Slovenia, and its capital Ljubljana in particular, is a fertile ground for non-governmental organisations addressing issues and challenges related with youth. ARS for Progress of People, acting as YouthMetre partner organisation and responsible for the organisation of 15 European Study Groups, was particularly glad to have the chance to meet young Slovenians. Moreover, this also represented an opportunity to meet a colleague and a friend: Martina, collaborator at Zavod Nefiks, a Ljubljana-based youth NGO.
Zavod Nefiks’ experience in youth employment, training and recognition of non-formal education activities dates back of years. Moreover, its continuous engagement with local youngsters (through training and incubators) made us confident that we would have meet interesting personalities.
The Slovenian SG took place in a beautiful meeting room in the centre of Ljubljana, gathering almost 15 young participants who are currently attending one of Nefiks’ Training courses on employment.
Since all participants were already familiar with national youth policies, we were happy to present and illustrate the YouthMetre e-tool with them as well as the information and tools related to the European Union’s framework.
All the young participants (average age: 26 years old) were looking for their first full employment. Hence, it did not surprise us that they individually considered Education & Training and Employment & Entrepreneurship as the most relevant Key Areas within the EU Youth Strategy for them. This selection also drove our Study Group towards a discussion of Mentoring Programmes or activities linking formal education institutions with the job market or the employment field.
Some participants advanced the idea to ask successfully employed young people to entertain some mentoring sessions with students or currently unemployed youngsters who would be interested to follow similar career paths. This would not only provide youngsters with the motivation that a success story usually conveys, but it may also provide them with hints and suggestions, otherwise uneasily accessible.
The Study Group attendees also decided to focus on the relationship between young Slovenians and the world, referring to the key area of Youth and the World.
According to our participants, Slovenian youth is usually interested and motivated to develop a knowledge on global topics. Moreover, on average they seem to enjoy multicultural experience and traveling. What’s missing is probably a proper fora to actually carry out debates and activities on global issues. All the same, participants perceive that there are not enough concrete possibilities for young people to participate in decision-making processes.
Finally, we would add an information not very well known outside Slovenia: Ljubljana has been elected as the 2016 European Green Capital.
The city earned such title thanks to the changes it reached in improving its air quality, nature, drinking water facilities, transport. Study Group’s participants show to be proud of their ecological capital, although they feel additional improvements are to be achieved.
For instance, they feel that there is not enough awareness of global ecologic issues among students in primary and secondary education. Hence, they retains that trainings, creative workshops, awareness-raising activities shall be put in place to highlights such problematic. Their proposals, available on the YM Map My idea for my community surprised us for their structure, feasibility and, most of all, for the passion and enthusiasm they hide.
The website greenljubljana.com states: “Ljubljana is a city that will surprise you and exceed your expectations. It is unique (…) in terms of hospitality and quality of life. Numerous changes have happened in a short period, which is one of the reasons Ljubljana has become European Green Capital 2016”.
The YouthMetre Team agreed with this statement. Ljubljana stunned us with its beauty, the warm hospitality and kindness of all the people we met, starting from Nefiks’ team, and we deem the even bigger changes are on Slovenian horizon.
Date of event: 15 November 2016
Location: Ljubljana (Slovenia)
Hosting Organisation: Zavod Nefiks
Coordinator: Ms. Martina Mrakovčić
Author: Elisa Bellotti