Entering the labor market

As a local association, Rota Jovem’s goal is to support the local community of Cascais and to create an impact in youngsters’ lives, by organizing activities and projects and by giving them the necessary tools and support in order to implement their own. To come closer to this goal, Rota Jovem joined the Connectivity project, which brought together a group of 6 local volunteers eager to make a change.

Connectivity has been a great way for our organization to get more involved and to reach out to local youngsters with fewer opportunities, who are currently facing difficulties when it comes to entering the labor market. During the first training meeting, our 6 volunteers had the possibility to share experiences and knowledge with other participants and gained a lot of new insights that have helped them start organizing their own activities back home. They learned how to design an activity according to their target groups’ needs, and how to measure the impact of these learning programs; furthermore, they practiced new tools that are useful when planning and implementing projects.

Returning home from Connectivity’s first meeting, the Portuguese group has been very busy sharing their new knowledge with the local community. They have reached out to their network in order to work together with other organizations that are also involved in supporting disadvantaged youngsters. In the past months, they have decided to collaborate with Take.it, another local association in the Educa project, which aims to train young unemployed adults in basic employability, animation, and mediation skills, through initial and further training in a work context.

What was first designed to be a one-time activity, was then proposed by the coordinator of Educa to be further done with other groups, due to the success and potential of the first session. The interventions implemented were focused on sharing the knowledge acquired in the meeting with other youth workers in the municipality, through three different training sessions targeting Educa project facilitators. The aim of these sessions was to improve the effectiveness of their interventions at schools, by highlighting the importance of planning a specific impact in every aspect of their work and acknowledging specific needs in the case of their target groups, through which they can better plan and deliver a set of activities to achieve the desired goal of meeting those needs. We believe that having more frequent, longer, and sequential sessions will increase the effectiveness of our intervention. This is mainly because it enables us to get to know the group better and to create empathy and connection with each member while guiding the learning process.

Following recent activities, the idea of creating a monthly event of non-formal education came up, where the facilitators from Rota, Educa, and other youth workers from the municipality could come together and share activities, dynamics, and best practices, while creating a space for sharing knowledge, discussing ideas and learning new tools on how to approach youngsters in different contexts. The outcomes of these monthly sessions could be of great interest to any professional in this field, with the possibility of creating a website and other databases, available to these professionals locally or nationally. Another project discussed for the future was the possibility of creating an exchange between Rota and Educa’s teams in order to provide new experiences and opportunities, by sharing knowledge, and ideas – then putting these into practice in an outdoor context. Our organization will continue to work on tailor-made interventions in order to reach more youngsters and to involve them in this learning process, all this by taking advantage of the surrounding nature and of other outdoor possibilities that our town has to offer.