The Youth Guarantee is an initiative central to EU youth policy and is meant to provide a guarantee that all young people will be able to enter into working life and that job market opportunities will increase for so-called disadvantaged young people. Marianna Georgallis (EYF), Fabienne Métayer and Elodie Fazi (Directorate-General for Education and Culture) outlined the scheme and were available for queries and comments.
IJAB Head of Unit and Eurodesk President Reinhard Schwalbach presented the "Guidance" concept discussion paper for Eurodesk. In particular, he promoted the development of a bespoke Eurodesk Guidance Service that would further develop its information and advisory provision. The goal is to not only offer advice to young people from the "sending" point of view but also work towards including the "hosting" perspective within Eurodesk services. This new service is to help eliminate mobility barriers for young people and increase their willingness to use existing opportunities for working or studying abroad.
Much time was spent learning about new Eurodesk services and tools for use in day-to-day work. Introduced were: a new initiative for advanced internal training, plans for a new database for funding programmes, and the Last-Minute-Exchange, which is unique within Europe and provides current offers by exchange organisations (based on Eurodesk Germany's service of the same name). This online database with offers from 14 countries is set to go live at the beginning of 2015 - in good time for the start of the travel season.
Graeme Robertson, EUKOM, provided an insight into new plans for the European Youth Portal (EYP), with special emphasis on updated user numbers and statistics: the EYP is delighted to have had over 1.4 million page hits per month as well as more than 120,000 unique visitors. In the past 12 months, Facebook "likes" increased from 900 to currently more than 36,000. A great success - for Eurodesk, too.
The annual multiplier seminar is open to all local and regional Eurodesks. It is also a great networking opportunity for Eurodesk staff and volunteers. Many of the Eurodesks "pitched" some of their creative work projects. Unfortunately, only 40 to 50 of the 1,200 multipliers can attend in any one year. Reinhard Schwalbach recognized and appreciated the vital importance of this group, which undertakes communication with the actual target group, namely the young people of Europe.