EMPYRE Project of Youth Work in Europe

The School of History, Philosophy and Social Sciences has become a partner in the Erasmus EMPYRE project on youth work in Europe. With other EU wide HEIs and partner charity organisations in four countries, the project explores, collects and develops successful youth work practices used to empower young people in Europe. The target group of good practices is young people in highest risk of social exclusion and outside education, employment and training. The project starts in September 2019 and runs for 27 months and has received Erasmus funding of 540,000 euros. During the project there will be opportunities for students to take part in an intensive programme and summer school in Finland and Austria.

Each participating University collects 5-7 good youth work practices used for social empowerment of young people. Participating HEI's and their partners (Bangor’s partners is the charity Gisda which provides support and accommodation for local homeless young people) use their expertise in assessing and choosing the good practices.

Good practices involve for example successful practices in the field of enhancing active citizenship, developing multi-professional cooperation or outreach youth work or youth work in the community especially in neglected neighbourhoods.

Assessment of "what is good or successful practice?"-is based on a) evaluation from clients by using the Bigva-impact method to assess the impact of practice, b) evaluation from experienced practitioners and peer interviews and c) on statistical analysis of the impact of used practices. The evaluation methods and critical methodological analysis are reported in a publication and web-course and also for teaching purposes as examples of how to assess and evaluate good practice. The project creates an internet course, teaching material and training programme for youth workers to enhance the social empowerment and active citizenship of excluded youth.

Types of questions explored include: what are the contents of social empowerment? What kind of skills and knowledge are there behind successful practices? What kind of common parameters can be found from behind successful practices? How the evaluation of successful practices could be developed?

Practitioners behind good practices, lecturers and students work together to execute innovative ways to learn about the practices namely, through interviews, short movies, posters and articles.

There will be a Summer School for staff, students and youth workers to use the evaluated successful youth social empowerment practices for actual social projects in Finland. And a six-day Intensive Programme in Linz to transform the chosen practices for web-teaching purposes.

For further details contact Dr Hefin Gwilym, Lecturer in Social Policy, School of History, Philosophy and Social Sciences.

Publication date: 4 October 2019