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Challenges and Opportunities of Youth Information and Counselling in a Digital Era
Date du début: 1 janv. 2016, Date de fin: 31 mai 2016 PROJET  TERMINÉ 

Youth Information is a prerequisite to youth participation. In many European countries, youth information and counselling are provided systematically and with professionalism, on a daily basis, to ensure that young people are enabled to make informed choices and live their own life with autonomy and independence. Koordinaatti is protagonist on a European scale of the development of youth information and took an initiative to organise a seminar aiming at analysing the meaning, impact, and evolution of youth information and counselling in the last 30 years. The seminar was an opportunity to overview the major achievements in the field and the challenges at stake for ensuring young people’s access to rights, effective promotion of youth information services, and provision of services matching the information needs of young people in the digital age. The seminar, lasting two days, gathered prominent figures that have dynamically worked in the past 30 years and who are active at the moment in developing youth information in Europe, as well as youth information workers with substantial experience with innovative communication methods and tools. The seminar gathered totally 49 participants in Helsinki, Finland on 19-21 April 2016. Participants were from 13 different countries. The main goals of the project was to evaluate the development of youth information and counselling in the last 30 years and to identify common and new challenges ahead in its development in a digital era, as well as possible solutions and approaches to overcome them. During the seminar it was found out that the historical evolution of Youth Information and Counselling can be viewed from different angles: practical-political and European-national-local levels. It was also clearly stated that European wide networking, learning from each others, sharing and supporting is important and the added value of European network over the last 30 years and it still bring. Important conclusion of a keynote speaker was: “There is no youth policy without youth information”. Participants familiarized not only with the challenges and opportunities of the digital age in youth information and counselling but identified overall strategies as well as individual tools to successfully meet new expectations. Participants had possibility to get understand and assess the needs and challenges faced in the development of youth information in Europe in the digital age, learn from past and present issues, as well as good practices, about overcoming new challenges, and identify synergies with partner organisations to successfully find solutions. Seminar concluded that Digital era has brought new information tools and channels to make communication with young people more effective, but the essential needs of young people remain very similar over decades. Online forms of information and communication tools need still to be embedded in the provision of Youth Information and Counselling services, but offline forms of communication and face-to-face interactions cannot be totally replaced by digital environments, they are complementary and cannot be dissociated. Important conclusion of the seminar was that Digital youth information work should not be an aim in itself, but a medium to reach our goals. In discussions on ongoing activities and current topics the radicalization was debated. All participants saw that youth information services have an important role in preventing radicalization in forms of informing young people on their rights. During the seminar several kind of methods were used, such as gallery walking, story-telling, open space, world cafe and visual graphic recording to ensure the broadest possible engagement of participants. Also use of social media tools were integrated in several methods to give participants ideas how to use digital technology in seminars. All the participants were satisfied with the content and used methods. Participants reported that they had either got new ideas and practices to use in their work or/and new information about digital youth information done in different organisations around Europe. Many of the participants also got new partnerships to their existing projects. Also new projects were developed during the seminar, specially in the open space -part of the seminar.



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