Erasmus+ : Developing Europe-wide youth policy

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Erasmus+ is a funding project run by the European Union, which began in January 2014 and will run until 2020, to cover the areas of education, training, sport and youth. It replaces the Youth in Action programme through which IARS had received funding for the past three years. With its budget of almost 15bn euros, the Erasmus+ project aims to 'modernise education, training and youth work across Europe' and to 'provide opportunities for over 4 million Europeans to study, train, gain work experience, and volunteer abroad'. It will also support pan-European partnerships between organisations relating to the fields of education, training and youth.

IARS' Erasmus + (KA3) Project Background

As a pan-European social policy network with expertise in youth matters, IARS developed a series of strategic aims, in response to the 2010-18 Youth Strategy. These aims will be delivered through our Erasmus + grant and programme. In particular:

  1. “Empower and enable young people, particularly those with fewer opportunities, to influence, shape and inform policy and practices that affect them, the media and other stakeholders in the youth field at a European level.
  2. Provide youth-led policy development, research and voice to the youth-led sector and young people at local, national and European levels.
  3. Work with governments and statutory bodies (nationally & European) to ensure that youth issues and the views of the youth-led sector are heard and disseminated.
  4. Pilot new ideas in order to demonstrate new models, opportunities and emerging good practice for the benefit of young people and the youth-led sector.
  5. Act as a European network that enables young people and the youth-led sector to communicate with each other, work together and share best practice with the ultimate goal of encouraging debates on youth policies affecting local, national and European matters and practices.
  6. Build bridges between young people from different communities and countries, and encourage them to find out what unites rather than divides them. Promote inter-cultural learning and understanding and encourage youth exchanges and voluntary services.
  7. Engage young people at risk of exclusion into educational and skills development through non-formal education, tailored training and support programmes, provide accreditation options, internships and the IARS Annual Youth Awards”.

The young people at IARS saw the Erasmus+ programme as a unique opportunity to continue the work done under the Youth in Action scheme, and contribute further to European citizenship, youth leadership and empowerment agendas across Europe. IARS' contacts throughout Europe and its user-led nature make it ideally placed to deliver the aims of the project.

Sarah Champion MP said: “It is fantastic to hear that IARS have received another year of funding for their youth programmes.  I have seen this work first hand, and it is a real inspiration to see young people at the heart of policy and campaigning.  In today’s society where youth unemployment is high, student loans are being sold off, and funding is being cut to colleges, it is more important than ever that young people have organisations like IARS helping get their voice heard.”

At the heart of the project will be young people, particularly focusing on those that face certain obstacles or challenges in their lives (such as economic, health, or cultural). Their work will primarily target European policy-makers and governments, as well as the media, youth organisations and other European networks. We will also be able to contact a wide array of organisations and individuals across Europe through our partnerships with orther organisations.

Project Updates

The project runs from 1 April 2014 - 31 March 2015. A Press Release was circulated announcing the official launch of the programme. On the 20th August 2014, The programme will hold in patnership with the youth-led 99% Campaign the annual IARS Research and Youth Leadership Awards.

The IARS Erasmus + (KA3) programme offers to all young people pan-European free activities such as visits and exchanges abroad, events, the IARS Research and Youth Leaderships Awards, delivering international speeches, getting involved in IARS' governance through the Youth Advisory Board, engaging with the media, online blogs, volunteering and accredited internships and training. To express an interest in taking part ni the programme's activities email contact@iars.org.uk 

IARS and the 99% Campaign are represented at the  Expert Seminar entitled mapping of barriers to social inclusion for young people in vulnerable situations’, on the 30th – 2nd October 2014 at the European Youth Centre in Strasbourg to showcase IARS work as a good example of practice in promoting the voices of vulnerable young people and supporting them to achieve change from the ground.

Case studies that will be presented 

How the project fulfils our mission

The two key aims of the IARS Erasmus + programme are;

  1. To raise stakeholder awareness of European policy agendas in youth, the EU Youth Strategy and other sector specific policy agendas.
  2. To boost stakeholder participation in the field of education, training and youth.

The programmes activities directly link with IARS's history and statutory obligations. In 2001, young people from accross Europe and under the direction of Dr. Theo Gavrielides, came together to set up an informal European network focusing on developing and delivering bottom-up youth policy that represents the views and interests of young people in their diversity at a European level.

This programme will continue the work started under the Youth in Action project, aiming to inspire feelings of solidarity and citizenship among young people across Europe, and involve them in future policy-making decisions. It will also raise awareness of European youth issues, among the wider community, and encourage higher levels of personal development among young people.

 

This programme is funded by the EU under the 2014-0445/001-001 agreement.