Youth Information: The Backbone of a Successful Youth Strategy

Youth Information: The Backbone of a Successful Youth Strategy

Youth Information: The Backbone of a Successful Youth Strategy

Wed, Jun 7th, 2017

Katarzyna Kurzeja is the Youth Information Officer with Letterkenny Youth Information Centre, Donegal Youth Service. Katarzyna recently represented Eurodesk Ireland at the ‘Youth Information: the backbone of a successful Youth Strategy’ European conference during European Youth Week in Brussels on 02 May 2017.  She reports on her experience at the conference and presents her key insights from the event.

‘The Backbone of a Successful Youth Strategy’

In May I had an opportunity to attend the ‘Youth Information: The Backbone of a Successful Youth Strategy’ conference on behalf of Eurodesk Ireland. Brussels welcomed me with beautiful sunny weather and a great deal of excitement. It was my very first time in Belgium, not to mention participating in this kind of event.

I was one of the panelists discussing current needs, limitations and expectations in youth information provision, along with Safi Sabuni, President of the Erasmus Student Network “Mov’in Europe” initiative; Celine Dawans, Eurodyssée Coordinator; and Alicia Medina Segura, Eurodyssée trainee.

Our professional backgrounds, our experience of working with young people, and a proactive approach helped us to create an inclusive environment and most meaningful discussion.  During the panel discussions we talked about the ways we can ensure equal distribution of mobility opportunities.

Face-to-Face Youth Work

As an experienced Youth Information Officer and Eurodesk multiplier, I mainly focused on the importance of face-to-face contact with young people. As much as we all appreciate new technologies and online tools, we sometimes tend to forget about the power and the importance of relationships that we build with other people every day. Working in the Information Centre provides many insights into the areas where we can and should improve our information dissemination. It is worth remembering that it is not only the form of information provision that is important: it is crucial to talk about the quality of services provided to young people.

Effective Information Provision

We are talking about teaching young people how to effectively process information; how to facilitate a whole process starting with finding required information, delivering it with the highest quality, and getting feedback that clearly shows full comprehension of the given topic. Only when we are aware of these information provision skills and we are able to use them, can we talk about equal distribution of mobility opportunities. Moreover, we are also talking about the ability to adapt European initiatives and services to the actual needs of national, regional and local audiences, taking into consideration any possible geographical limitations.  Only through this method can we guarantee success.

Providing a Quality Service

And what do we mean by success?  By successful outcomes I mean the young person who is fully benefiting from the information; the young person who is achieving their unique potential, and who is able to disseminate the information to other people using natural, unforced channels of communication.

Very often Youth Services in Ireland are given ideas regarding national events, such as the annually organised ‘Time to Move’ event, but it is entirely up to each region how we organise and deliver the core message to local youth. In every county there are various factors influencing a choice of delivery methods. Letterkenny Youth Information Centre is located in North-West part of Ireland in County Donegal. Compared to Dublin or the Galway area, Donegal is a typical rural area:

  • inhabitants have limited access to public transport
  • network coverage is not always available in all locations
  • young people who want to participate in the events organised by Donegal Youth Service must very often drive long distances to get to Letterkenny.

It is important to consider all these factors when planning information provision. And once again, the quality. Without quality service, without quality information and quality in the delivery method, we cannot talk about quality in the distribution of mobility opportunities.


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