14 February 2018

To discuss how sport can play a significant role in tackling youth unemployment in Europe and beyond, streetfootballworld invited representatives from European grassroots and youth organisations, non-formal education institutions, the public sector, corporate world and academia to Brussels on 12th December 2017. 


The event “Team Up for NEETs - Youth, Sport and Employability in the 2020 strategy” gathered an audience of over 100 people and was hosted by the Representation of North Rhine-Westphalia in Brussels. It was the culmination of the pan-European Team Up! project supported by the European Commission’s ERASMUS+ programme. The project targeted youth workers, teachers and NGOs working with young Europeans who are not in education, employment or training (NEETS) to equip them with the skills they need to build new paths towards a sustainable livelihood. The primary focus of “Team Up” was the development of a shared toolkit of best practices to increase youth employability through football-based programmes. 


In addition to presenting the toolkit, the event also provided a platform for presenting another achievement in the field, led by Vrije Universiteit Brussel. In 2016, with the support of streetfootballworld, ENGSO youth and VDAB, Vrije Universiteit Brussel was commissioned by the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA) of the European Union to investigate sport’s contribution to the employability of young people within the context of the Europe 2020 strategy.


Tackling one of Europe’s most pressing social issues


Youth unemployment is a hot political topic and an important policy priority in Europe today. The statistics show why:  3.4 million young people in the European Union are without a job, the youth unemployment rate is 16.9 % - almost double the figure for adults of 9.3 %. Two countries particularly affected are Spain and Greece, with youth unemployment figures of 38.6 % and 46.6 %, respectively. 


In light of these challenges, streetfootballworld prioritised employability in 2014 as one of the key focus areas of their work in Europe. In 2015, this idea finally came to fruition through the Team Up! project – a pan-European scheme, supported by ERAMUS+ within the framework of the European Commission’s Strategic Partnerships for Youth, implemented in the years 2015-2017. Through a combination of non-formal education, sport-based youth work and employability training, the programme offered an innovative approach to one of Europe’s most pressing social challenges.


The toolkit that emerged as a result of the project findings was assembled with the contribution of eight streetfootballworld network members from the EU: Sport dans la Ville (France), Albion in the Community (UK), Sport 4 Life UK (UK), Sport Against Racism Ireland (Ireland), Oltalom Sport Association (Hungary), CAIS (Portugal), RheinFlanke (Germany) and Red Deporte (Spain). In addition to developing the toolkit, the project has provided an effective platform for the participating organisations to share knowledge and best practices, increase their expertise in the field, improve their programmes and extend their impact. 


About the toolkit 


Over the period 2015-2017, members of the Team Up! project met eight times to share expertise, get to know each other’s programmes and work together to develop a toolkit that, in 160 pages, provides a comprehensive understanding on how to develop and implement football-based employability programmes.  


Football-based employability programmes combine football and other activities aimed at helping NEET young people to improve their chances of finding a job. From a theoretical approach on how such programmes work to a number of practical examples of activities implemented by the Team Up! members, the toolkit touches upon topics such as how to work with NEET young people, the participant’s journey, how to implement football activities and impact measurement.


The Team Up! Toolkit is an unprecedented attempt to both analyse the players and the field at large, as well as identify and disseminate best practices and impact-proven methodologies to key players in the sectors of sports, youth employability and non-formal education.


Click here to open the Team Up Toolkit


A look ahead


In January 2018, streetfootballworld kicked off a new Collaborative Partnership to further develop and promote the use of football-based youth employability programmes. The objective of “Scoring for the Future”,  funded by the European Commission’s ERAMUS+in the framework of the Sport Collaborative partnerships programme, will be to further develop a Training-the-Trainer methodology to support organisations seeking to develop football-based employability programmes in Europe and beyond. “Scoring for the Future” will create an accessible tool to transfer impact-measured, successful practices to more sports organisations and establish streetfootballworld project partners as knowledge hubs on how to promote skill-development using sport as a tool.


Team Up for NEETs! is a project financed with the support of the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union
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