The project directly addresses objectives under the horizontal priority of social inclusion. The the project will provide young people from disadvantaged/ marginalised communities, with interactions and learning opportunities that enable them to better access information about training and education routes and to help them navigate these routes. Student ambassadors/ volunteers will work locally/ regionallyin the three countries with young people who have fewer opportunities, including young people from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds, with SENDs, ethnic minority groups, young people at risk of becoming NEET, from Roma communities and migrant backgrounds. Ambassadors/ volunteers themselves will be students from similar backgrounds and their engagement with the project will support their inclusion and sense of belonging in their universities/ colleges and schools. The project will promote tolerance, knowledge and understanding of these backgrounds and understanding of the challenges young people face amongst ambassadors/ volunteers and those working with them in different organisations (HEIS, FE colleges, Schools, Local Authorities, Non-formal learning providers, Careers advisers and Youth Workers).
The project will identify and disseminate good practice as well as face to face and online training resources for organisations and student ambassadors/ volunteers.
The proposed project directly addresses the priorities of engaging, connecting and empowering young people (EU Youth Strategy 2019-2027). Student ambassadors/ volunteers will be actively engaged in action research, literature reviews and dissemination projects. Action research projects will consider the particular needs of young people from local communities experiencing disadvantage and marginalisation; promoting understanding and the valuing of diverse groups and strengthening knowledge needed to support them (Erasmus+ Inclusion and Diversity Strategy, 2014). Projects willexplore ambassadors’/ volunteers’ learning needs in working with young people from these communities and good practice identified and lldisseminated. Training modules will also be developed that can be shared widely across formal and non- formal learning sectors, including HEIs, FE Colleges, Schools, Local Authorities, NGOs, Non-formal learning providers and Youth Work teams.
The project has direct and positive impacts for the groups of young people and the ambassadors/ volunteers they work with locally in each country and will reach cohorts of young people often neglected by institutional practices and agendas,. supporting them in accessing information about training and education routes and helping them to navigate these routes. Ambassadors/ volunteers will work directly in their local areas with young people who often have fewer opportunities. This work will contribute to promoting more inclusive participation in non-formal learning opportunities (2012/C 398/01) and education and training and support these young people in accessing qualifications needed for personal fulfillment and employment (2018/0008).
Many of the student ambassadors/ volunteers participating will themselves be drawn from diverse and disadvantaged backgrounds. This project supports their representation locally, regionally and nationally through their collaboration with project partners, promoting inclusive and democratic participation and their right to self-organise. Learning processes through ambassadors’/ volunteers’ involvement with the project directly fosters the development of citizenship competences. The project also has longer term implications for the ways that organisations work with ambassadors/ volunteers, promoting active engagement in developing policies and practices that effectively support young people from disadvantaged and marginalised groups.
The project will foster civic engagement amongst the ambassadors/volunteers who work locally with young people in each country. Student ambassadors/ volunteers, and the organisations working with them (including HEIs, Colleges, Schools, Local Authorities, Non-Formal Learning Providers, Careers Advisers and Youth Workers), will develop expertise in understanding the specific needs of local disadvantaged young people and of ways of working effectively with different groups in their locality. Additionally, the younger people who experience working with ambassadors can be motivated by their own participation to take on similar roles (Gartland, 2014), encouraging them to become actively engaged within their own communities.