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And why do we believe in it...

Project Background

Many European countries suffer from youth unemployment for a range of reasons, and  this projects objective is to address this issue and look at supporting youth workers in competence development skills (for the further support of the development of competencies of the young people they work with).


There is a proved match between skills demanded by employers and skills developed in youth organisations. Out of studies, such as The European Youth Forum’s study about the contribution of non-formal education in terms of increased employability, the soft skills that employers most frequently demand include communication skills, organisational/planning skills, decision-making skills, team working skills, confidence/autonomy and numeracy. Five of these six most frequently demanded soft skills that employers require are also being amongst those skills developed to a greater extent in youth organisations, the exception being numeracy.


These soft skills are seen as a key element for successful job performance. Certain personality traits are also found to be important components of these skills and competencies, contributing to their development.  For example, sense of initiative and pro-activity are traits associated with confidence/autonomy and entrepreneurship. Employers do also have a positive attitude towards young people’s experience in youth organizations. Employers however stress a special emphasis on the way of presenting the skills and competences (what they present, how they present it has more impact than what is written on the paper) acquired during the participation in youth work, which is an area where there is still room for lots of improvement.


In youth work, we have the instrument of the youth pass at European level,  a lot of countries have own national recognizing tools for competences, and each young person can use the European CV format (the Europass CV) for presenting the skills and competences towards employers. But only few still know, how to work effectively with it (e.g. what to present if I have already Youthpass from 6 different events).


This goes in line with the recommendation of the European Youth Forum to work further on the transitioning to employability: there is a need to greater guidance and coaching for young people so that they are better able to present effectively the skills and competences they develop in the youth sector in job applications and that they are able to better understand how these skills may be applied in working environments, and can contribute to the performance of specific job-related tasks.


Young workers should be made more aware about the value that employers place on the skills and the competencies developed in the youth work, and youth workers can be trained in how to support the young people they work with, in this topic. That is the central focus for a project we would like to develop.



During the preparatory meeting, the team started by listing the needs perceived in the field in orderto define the projects' objectives and strategies.


Needs of youth workers

  • To enable young people to reveal what their talent and potential is.

  • To get motivation to pursue young people to get these competences they need to reach their dreams.

  • To provide Concrete tools to work with it, like session lay outs, methods, models of interventions, programmes for youth workers.

  • Make youth workers understand the relevance of their work, in terms of the values, being proud of being able to help youth to develop in their life.



Needs of young people

  • To increase self awareness about my competencies gained, the evidences of those, and what I’m lacking + self-confidence of articulating what I can, but also what I cannot: realistic self-awareness (e.g the job applicant who was the cook in a summer camp in a job interview: what did you gain that i can use as employer in my office?).

  • Young people also being proud about what they did, and what they learnt there, and to express that to employers or to anyone.

  • People/job applicants do not have models to compare themselves with other candidates: they do not know (how to articulate) what they know and can; to recognize what they can, in terms of skills, self esteem, ,… but this also in the frame of what is the reality.


Need of the YW sector and society at large

  • To shift the paradigm from 2 worlds to 1 world: YW and employers world.

  • More evidence based youth work.

  • Shift from prevention activities (to keep the youngsters busy tot hat they don’t harm) to development the potential of young people (conscious development).


Needs of the E+ programme

  • Projects that would not just rename the same methods, but have specifically approaches towards employability.

  • Real change in future projects.

  • Changing attitude of the role of youth work towards employment: e.g. in EVS they get more skills, and people say that this increases employability, but what could be the extra effort to gain more out of it, to focus more towards the employer’s needs? (the bridge: changeling towards the competencies they need  in interviews towards employers.

  • How to bring the youth pass from an instrument with generic wording 8 key competencies into concrete serving (for employment) specific gained competencies relevant in terms of bridging youth work with the employment sector (and others).


Needs of the employers

  • To have applicants that can articulate better the competencies, not in generic wording, to articulate examples into their work context.

  • To be better in promoting what they know and can, for in the work context (how can I as employer benefit from your skills you gained).



With these need in mind the aims and objectives stablished were:




  • To support youth workers in enabling young people to better assess and express their competences for employment purposes.



  • To enable youth workers to help young people to become self aware about their competencies, to show evidence of those, and to recognise spaces for further development.

  • To inspire and increase capacity of youth workers to develop activities with the focus of employability.

  • To prepare youth workers to help young people articulate, adapt and transfer the description of their competencies into different working contexts.

  • To provide/develop concrete tools for youth workers to use with their target group to work the self-awareness of competencies relevant for employability.

  • To increase competencies about assessing impact of youth work activities towards employability.




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