‘No Work and All Play’ – Seminar in Berlin, by Luke McTernan

Hello, my name is Luke McTernan. I recently attended the No work and All Play Seminar which took place in Berlin, Germany. The No Work and All Play Seminar is a project which is run under Don Bosco Youth Net and is co-funded by the European Commission’s ‘Youth in Action’-programme. The four day seminar took place between the 14th and 17th of March 2013 in the Don Bosco Zentrum, in Berlin. I was one of 22 lucky participants each representing his / her own country. I was representing Ireland. The following countries participated in the seminar: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and the UK.

The seminar focused on youth unemployment throughout Europe and gave the participants at the seminar more knowledge on four upcoming youth opportunities initiatives which are attempting to address the unemployment rate within the EU. According to an EU press release, youth unemployment registered at 23.6% in January 2013 which is more than double that of the adult rate. A total of 7.5 million young Europeans (aged 15-24) are neither employed nor in education or training. The seminar helped all the participants to gain a better understanding of the four new Youth Opportunities Initiatives which are the Erasmus For All, The Youth Guarantee, Youth on the Move and The Youth Opportunity Initiative (http://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=1006). We looked at the pros and cons of the initiatives and gave recommendations to the Don Bosco Youth Net on how they could be run in a more effective way for young people.

Having spent four days learning about youth unemployment and listening about different ways of addressing the problem, I now feel empowered to go out and promote Salesian youth work throughout Ireland. I hope to be able to give unemployed young people in Ireland the chance to go aboard and volunteer in a community or youth work setting which will help enhance their personal as well as their professional skills in life.

At the end of the first full day of the seminar we all went to the city of Berlin by train. We were able to experience the history, culture and life of the city. On the second night of the seminar we had a Intercultural evening. Everybody brought food and drink from his / her own country and did a sort interactive talk, quiz or game about one’s country. It was an excellent evening.

The new knowledge I got from these four fun and interactive days will help me to empower young people and encourage them to join Don Bosco youth centres in Ireland. Hopefully, this will help to tackle issues such as youth unemployment with realistic and modern approaches. I am currently studying youth work in college. More information about the seminar and the four themes running through it on the following websites such as e.g http://noworkandallplay.weebly.com/ and at http://www.donboscoyouth.net/ .

View more photos of the event