Challanges of the future Youth information
Youth information is one of the fundamental services for youth in Europe. Every day many young people address to these services to solve their doubts in many fields such as health, gender, career, studies, mobility projects, housing…
The last years the access to information has changed considerably due to new technologies and Internet. Youngsters have access to a wide amount of information thought the Net (from their own telephone devices!) and they often don’t need to address physically to our centres. The decrease of users is considerable and growing.
Several challenges invite us, youth advisors and youth workers in general, to rethink our task in the actual context how we present the information and which tools do we use.
Besides the access of information we face several challenges, such as the economic and social crisis from the last years connected to an exorbitant youth unemployment rate, the need to emigrate to find better opportunities or improve their curriculum abroad, the access of disadvantaged youth to information services...
In this context, we would like to rethink youth information services, to adapt them to the new times, being more useful, functional and modern, to help young people to reach their goals. This is why STIR IT UP has born, to Refresh Youth information in Europe.
Stir It UP
Considering the need of rethinking and refreshing youth information to bring it closer to young people and their needs the project Stir It Up! Refreshing Youth Information in Europe was born. Stir it up is promoted by the City Council of Barcelona and the Centro de Información y Asesoramiento para Jóvenes (CIAJ) co-funded by the program Erasmus+.
The first contact took place in Barcelona from 20 to 25 of February 2017, and its meant to be the beginning of a long term cooperation. During these days, professionals from different countries had drawn the whole picture of youth information and established common following challenges in order to design actions and projects to fulfil them together:
- To reach all kind of young people, especially those with special needs or fewer opportunities, to involve them in the process of selecting the topics of information and to empower them to become independent, self-reliable and critic citizens.
- To keep up to date with information and new means of communication used by young people, to customize information for them and work cooperatively with other professionals while gaining recognition.
- To provide training and learning opportunity to youth information professionals while keeping motivation and enthusiasm in their job, with creativity, energy and inspiration.
- To improve youth information of and professionals social and political recognition, while finding a balance between young needs and political pressure.
- To improve physical and virtual spaces, making them available, accessible and attractive to young people.
Future is has to come, youth change and so their needs. As professionals we have to commit to adapt fast to help them along their transition to adult life.
Exchanging good practices and work cooperatively in international and local networks can help to reach solutions and the impact of those. Networks like Eurodesk, help professionals to exchange information and good practices and help them to keep up to day of many opportunities.
Nevertheless, we are not talking about information itself, because its everywhere. We are addressing to digital natives, also known as millennials, with free access to information and with high concerning levels of “information intoxication”. It’s not about informing any more, but help to select witch is de relevant and useful information.
The partners of the project provide some strategies and good practices related to new technologies, some topics of interest or local work to reach young people:
— Intercultura, Crij Bretagne and PIJ Châteaulin & Porzay (Dinan-Rennes-Châteaulin, France) contribute with their project “New digital media experimentations”, where youth advisors from different centres had experimented and created with social networks and new technologies: http://ij-bretagne.com/forum-innovations/
— L’MIT Netowork and ŠKUC Association (Lublijana, Slovenia) share their Radio show about youth information Maladinski Informator (Informador juvenil) where they speak of different topics of interest. http://radiostudent.si/dru%C5%BEba/mladinski-informator
— Jongeren Informatie Punt (JIP) Den Haag (De Hague, The Netherlands) Are using already 5 years their watsapp line, open every day of the week. They make turns to take the telephone home with them. Young people stay anonymous.
— WienXtra-jugendinfo (Viena, Austria) They explain their legal service to advice Young people with justice problems. They can use the service for free and stay anonymous.
— Informagiovani (Torino, Italy) Are providing space to organizations working with youth in different fields, in order to advice. Meanwhile they keep their information up to date and make strength their network.
Centro de Información y Asesoramiento para Jóvenes (CIAJ) (Barcelona, Spain) Share work with local organizations to reach Young people of the neighbourhood. In that way they are programming activities according to their needs and not the other way around.
While we put implement some of them, we invite other professionals to share their needs and work towards the future of youth information.
Written by Eurodesk Qualified Multiplier, Barcelona