Maastricht is not only known as the birthplace of the European Union, EU citizenship and the euro currency, after the Maastricht Treaty. Maastricht is also an affluent cultural center with a growing international student population.
Hence, which better town to visit to exchange views on European citizenship and on the opportunities put forward by the European Youth Strategy 2010-2018?
YouthMetre staff was indeed excited to entertain the Dutch Study Group in the city of Maastricht, in collaboration with Smile to the Future (STTF).
STTF is a non-governmental organisation founded in 2013 by a young European committed to social and humanitarian projects said Nando Ngandu, current President of STTF.
The Study Group was hosted in the beautiful -and brand new- office and co-working space of STTF. The location of the Study Group is emblematic of the fertile web of young NGOs and start-ups stemming from the engagement of young Dutch. Moreover, STTF’s co-working space follows a logic of socially profitable reutilization of dismissed buildings. In fact, the current headquarter of STTF was an old hospital, which fell into disuse and is now restored thanks to a private funder, who decided to convert large parts of the building into a public library, co-working spaces and offices for NGOs.
In such an inspiring and young location, the Study Group gathered together a group of engaged participants with profiles of international students or young workers (average age 24 y.o.), many of whom were active in the non-governmental or entrepreneurial fields.
The attendees proved to be particularly interested in non-formal education, bottom-up approaches to development, and the empowerment and self-motivation of people.
Banal to say, with such an audience, debates on topics as youth employment and inclusion flourished on their own. In particular, Dutch participants chose to delve into the topic of Social Inclusion, investigating and questioning current approaches to measure youth inclusion at the EU level. Attendants did not limit their analysis on the Indicators employed by the EU Youth Dashboard, but they also draw inspiration from the YouthMetre Good Practices’ Map, in order to draft and propose their own innovative projects’ idea on the topic of social inclusion.
From such discussions some exciting project’s ideas emerged.
– Why not to set up a platform shaped on the needs of certain categories of young NEETs, in order to support them through practical training courses?
Or, why not to develop a mentoring programme that clearly explains the courses and possible future opportunities offered by high schools and academic curricula? –
Several participants were also favourable to private-public partnerships, as some of them consider that Universities should develop, in cooperation with civil society organisations experienced in the youth field, programmes supporting students or newly graduates to enter the job market.
All these discussions and ideas confirmed the creative dialogue entertained by young people living in Maastricht. Moreover, it also corresponded well to YouthMetre’s objectives and values.
YouthMetre’s team is sure that from such a productive grounds will soon stem fruitful projects.
Date of event: 11 October 2016
Location: Maastricht (The Netherlands)
Hosting Organisation: Smile to the Future
Coordinator: Mr. Nando Ngandu
Author: Elisa Bellotti