.

The PROMISE fieldwork started early in 2017 and is now coming to an end as PROMISE partners are in the last stage of their data collection and observation.

The 21 case studies led by the partner universities all over Europe utilised a range of methods to access and engage young people. 4 major themes emerged from the case studies in relation to the challenges young people are facing in Europe:

  • Education/justice/society
  • Culture/politics
  • Economy/leisure spaces
  • Gender/sexuality

For more information about the project and its progress, please visit www.promise.manchester.ac.uk

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Calls for Proposals, Conferences and Training

Erasmus+ - 2018 Programme Guide, Calls and Important changes

Following the Erasmus+ Work Programme, the European Commission published the 2018 Erasmus+ Programme Guide and the Calls for proposals planned in 2018.

For the youth sector, the following changes are important:

  • Volunteering activities between organisations from EU Member States formerly funded through the “Mobility of young people European Voluntary Service” will be funded by the new programme “European Solidarity Corps”.
  • Only volunteering activities between organisations from EU Member States and non-EU Programme Countries on the one hand, and between organisations from Erasmus+ Programme Countries and Partner Countries neighbouring the EU on the other hand, will still be funded through Erasmus+.
  • A new activity labelled ‘ErasmusPRO’ will support long-duration mobility (between 3 and 12 months) of VET learners in vocational institutes or companies.
  • The ‘Erasmus+ Virtual Exchange initiative’ will support virtual exchanges between young people from EU and non-EU countries (in the Middle East and North Africa regions), building upon the pilot developed in 2017.
  • The special call to support transnational cooperation projects in the field of social inclusion, values and fundamental rights will be renewed in 2018.

The complete 2018 Erasmus+ Programme can be found here.

The Calls for proposals 2018 was also published. The following deadlines apply to both “Mobility of individuals in the field of youth, “Strategic partnerships in the field of youth” and “Meetings between young people and decision-makers in the field of youth”:

  • 1 February
  • 26 April
  • 4 October

8th European Conference for Social Work Research

In 2018, the European Social Work Research Association will organise its 8th European Conference in Edinburgh from 18 to 20 April. Social work practitioners are of course invited!

The conference will focus on “Social Work in Transition: Challenges for Social Work Research in a Changing Local and Global World”. Registrations will open soon: more information on the Conference Website.

European Training Calendar – Check it out!

Each year, hundreds of trainings for youth workers are organised to strengthen the European youth field: have a look at these opportunities!

The SALTO-YOUTH Platform provides a full calendar of all training opportunities covering the next months. You can sort training opportunities by dates, location, theme ... and maybe find the perfect training for you or your organisation!

Here are some examples of upcoming trainings for youth and youth workers:

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Other News

Study - New and innovative forms of youth participation in decision-making processes

The Council of Europe published a new study called “New and Innovative Forms of Youth Participation in Decision-making Processes”, coordinated by the EU-CoE youth partnership.

The study highlights examples of innovative ways to foster youth participation in various instances of decision-making in Europe as a whole, and formulates policy recommendations encouraging public authorities to build upon such examples in order to better include young people in their decisions.

New Handbook: “Improving youth work – your guide to quality development”

The European Commission published a new handbook to support youth workers and youth organisations across Europe. This new guide, available here, provides readers with a step-by-step guidance on how to engage in quality development in youth work and how to develop indicators and the tools needed to follow them up.

Youth Knowledge Book - "Thinking seriously about youth work"

The Youth Partnership (European Commission / Council of Europe) recently published a new “Youth Knowledge Book” called “Thinking seriously about youth work. And how to prepare people to do it”.

By analysing theories and concepts of youth work and by providing insight from various perspectives and geographical and professional backgrounds, the authors hope to further contribute to finding common ground for – and thus assure the quality of – youth work in general.

The book is available for free here.

New Updated “European Youth Wiki”

A new updated version of the European Youth Wiki, a comprehensive online encyclopaedia in the area of national youth policies, is now online.

The platform is a comprehensive database of national structures, policies and actions supporting young people. It covers the eight main fields of action identified in the 2010-2018 EU Youth Strategy: education and training, employment and entrepreneurship, health and well-being, participation, voluntary activities, social inclusion, youth and the world, and creativity and culture.

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