You’re never too old to stop learning – and when you’re working with young people, you probably won’t get the chance! Youth workers are closely connected with the daily lives of young people, and the new social and technological realities that they face. Youth researchers, on the other hand, have extensive knowledge of the changing societal trends and structures that affect young people, but may have less direct contact with young people themselves.
This ‘division’ between youth work and youth research was described in a presentation at Maynooth University’s third International Youth Studies Conference by Dr Aurélie Mary of the ESA Research Network on Youth and Generation: “Both work with the same target group – young people - and seek solutions to assist youth. Nevertheless, a link is missing between the two institutions. They rarely communicate, exchange information or engage in cooperative work. Both are experts in their own sector, as well as a source of knowledge, and could easily collaborate in order to find solutions to support youth more adequately.”
Among the efforts to bridge this gap is a new NUI Certificate in European Youth Mobility Project Management, designed by Maynooth University and the Irish National Agency Léargas. This is the first Certificate programme specifically designed to develop expertise in both the theory and practice of European youth mobility projects. It’s intended for youth service managers, youth work practitioners and those who design and develop youth programmes. Its aim is to help all those interested in developing high quality international mobility projects--in particular Erasmus+ projects--to integrate them into the overarching strategies of their organisations.
The programme will be delivered from October 2015 to June 2016 in four modules of three days each, to allow for participation from people all across the country. It will blend project management practice and expert presentations along with direct contact with active youth organisations. The first three modules will cover National and European contexts, principles and practical skills, and mobility project management. The final module will be an integrated study visit to Europe, where participants will see youth work conducted in another country and engage directly with partners who have coordinated numerous youth mobility projects.
The programme also represents a blend of the academic and practical experience of Maynooth University and Léargas. Maynooth’s commitment to European youth work is evidenced by the award of the Jean Monnet chair to their director of Youth Research and Development, Maurice Devlin, in 2012. Léargas has provided practical training in mobility project management to youth workers for over two decades. Enabling youth leaders to deepen their understanding of European mobility and gain professional recognition for their achievement was consequently a strong objective for both organisations.
Those who complete the course successfully will receive an NUI accredited certificate, but more importantly will have an increased ability to provide access to mobility opportunities for young people. Anyone who has been involved in European mobility projects will know the impact they can have on young participants. Well designed, planned and implemented projects that make strategic use of Erasmus+ and similar programmes can increase that impact exponentially.
Through bringing together the expertise of our organisations, Maynooth University and Léargas hope to help bridge any gap between theory and practice and enable adult learners to provide the best possible experiences for our young people.
The NUI Cert is open to a maximum of 20 participants. Applications will be accepted until 5.00 pm on Tuesday 15 September 2015. To find out more, download the information leaflet. To apply, visit SALTO.
Written by Charis Hughes, Léargas Communications Officer