In January 2019, loveLife sent a group of young people to participate in the Youth Exchange Leadership Skills (YELS) course, hosted by our partners Coop Madiba, in Italy. The training helped participants develop skills in the leadership and organisation of youth exchanges.
The YELS training course was organised as a precursor to a multinational youth exchange to be hosted by Madiba, called CreativItaly. The youth exchange, a new initiative within the Creativity family, will take place in the mountains surrounding Turin in June, 2019. The aim of this training course was to give participants the necessary skills and confidence to lead groups on youth exchanges, within the framework of Erasmus+, the European Unions youth initiative.
We were joined by our European partners including BAZE (Latvia), Kids in Action (Greece), Dacidava (Romania), MUYA (Malta), and Youth Work Midlands (Ireland). Additionally, we had the opportunity to meet new organisations including Zona Rossa and ProQvi.
Together we explored many of the aspects involved in leading a group of young people on a youth exchange. This included practical skills such as preparing a group for a youth exchange, identifying and addressing health and safety implications, national and international legal frameworks, and the competency model for youth workers .
Through a dynamic programme structured on the principles of non-formal learning, participants were able to practically and theoretically understand elements such as youth engagement, official reporting, evaluation and dissemination.
For this training course loveLife sent 4 participants. One was our International Training Coordinator, who set up our ‘Who Let The Bullies Out’ and upcoming ‘Humanities Hand’ training. The other three were emerging young leaders who have been instrumental in running the lovelife Café, and participating in the Beyond Boarders, and School of Staff programmes run by our Greek partner, Kids in Action. The feedback we have received from them is that it was an incredible experience, where they learned new things, built new networks, and gained a greater understanding of European citizenship. Jordan said “YELS was a great experience, many of the people were able to share their knowledge and wisdom with me.” Stephen said “I discovered new skills but I also discovered new confidence to lead groups and step outside my comfort zone”.
The discoveries and information we gained from YELS is already feeding into our future planning here at loveLife. Firstly, we have started advanced preparations for our Humanities Hand training course where the youth work competencies will be shared in the context of working with those who support refugees and migrants in Europe. Secondly, we have started to select our group of participants for the CreativItaly youth exchange. They will continue to develop the knowledge gained with our international partners. Finally, all of these experiences will feed into the planning and delivery of the next CreativityUK.