On Tuesday 14 th February, Irish Rural Link (IRL), the national network representing the interest of rural communities welcomed a delegate from Portuguese organisation, Uniao das Mutualidades Portugauesas (UMP), who it is partner on the Erasmus+ funded project, Beyond NEET.
Beyond NEET is a one-year project funded through the Erasmus+ programme and works with young people who are Not in Employment, Education and Training (NEET) to support them to engage with volunteering in their community. The project aims to open opportunities for young people to be able to be professionally integrated, initially in volunteer programs and, later, in civil society organisations that associate with this initiative.
Both organisations have been working with youth organisations since the project commenced in June 2022, through surveys and workshops held in each partner country to gain a better understanding of the reasons why the participants do not work, study or are involved in training or internships, and what are their personal and professional ambitions.
The three-day visit included the mid-term meeting for the project which allowed the partners to review responses from the questionnaires and workshops from young participants in Portugal and Ireland and highlight commonalities and any differences. The meeting also set out plans for the remainder of the project and discussions on end of project events to be held in each country. The meeting was also an opportunity to discuss future projects between both partners as well as visits to some of the youth projects who participated in the workshops.
The President of UMP, Luís Alberto Silva and Coordinator of UMP, Edgar Diogo, together with CEO of Irish Rural Link, Seamus Boland and Board member, Marie O’Gorman attended meetings in Leinster House with Minister for Education, Norma Foley, T.D. and Minister of State, Pippa Hackett as well as Government Department officials. These meetings served not only to highlight the scope of this project of integrating young people into society through volunteering, but to also address the experiences and public policies of the two countries in terms of youth and social inclusion, and the importance of valuing the role of the social economy in Europe’s cohesion.
The delegation also met with the Portuguese ambassador to Ireland, Bernardo Lucena, with whom he addressed matters related to the Beyond NEET project and the successful integration of Portuguese young people into Irish society.
Speaking about the meeting, CEO of IRL, Seamus Boland said: “This meeting was a great opportunity to meet our partner on the Beyond NEET project in person and to discuss the outcomes to date. 2023 is the European Year of Skills so the project comes at an important time to engage with these young people who are often furthest from the labour market, education and training and identify supports to help them develop skills in areas they are interested in”.
The Beyond NEET project will run until June 2023. More details about the project and tools are available on the project website https://beyondneet.mutualismo.pt/
For further information, please contact (anytime):
Seamus Boland (Chief Executive) 0862491153 or Louise Lennon (Policy and Communications Officer) 0861069244
About Irish Rural Link:
Irish Rural Link represents the interests of locally based rural groups in disadvantaged and marginalised rural areas by highlighting problems, advocating appropriate policies, sharing experiences and examples of good practice. It has a membership of nearly 600 rural community groups dedicated to sustainable rural development and represents rural communities at a national and international level