Helping young people at risk of social exclusion
The innovative 'Time for Change Europe' project will tackle some of the key challenges that young people in Europe are facing right now, that will also affect their long term future. Led by Possibilities NI, the project is aimed at young people, developed in the UK and will be transferred to other member states during its lifetime. This project addresses the needs of young people who are most at risk of being economically inactive, and are more at risk of social exclusion, by involving young people who are severely disadvantaged.
The 'Time for Change' project uses a unique blend of intensive one-to-one work group activities and challenging outdoor environments and activities to provide young participants with space away from their normal environment where they can start to consider the changes that they want to make to their lives.
Challenge for Youth developed this programme to work with young people from very disadvantaged areas of Belfast. Many of the young people had experienced conflict and some had been at risk of paramilitary violence. Other problems confronting young people who took part included family breakdown, severe poverty and problems with addictive or self-harming behaviours. Below you can view a presentation at the project from the Learning Networks event which took place in Cardiff on 3 December 2015.
Why is it 'Time for change'?
Young people who face particular social disadvantage are at even higher risk of not having access to/becoming removed from: education, training, employment, and active society – an objective that is a concern for all EU member states. Currently, 5.5 million young people are unemployed in the EU, meaning that 1 in 5 people under 25 who are willing to work cannot find a job. The unemployment rate among young people is over 20% – double the rate for all age groups combined and nearly 3 times the rate for the over-25s, and 7.5 million people aged 15 to 24 are currently neither in a job nor in education or training. In addition, due to Europe’s current economic climate, the mobility of learners and youth is of paramount importance and it could be argued that access to mobility is even more important for those facing the most disadvantaged and risk of social exclusion. In order to have access to mobility, however, young people must have the skills to enable them to undertake training, education, or work experience.
Through the transfer of the 'Time for Change' programme this project seeks to:
- create opportunities and address the needs of young people most at risk of becoming excluded from socio-economic activities;
- establish the basic core competencies needed to move into education, work, or training;
- directly address these issues by working with young people aged 16 – 25 who are most at risk or already defined in these categories.
As such this project strongly links to the Europe 2020 Strategy (including the headline education target), the Youth on the Move Agenda, and the European Youth Strategy while also ensuring that the most vulnerable young people don’t get left behind or become further socially excluded by new programmes and initiatives.
The 'Time for Change Europe' project aims to transfer this innovative programme to Germany, Spain and Lithuania so that the project will ensure the needs of those who are furthest away from opportunity will be addressed, ensuring a greater social equity and inclusion for young people across Europe while building an evidence base for this and similar youth programmes through research, piloting, and evaluation of the project. This project will also enhance the cooperation between youth organisations and organisation that work with young people in Europe by developing the international experience of young people, youth workers, and youth organisations in each of the partner countries.
This will develop the professionalism of all organisations involved in the project and deepen the European cooperation amongst organisations in the field of youth.
This partnership encourages synergies working across several fields while maintaining a strong focus on youth. The aim of this partnership is to encourage action at all levels and to utilise each partner’s unique skills and experiences to ensure the project is delivered and sustained to its full potential, giving them the opportunity to build capacity and to share knowledge and good practice.
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