Many young Sicilians still do not perceive themselves as European citizens and are unaware of the infinite opportunities and rights that the European Community offers. There is a lack of knowledge and awareness of what the European Union is, who the member states are, common rights and duties, the concept of integration and social discrimination, what it means to be European citizens. And everything that revolves around it.
This is how ”I giovani parlano con l’Europa” (Young people talk with Europe) was born, a project carried out by several Palermitan NGOs and financed by the Department of Youth and Civil Service of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers. Between 2017 and 2019, it was aimed at young students, aged 14 to 19, attending schools of education and vocational training, involving them directly in workshop activities.
Labour market inclusion:
The project addressed labour market inclusion mainly through the development of employability skills, among them soft and hard skills required by the world of work as well as competences needed to create a CV. These were developed through a non-formal activity, in which participants were enabled to reflect on the skills they possess as well as the ones they wish to acquire, followed by a plenary reflection in which they could reflect on personal and professional skills related to the world of work in the group setting. In addition, two professions (mediator and plumber) were used as a model to identify the necessary soft and hard skills have to work in these professions as well as to create the CV targeting an employment in one of these areas. In particular, the Europass CV and its components were analysed in the workshops, paying particular attention to the part related to skills. Finally, trainers guided the participants in the drafting of their own CV.
In another encounter, job interview and search on the internet were trained by simulating real job interview situations complemented by an analysis of participants interviews as well as most frequently asked questions during job interviews. In addition, useful websites for job search as well as contacts to the local employment agencies were presented to help participants looking for a job. Finally, participants were also provided with information regarding the necessary documents to access the world of work.
In the field of community engagement, there was one activity in particular to be mentioned. Regarding the concept of active citizenship a reflection on its meaning as well as the “rights” and “duties” of an active citizen was started, discussing the rights and duties of a foreign citizen in a place like Italy. Furthermore, several proposals regarding active citizenship initiatives were submitted to the municipality of Palermo. In this context, a non-formal approach has been adapted through the active participation the whole group, which allowed them to confront each other, reflect and improve transversal skills.
Unity in diversity:
The concept of unity in diversity was at the core and one of the main ideas of the project: Stimulating an active dialogue about European values and helping young people to discover that which unites us as European citizens as well as how this diversity impacts and enriches our everyday lives.