This long-term Erasmus+ capacity building project is developed by Social and Youth Workers and its European partners and aims to increase recognition of voluntary youth work in society and among youth field employers, to acknowledge and validate youth volunteering in local, regional and national levels, develop volunteers' competences and link them to the labor market through validation of the skills and knowledge gained as a part of non-formal learning. The project started officially in January 2019 and will last till June 2020 having 2 capacity building, 2 mobility activities and a period of local awareness raising campaigns.
The aim of the first stage of the project Contact making conference is to provide a platform for youth workers, youth work managers, leaders, educators and volunteers of the partner organisations involved in the project to speak about, find similarities and differences of policies, legislation and laws in their countries on volunteer and paid youth work, voluntary labor regulations and existing national/local validation tools of competences acquired through youth work and non-formal education/learning. Partners had also aimed to get to know each other and discuss, set up how to cooperate and work together during the project’s lifetime and beyond.
Specific Objectives include:
• Get to know partners involved in this project, set up a common ground how to work and cooperate together within the project’s lifetime and beyond.
• Map the situation in partner countries on policies, legislation and laws on volunteer and paid youth work, voluntary labor regulations and existing national/local validation tools of competences gained through youth work and non-formal education/learning.
• Create working groups to plan and prepare the upcoming activities (Study Visit, Training Course, Local Campaigns).
The author and project manager of this project Diana Yeghiazaryan highlighted the importance of implementing such projects, as working on the recognition of youth work and non-formal learning/education is now a priority of European cooperation in the youth sector, in both the European Union and the Council of Europe. According to Diana: “Non-formal learning/education should be recognised for all the competences gained and its benefit for the well-being of the society and individuals, and not only for its contribution to employability and the labour market. In the youth field those, who work on a voluntary basis and who contribute to the well-being of young people in many ways should be recognized and appreciated. Such aims are supported by the Council of Council of EU Recommendation (2012/C 398/01) on the validation of non-formal and informal learning, which states that: "the validation of learning outcomes, namely knowledge, skills and competences acquired through non-formal and informal learning can play an important role in enhancing employability and mobility, as well as increasing motivation for lifelong learning, particularly in the case of the socio-economically disadvantaged or the low-qualified."
One of the main outcomes of the Conference was the mapping practice.
12 partners shared the situation of voluntary and paid youth work, recognition/validation mechanisms of competences in all 10 countries involved in the project. They talked about the differences and similarities of youth work in their countries/regions and organisations.
On March 4, the participants visited the National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia. The deputies of the RA NA “Bright Armenia” Faction Anna Kostanyan and Sargis Aleksanyan met with them.
The meeting went on in the Q&A format. The young people were interested in the youth policy being implemented in our country and youth participation in the electoral processes. Questions were voiced about the importance of the voluntary work, the need of law on voluntary labour, the problems of educational and youth fields after the revolution in Armenia.
Anna Kostanyan highlighted the role and significance of the youth in the development of our country, as well as their involvement in the ongoing public and political processes.
The President of the Federation of Youth Clubs of Armenia NGO Atom Mkhitaryan mentioned that the young people's participation in the electoral process has increased noting that the age of young decision makers in Parliament and Government reduced twice.
The guests visited the Museum of the parliament and were in the NA Session Hall.
Another meeting was with Zhora Sargsyan, the head of Labour and Employment Department of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs of RA. It was quite a productive discussion, as international partners had chances to ask questions to the practitioner and expert of the field while reflecting to their situation of volunteering in the non-governmental sector.
The other main outcome of this meeting was the developed 3 working groups, which decided the concrete objectives, dates and outlines of the Study Visit, Training Course and Local Campaigns.
The next stage of the project is the Study Session to Sweden. It will take place in June in city of Stockholm.