Think tank to promote recognition of skills gained through youth exchange programmes and (youth) voluntary work

27 and 28 October 2011
Aarbergerstr. 3-5, Biel/Bienne, Switzerland

The most promising ideas (results of the conference)

About 100 persons took part in a think tank in Biel to reflect on and explore key issues and to look for solutions and share your own experiences. The Open Space method to be employed as well as the highly diverse group of participants excepted guaranteed that innovative and realistic ideas have been discussed and effective solutions were found.

Voluntary work gives young people confidence and a sense of responsibility, and also enables them to improve their social skills. Youth exchange programmes help young people become more open-minded and develop excellent intercultural skills. Not only young people, but also society in general consequently benefit from this.

But how can we convince people of this?

How can we raise awareness of the importance of skills acquired through youth work for employers and educational institutions? How can we raise young people's awareness of the importance of what they have learned? How can we make the benefits visible and communicable?

Invited were people who are interested in these questions and possible answers, as young people, youth work and exchange programme leaders, HR managers and representatives from education and politics to discuss these questions with us, to gain new insights and to develop ideas and projects. The participants' diverse backgrounds promised innovative ideas that are also practical and hands-on.

The best projects are implemented after the event. They will help make volunteering an attractive option for young people, and help remove any obstacles in their way of participating in youth exchange programmes. On 24 november we are discussing the results with all interested people on a follow-up-meeting.