Fighting youth exclusion through social innovation

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Núria Comas (Fundació Pere Tarrés)
  • NEET U
    NEET U.
  • Capacity-building seminar in Shrewsbury, University of Chester / Photograph: NEET U
    Capacity-building seminar in Shrewsbury, University of Chester / Photograph: NEET U.
  • Project participants in the capacity-building seminar / Photograph: NEET U
    Project participants in the capacity-building seminar / Photograph: NEET U .
  • Together for NEET
    Together for NEET.

NEET U, a project funded by the Erasmus+ programme, aims to change Not in Employment, Education or Training (NEET) situations by re-activating experienced seniors.

How can social change be brought about through new citizen-driven alliances in the communities by mobilizing available resources? 9 European organisations have joined together in order to give a response. 

NEET U combines two important social and educational challenges: re-activate the increasing number of experienced seniors with social and educational potential to help counter the dramatic increase in depressed social situations among young people, with the mission to generate social and educational value from the dynamic interaction between these two “out of the economy” population groups.

This is a Strategic Partnership project funded by the Erasmus+ programme (Key Action 2), which started in September 2015 and will end in March 2018. It is implemented in 5 different territories of experimentation: Romania, Slovenia, Italy, Spain and France.

What is the philosophy of NEET U?

Seniors work together with NEET youth in order to help in achieving their mission. The premise of the project is that NEET youth in dead-end situations, who only have resources from very limited and closed circles of society, cannot simply change the situation and break out of the closed circles through making a big jump. Experienced seniors act as brokers by breaking practical and emotional barriers.  

What is different from other mentoring-based programmes for young people at risk?

Seniors are understood as brokers and not as mentors. Emotional relations are not necessary; instead, the relationships built with the young people are working relations and will be created along and through practical collaboration in concrete missions.

In addition, no special professional or educational background is needed to become a broker. Often good brokers are strong drivers of initiatives, based on a variety of experiences and based on a very action and change-oriented mentality.

NEET at the core of social innovation

In addition to NEET U, several other European projects are currently approaching youth exclusion by focusing on NEET. Together for NEET, a project also funded by the Erasmus+ programme, aims to create synergies between diversified stakeholders (education institutions, youth sector, labor market) in order to explore together effective measures and interventions for the better reintegration of NEET youth in society, education and labor market. One of the objectives of this project is to identify the experiences carried out in Europe within this framework. You can find a brief description of the projects on its website

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