Lobbying is usually associated with the rigorous representation of the interests of large companies or non-governmental organisations (NGOs). In youth work, on the other hand, lobbying has been an alien concept until now. But there is a need to demonstrate the added value and quality of youth work in a targeted and convincing way with respect to local politics. Only when decision-makers value youth work are they also prepared to support it financially. Therefore, from 2013 to 2015 and for the first time, a German project led by Professor Werner Lindner (University of Jena) provided advanced training for a group of youth workers in the principles of political communication. This proved to be a success. Thus, for example, thanks to lobbying, new youth worker positions were approved in certain municipalities.
Following this achievement in Germany, the course on Lobbying for Youth Work is now, for the first time, being held at European level. Five representatives of youth work in Switzerland are also following the course. Mentored by renowned experts, the participants work for two years on developing concrete projects around political communication in their municipalities. In three seminars, the group comes together at European level for reciprocal input and inspiration. This is all the more exciting because, for example, a small municipality in Belgium has to deal with completely different challenges from those facing a youth centre in Riga. And yet, all participants are united in their commitment to creating a strong range of activities, facilities and services for the young people in their municipalities.
The European advanced training on Lobbying for Youth Work is a cooperative project of Movetia and the national agencies for Erasmus+ Youth in Action from Belgium (FL), Germany, Latvia and Austria. The course came into being as part of the Europe goes Local project, an initiative of Erasmus+ Youth in Action for the European networking of local youth work.