When we started the research, the goals were to find out more about the topic, to collect good case practices, to identify important factors that influence the youth work with people with fewer opportunities that will help us create methods that we can all use in the future work with this group of youngsters. One of the additional goals was to learn about the topic more since there is not a lot of bibliography and practical examples available in real life.
However, we weren’t looking at the big picture, of the process as a whole. “The map” was an outcome, that came out naturally when we tried to describe the whole process.
We started with describing the target group – what is a young person with fewer opportunities (and here took all kinds of fewer opportunities, having in mind that the level of difficulty also determines the appropriate processes from the youth workers). In this group we were talking about young people with physical disabilities, living in rural areas, being early school dropouts, delinquents or even drugs users. The starting point of the map represent a young person with fewer opportunities that is stuck at one place, unable to move on, unable to see the future and the path that she/he is supposed the walk.
Getting the idea, or as we want to call it “catching the spark”, was only one of the steps. Therefore we saw a need of describing all the other steps are on the way.
“Utilizing their talents” or “Finding out something they are good at” was something that was common talking with the people in our research. Therefore we concluded that the end of our path on the map is the discovered and channelized talent of the young person throughout a form of organization (company, NGO, group or other sort of organization).
We have identified many of the steps of our map. Encouraging the young person to start thinking about what kind of talents she/he has, how does they want to utilize those talents, the idea of making an organization around the talents were just few of the steps.
Once we draw the map, and we started talking with the youth workers in five different countries (Germany, Croatia, Greece, Macedonia and Luxembourg), saw that in all countries there is some kind of system that either 1. Supports young people to start a business (in most countries) and 2. Youth or social workers that are working with YPWFO. However, our finding was, that in most cases (there were few exceptions) the youth workers had no competence encouraging them to think in entrepreneurial way, or there were incubators or start up organizations that are totally equipped to support a young person to start a business and utilize their skills, but have to knowledge or skills in working with young people with fewer opportunities.
Here we have to highlight that the scope of the research was quite narrow, mostly talking with governmental organizations, support organizations and social centers.
However, this has triggered the curiosity of all players involved: from the social centers, to the NGOs, to the startups to try to find a way how to connect there two. To create the missing link in the whole story.
We have concluded our research with the need of doing further research, and talking about concrete solutions. Also we need to include more or less “steps” in the map, depending on the young person in the concrete situation (which is determined on individual level). More work needs to be put in figuring out how to provide the necessary support to the young people.
And in order to do that there are several steps:
- Getting feedback on the map. Creating several scenarios of the map, that will be discussed with experienced youth workers/entrepreneurs in the field
- Testing the map with concrete examples – starting a whole process with the youngsters that might take up to several years. Taking notes about the findings, and channelizing them into solutions.
- Finish a wider scope of a research about best case practices and moreover practical situations. This is to be highlighted because some institutions have told us that they are “equipped” to work with this kind of cases, but when we asked how many young people they supported or actually started their business and are still working, the answer was that there are none.
- Come out with concrete solutions, that would be suggested to the European commission, with common practices that would be beneficial for all countries that was to bridge this gap that is existent in nearly all countries.