Building capacities and developing innovative ways of connecting science to society is a priority that many sectors are working on, including the youth sector. The Erasmus+ programme has been more and more orientated towards this field, especially putting emphasis on innovation and raising the quality in youth work. Why is it then important to research the STEM field and innovation? Did you hear about the STEAM field – yes, it has an additional letter! And can we use arts and skateboarding as a medium to reach to young people? These questions will be the topic of next three contributions presented on the first edition of the EAYW. So, let’s get started!

We all love Erasmus+ and the possibilities that are offered throughout the Programme. However, how often do we ask ourselves about the impact of training/support activities for youth workers in Erasmus+: Youth in Action and about what are the future trends? This was reflected upon in the contribution “Innovation and Quality in Youth Work: Exploring Research Data from RAY, the European Network for the Research-Based Analysis of the European Youth Programmes” by Andreas Karsten. RAY has conducted a research project on competence development and capacity building (RAY CAP) of youth workers and youth leaders involved in training/support activities in Erasmus+: Youth in Action. During this research project, 130 youth workers and youth leaders were each interviewed three times: once before a training activity, and twice after their training activity. The project was conducted in 17 European countries between 2014 and 2018. What were the findings and how is RAY researching innovation? Find out more in the workshop report and presentation!

As we said, there is a growing need to talk about the STEM field. However, our contribution added the additional letter “A” to the abbreviation, based on the concept which says that art should be focused on design principles and encouraging creative solutions. “STEAM in Youth Work” is a project in which the National Youth Council of Ireland use innovative methodologies to increase the use of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and maths) to support the achievement of youth work outcomes and build capacity to support the young people they work with to deal with both the risks and opportunities that living in an increasingly digitalised world bring. Thus, an important intended outcome of the project is to change perceptions about science and the STEM field. The contribution was presented by Marie Cullen, who discussed with the participants the importance of the whole project and the challenges linked to its implementation. If you are interested to find out more about STEAM and its connection with the youth work sector, take a look at the workshop report and presentation.

In the end, let’s continue to talk about the art, sports and social engagement.Firstly, let me ask you some questions: What do you know about skateboarding? Maybe you know that it is an action sport that involves riding and performing tricks? Or maybe you are aware that it is a good recreational activity? Or that can be used for transportation? But, do you know that skateboarding can be seen as a medium to foster cross-border cooperation or that it can be used in youth work to reach disadvantaged youth? We found this interesting information in the contribution “Skateboarding to reach disadvantaged youth” by Louis Traubert and Johannes Meyer-Bohe. Fostering active and creative participation of young adults through the medium of Skateboarding offers many aspects of social engagement. Through the medium of Skateboarding, workshops concerning art and expression for disadvantaged youth are provided. In Bremen and Kiel, local Skateboarders do Skateboard lessons for refugee children on a continuous basis. Different events also seek to share the cultural elements encompassing Skateboarding on the local and national level. Countries involved include Germany, Denmark and South Africa. Interested in involving Skateboarding in your work with young people? Great, than read our report below and see more information in the presentation as well!

In the next article, we will be talking about formal and non-formal education of youth workers, quality learning mobility tools and trainers’ self-assessment! Stay with us to find out more! 🙂