Brighter futures for the youth of Central Europe

Friday, 23 March 2018

Australia and Europe may be on opposite sides of the world, but a ground breaking international collaboration is bridging the gap in employment outcomes for young people in Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

An international approach to capacity building

The Capacities of youth workers on the field of youth employment services project kicked off in 2016, with funding from the European Commission’s Erasmus+ programme. The collaboration aims to improve youth employment outcomes in Central Europe by sharing best practice between participating countries.

We have worked closely with The University of Economics (Bratislava, Slovakia), Palacky University (Olomouc, Czech Republic), Youth Advocacy Centre (Australia), Anglicare Australia, and 14 highly skilled youth workers to deliver the project. As the project seeks to drive major changes to youth employment outcomes, the criteria for applicants was strict; a minimum Master’s qualification, high proficiency in English, and a drive to prevent and reduce youth unemployment.

Setting the scene in Slovakia

In May this year, representatives from EPIC Australia, Youth Advocacy Centre and Anglicare Australia visited Slovakia to deliver a diverse range of workshops. The week-long intensive formed the fundamentals of a new framework of practice in youth employment, and set the scene for a reciprocal visit to Australia.

An adventure Down Under

EPIC proudly hosted our international guests for an immersive experience of Australia’s community sector. The fortnight delivered a combination of workshops, on the job training, and site visits with a focus on individual case management. We partnered with a range of non-profit organisations and businesses in Brisbane that mainly deliver youth work, disability services and aged care.

The attendees gained a firsthand experience of how individual case management can operate in different situations. This knowledge will prove invaluable in communicating with participants in group and community settings across Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

But it wasn’t all work and no play! Our overseas guests were also treated to a range of authentic Australian experiences including surfing, whale watching and a trip to Australia Zoo!

Driving change at all levels

The team of youth workers participated in a range of ‘train the trainer’ and job shadowing activities to enhance their own service delivery and to also empower them to share their knowledge in their local communities.

The project will culminate in the delivery of new university-level curriculum to skill the next generation of youth workers in individual case management with an employment focus. A final conference will also be taking place in March in Europe.