We are thrilled to share exciting insights from the strategic youth partnership project “AlwaysON for Youth,” co-financed by the European Union through the Erasmus+ Program. This groundbreaking initiative was set to boost the capacity of youth organisations across Europe, enabling them to provide extensive and intensive support to young people, including vulnerable youth, through digital youth work and digital inclusion and safety practices.
The heart of the project lies in the collaboration of experts from five organisations, who have meticulously crafted a series of tools to aid youth workers and educators in creating creative learning journeys for their beneficiaries. Best of all, these valuable resources are available for free, and we invite you to access them on the user-friendly youthwork.digital platform.
In spring the “European Digital Youth Work Toolkit” was presented to the wider public and policy makers in Brussels, Belgium. In one of the rooms of the European parliament the project partners, youth workers from across Europe, young people, academics and policy makers met to discuss the outcomes of the project. YMCA Europe, one of the pivotal partners in the project, with the support of theYouth Hub of the European Parliament hosted the event.
During the launch, a panel debate brought together representatives from the European Youth Forum, IT companies, researchers, young people and youth workers exploring ways to engage with young people focussing on inclusion, wellbeing and safety when it comes to digital youth work. Bringing together these different perspectives and insights helped us to better understand the complexity of the topic and confirmed our conclusion that it is very important to invest in training and support for youth workers to better cater for the needs of young people. The representatives of the European Parliament also presented the Youth Hub of the European parliament and the possibilities for young people to engage with Europe. Their user-friendly website, https://youth.europarl.europa.eu/home.html, provides valuable information for young people and youth workers.
The enthusiasm and positive reception for the MOOC course and gamification pack have been overwhelming. Designed to provide practical and relevant solutions for digital safety, inclusion, and well-being among young people, these tools are poised to become invaluable assets for youth workers and educators throughout Europe.
At the heart of the AlwaysON for Youth consortium lies an unwavering commitment to empower young people with the essential skills and resources they need to flourish in an increasingly digital world. By harnessing technology and adopting innovative learning approaches, we are nurturing the next generation of European digital youth workers, ready to make a lasting impact on the lives of our youth.
Apart from developing tools for youth workers, the project also set up a “digital community of youth workers” with the aim to create a space where practitioners can share experiences and learn from each other. Monthly online gatherings around specific topics related to digital youth work were held and brought together more than 100 youth workers from across Europe. Finally an in-situ training program for youth workers was held in Bulgaria to deepen the understanding of digital youth work and to test some of the tools to be developed. The diversity of backgrounds fostered an engaging exchange of ideas and experiences, fostering a safe and enriching space for all.
We are equally excited to introduce our research report which brings together the findings of more than 100 interviews with youth workers and young people and the results of an online questionnaire which was widely spread to look into the consequences of the covid-19 pandemic on young people and their participation in youth work. This report not only provides invaluable perspectives but also offers practical recommendations for NGOs and decision-makers empowering them to make informed decisions in support of youth. It also mentions how Erasmus+ funding schemes can support digital youth work development and digital wellbeing and safety for young people.
For those eager to explore further, the gamification pack comprises five user-friendly games and tools, adeptly addressing various topics, including digital well-being, cyberbullying, and inclusion. We believe these tools will become essential assets for youth organisations and practitioners committed to promoting digital safety and inclusion.
Additionally, the MOOC course offers an immersive experience into the realms of digital inclusion and safety in youth work. This comprehensive course covers an array of modules, thoughtfully crafted for youth workers, educators, students, and anyone championing the cause of young people in formal or informal settings.
All material is freely accessible via the project platform https://www.ymcaeurope.com/alwayson-for-youth-strategic-partnership/
The Always On for Youth project provided a unique opportunity for CCIVS to collaborate with YMCA. This cross-network initiative coordinated by YMCA Romania was a good learning experience for all and redefined the landscape of digital youth work, enabling young people to thrive in a world that is always ON!