Saturday 26 January 2013

Peace Child International builds European network to tackle youth unemployment crisis

Peace Child international, the youth-led organization with over 30 years’ experience empowering the young to make their own change has reached out to organizations from all over Europe in a bid to stem the spread of youth unemployment. Its EU Youth job creation network will draw on experience and knowledge from the UK, Ireland, The Netherlands, Bulgaria, Romania and Greece’s Innovation Farm.

Uncertainty and doubt about the future has always been part of the impetus that drives innovation and achievement. It has rarely been far from most people’s minds but the last few years have seen a period of renewed intensity. After decades of raised expectations for many, the roller-coaster is now the big dipper, the double-dipper, the triple-dip to the point where pundits are running out of euphemisms. There are few for whom this is more terrifying than our young. The thought of a future-less generation fills us all with dread.  

Peace Child International, a UK-based organisation that since 1981 has been actively encouraging the young to be the change they want to see in the world, has focused its resources on youth unemployment in Europe with an initiative that draws on the experience of organisations from all over Europe. The delegates, who will meet in February at PCI’s headquarters in Hertfordshire, aim to alloy their experiences and resources to create an effective range tools that will help young people create new opportunities and take full advantage of existing career paths.

One of the participating organisations, Innovation Farm from Thessaloniki, Greece, one of the countries hardest hit by recent events in the Eurozone, has been building bridges between the academic and business sectors for some time. They are tackling the challenges head-on and have recently launched a pre-seed Accelerator programme, STAGEONE to give hopeful entrepreneurs the chance to engage, build and grow their ideas until they are ready for the market. The participating start-ups are taken through all the crucial steps of setting up a viable venture by experienced professionals. Mentors are on hand to help but no-one is wet-nursed, what they achieve must be earned. At the end of each stage the young companies are appraised and judged and if they don’t come up to standard, they are out. “Young entrepreneurs need to fail fast,” say Innovation Farm director, Argyris Spyridis. He went on to explain, “If the venture has irrevocable flaws, they need to be realised fast so the team can go back to the drawing board and come back stronger and smarter.”   STAGEONE will be the first of many such programmes which will see the successful teams become established as legal companies, registered at the chamber of commerce, ready to take on the market place. Importantly, though they will be ready to vie for investment, knowing that they have been through a rigorous process that will make them more attractive than many of their contemporaries.

It seems that while the situation in Europe doesn’t seem to be showing any immediate signs of improvement, the uncertainty and doubts for the future will still be the impetus that drives change. Peace Child International with its Job creation network allies is committed to empowering tomorrow’s people to stop waiting for change and start making it. A new European union is taking shape; it’s young and doesn’t wear a suit. 

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