Lobbying for youth york

The second edition of the European Advanced Training Course “Lobbying for youth work” took place from 6 to 9 June 2022 in Kortrijk/Belgium.

It kicked off an intensive one-year learning journey during which 20 youth workers and those responsible for youth (mostly working at the local level) will sharpen their lobbying and youth work advocacy skills. The training course consists of three in-person modules plus another three or four webinars. Five countries/regions are taking part: Belgium (Flanders), Germany, Latvia, Croatia and France.

The main rationale behind this course is to empower local youth officers and youth workers to advocate for youth work and successfully influence, co-shape and position local youth (work) policy.

Need for youth lobbying

Given the difficult situation of youth work in Europe, it seems necessary to no longer just react to and suffer the political circumstances, but rather to try to actively engage in and influence (local) youth policy-making. For this to happen, youth work representatives have to fundamentally change their attitudes and skills. They have to be systematically trained on issues such as policy intervention, political consulting and lobbying.

"The stronger the people, the stronger the youth policy!" - Geert Boutsen, National coach for ‘Lobbying for youth york’

The training course is based on the very positive experiences of a first pilot project in Germany, which involved 25 youth work representatives from Belgium (Flanders), Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Latvia. This second edition translates the German pilot to a European level. The first (2019-2020) already showed that it is necessary to raise awareness of the importance of lobbying.

Aspects of successful lobbying

The publication “Engaging in lobbying: positioning youth work” outlines the outcomes of and experiences gained during the first European pilot project. Besides covering the main technical aspects of successful lobbying (communication and networking), the publication offers country reports as well as contributions from individual participants detailing their personal experiences and own lobbying projects. It discusses and summarises participants’ learning journeys and the challenges of lobbying in local context. The publication is designed to arouse interest in engaging more consistently in lobbying in the youth work field and can provide guidance for future training courses at national and European level.

The current edition of the training course “Lobbying for youth work” is part of the “Europe goes local cooperation project, which was launched in 2016 to develop and strengthen local youth work. It is hoped that given the positive experiences of the training course so far, many youth workers can in future benefit from training in this field and that it will become a permanent fixture on the European training agenda.