The European Solidarity Corps is the new European Union initiative which creates opportunities for young people to volunteer or work in projects in their own country or abroad that benefit communities and people around Europe. It has a proposed overall budget of €341.5 million over the period 2018-2020.
It builds upon, and has been piloted in, the European Voluntary Service (EVS) element of Erasmus+ as well as other EU funding programmes. The plan proposes that Erasmus+ National Agencies will manage the European Solidarity Corps in each country. A separate Call for Proposals and Programme Guide will be released later in the year.
How does it work?
After completing a simple registration process on the European Solidarity Corps portal, participants can be selected to join a wide range of activities. These activities will be run by organisations which have been checked and accredited to run Solidarity Corps projects.
Over 53,000 young people have signed up to the European Solidarity Corps since its launch in December 2016. The new matching tool, the Placement Administration and Support System (PASS), allows accredited organisations to search this database for participants.
Currently, organisations can apply for funding through one of eight existing EU funding programmes including Erasmus+, for volunteering activities between Programme Countries.
Please note that in the case of such volunteering activities within Programme Countries under Erasmus+, organisations must select volunteers from the pool of young people registered in the European Solidarity Corps when applying for funding for the 2018 Call.
If you successfully apply for funding via Erasmus+ you will be granted access to the database of potential participants. If your organisation is already accredited under Erasmus+ for EVS then it is already automatically able to access the pool of young people registered to the portal and search for participants for projects.
Should your organisation have ongoing 2016 or 2017 EVS projects, the National Agency would strongly recommend encouraging existing volunteers to register on this tool and linking with them, enabling participants to benefit from on-line materials for learning and development, post placement support and community building activities including possible alumni activities.
What organisations can take part?
The European Solidarity Corps is open to a wide range of organisations to run projects. These include government organisations, municipalities, non-government organisations and companies. Organisations can be of all sizes, from big multinational companies to a small NGOs working in a local community. The projects run by these organisations must be on solidarity-related topics.
Through the European Solidarity Corps, all organisations looking for volunteers, employees or trainees for solidarity-minded projects can have an easy, single-point access to information, placement and recruitment services. Moreover, the pool of motivated young people will be much broader than the typical local or national radius.
In order to participate, organisations will need to subscribe to the European Solidarity Corps Mission and its Principles and to adhere to the European Solidarity Corps Charter that sets out the rights and responsibilities during all stages of the solidarity experience.
Organisations which are not currently involved with the programmes supporting the European Solidarity Corps will need to apply for accreditation.
European Solidarity Corps projects
The types of projects that the European Solidarity Corps could support include:
- Reception and integration of refugees and migrants
- Citizenship and democratic participation
- Disaster prevention and recovery
- Environment and natural protection
- Health and wellbeing
- Education and training
This list is not exhaustive, and could be amended as the initiative is developed.
Who can join the Solidarity Corps?
Young people aged between 18 and 30 years old who have registered on the European Solidarity Corps portal. They must be nationals or legally residing in one of the European Union Member States, or the following countries: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Turkey, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
Registration is possible from the age of 17, but young people cannot start an activity until they are 18. Participants must complete their activity before they turn 31.
Benefits for young people who join
Taking part in a European Solidarity Corps project will be a significant achievement for any young person. It will be an asset when applying for a job and it will help you should you apply for higher education. The European Solidarity Corps could be a new opportunity for you to engage in a meaningful activity which could prove to be a stepping stone into employment.
After participating in a project you will be entitled to receive a certificate that documents your participation. You could use this when applying for jobs or further learning.
As well as being useful for your future career prospects, you will receive a package of other benefits, which will vary depending on the type of project that you undertake. It will also depend on whether you are participating in the Volunteering or Occupational parts of the Corps.
If you decide to volunteer, you will not receive a wage, but will on the other hand be entitled to travel, lodging and subsistence expenses for the duration of the activity. You will receive relevant training before you start and after you arrive on site.
For participants doing an apprenticeship or a traineeship, there will, in some countries, be an employment contract established in accordance with the national regulations of the hosting country. A subsistence allowance will be provided.
For participants that are recruited for a job placement, there will always be a formal labour contract and a wage in accordance with local laws, regulations and collective agreements.
Find out more
For more information individuals and organisations can refer to the European Solidarity Corps frequently asked questions on the European Union website.