Recognition of youth worker/s was more than a training course and networking seminar. This project that had only 5 working days had a big mission. 35 youth workers with different backgrounds and level of experience have come together to start the process of changing International Youth work and getting the youth worker profession recognized on a European level.
After getting to know each other and checking to which extent and how important and represented youth work is in every country all of the organizations found similarities concerning the lack of recognition of this important profession. Later we shared insights and exchanged about the work of their organizations and started developing new partnerships.
The next day we were learning how to advocate and lobby for a new occupation on the national and on the European level and shared the tools and other know-how for dealing with crisis situations on youth projects. We also discussed the new program European Solidarity Corps and the opportunities that are there for our countries and NGOs. To prepare for the next day we were brainstorming about the needs and requirements necessary for high quality work. We were dreaming away in the Youth worker Utopia about the ideal conditions for our occupation.
The most important day came and we worked on making the White paper, a document with recommendations that we will deliver to the head of the youth department of Erasmus+ Robert France, which will then recommend it to the European Commission. The next days were focused on the topics of Refugees, radicalized youth and how to include these groups in the Erasmus+ program more. We even had an expert joining us online via Skype call to explain the process of radicalization and where we can educate ourselves more. One of the topics that we were working on in the form of debate was the nationalism and the aftermath of Brexit. We were introduced into the domination paradigm and how it is being used to convince people to blindly follow one idea. Besides the interesting workshops, all of the participants had the opportunity to present their country by cooking their traditional food, which was a completely new experience for many participants.
This project addressed so many important issues and topics and the best part is that it is just the start of an important process of recognition of youth work and youth workers.