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Way to Learn to Work Project  hosted 1st Transnational meeting hosted by Stichting Stimulansz  in Utrecht, Netherlands between September 5th and 6th 2013.

More than 30 delegates from across Europe took part in a youth employment conference in Holland recently to explore the barriers of making young people ‘work ready’.

But also to launch a new trans-national partnership to exchange best practices, ideas, and opportunities to support young unemployed people.

The Dutch Foundation of Innovation Welfare 2 Work based in Papendrecht (nearby Rotterdam), and Stimulansz, based in Utrecht, hosted the new Euro-partnership.

The two-day conference looked at ways to support young people to connect with local employers, but also look at short-term educational programmes, and new ideas and policies to shape political strategies, and labour market practices in participating countries.

Organisations from several European nations participated in the conference including; Plymouth, Glasgow (UK), Dublin (Ireland), Papendrecht/Rotterdam, Utrecht (Holland), Cologne, Berlin (Germany), Canary Islands (Spain), Bucharest (Romania), Kortrijk (Belgium), Brescia (Italy) and Osijek (Croatia), where delegates gave presentations, shared ideas on how to improve the employment prospects for young people across the EU.

Pieter Van Schie, chief executive of Werkcenter who co-hosted the event, said: “The most valuable asset we have is our young people, and our conference was about setting the conditions on how we can support young unemployed people that is leaving millions of youths across Europe with no skills, no hope, and where youth unemployment in countries like Spain and Greece is over fifty percent.”

“The aims of the new partnership is to work with young people so they can gain work experience, support local schools around apprenticeship programmes, and look at formalised certificates that can aid further educational or employment advancements.”

Gerrit Jan Schep, director of Stimulansz, based in Utrecht, said: “Diverse delegations from across the EU attended the conference with the simple aim of cooperating at a European level - to make our partnership work for young people around the EU.”

Klaus-Dieter Paul, from German organization U-Bus, said: “It cannot be that we have a lost generation and the Utrecht event is a first of many to share best practices across the European Union, and to support our young unemployed to find work opportunities.”

Verena Hoheiser of Diakonie Michaelshoven, also based in Germany, added. “I’m taking a delegation of learners from Germany to Plymouth, and working with Almond Vocational Link that supports young students across Europe.

Our European partnerships are crucial to support people to improve their lives through the power of such trans-national exchanges.”

Werkcenter is looking to grow in the UK and already delivering projects in Glasgow and Edinburgh in collabouration with the Scottish Government, with an innovative small-scale placement project working with young 18-30 year olds looking to find work with local employers. That also takes youngsters to Europe to learn on a nine-week programme.

Mr Van Schie recently visited Plymouth on a fact-finding mission and is keen to work with other city providers, employers, and jobless youngsters.

Werkcenter is an independent social commercial company who’s operational in The Netherlands and recently in the United Kingdom (Aberdeen) that organizes work placements to tackle long-term youth unemployment with offices based in the heart of Utrecht’s and Rotterdam’s commercial hub . We coach young people into a job and life skills and matching them with job vacancies those employers are desperate to fill.

Alison Casey, from Casey’s Corner, and a UK city councillor who attended the Utrecht youth conference, added: “The two-day seminar was a great opportunity to swap best practices, identify quirky and vibrant initiatives that will support young people to find work placements, training, and jobs.”

The next participating conference will be held in Spain next month.

Anyone looking for more information can contact: http://www.way2learn2work.eu/


Group Discussion W2L2W with Young Participant Jasmijn


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The Way to Learn to Work project is funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.