This time we are sitting down with Mateusz Wiśniewski, a Senior Consultant at ECORYS who works with the Fund Operator for the Fund for Youth Employment. How does he look at the future for young people today? Find out in the Q&A below.
Why is it important to empower and invest in youth?
“Change always has a young face. Every day we observe that young people have enough energy, desire for action and possible solutions to current problems to realistically set the direction in which the world will go. However, to be able to turn their ideas into reality, they need concrete support, resources and attention from the others. Investing in youth means investing in ourselves, in our common well-being.”
“Change always has a young face.”
Mommypreneurs project is funded through the Fund for Youth Employment which aims to strengthen the skills of young inactive women on maternity leave and improve their potential in coming back to the labor market or start their own business.
What is the Fund for Youth Employment to you, personally?
“For me, the Fund for Youth Employment is first and foremost a group of great initiatives, carried out by organisations from all over Europe, which care about providing real, multidimensional support to young people in several countries. These are not anonymous projects – they have the faces of people, creating an unusual community, who are in touch with each other and exchange experiences on an ongoing basis. The initiatives implemented under the Fund really affect the daily lives of thousands of young people, sometimes in a very difficult situation. “
“The initiatives implemented under the Fund really affect the daily lives of thousands of young people, sometimes in a very difficult situation. “
What are the most memorable projects you worked on with the Fund for Youth Employment and why?
“To be honest, every project I work with is in some way unique and memorable. The Fund has a variety of green projects, ones that focus on inclusivity or the digital market. Some projects are creating youth-founded start-ups, participants in one project are learning soft skills outdoors (literally, they're getting training in the woods!), great places are being created to provide support to people with mental problems, too. Each of these initiatives deserves to be recognised. “
How do you see the future for the youth in Europe?
“I am afraid that it will not be an easy future – we are currently facing many serious challenges and we are confronted with problems that need to be solved. And this will be a task for the youth. But I am convinced that they will already have all the means and opportunities to make this future actually better – for them and for us.”
“Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein have given organisations across Europe the opportunity to implement projects that give real support to European youth.”
YENESIS project is funded through the Fund for Youth Employment which aims to tackle the challenge of unemployment of NEETs between 25-29 years old in islands by creating green jobs.
How do Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein through the Fund for Youth Employment contribute to empowering youth in Europe?
“Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein have given organisations across Europe the opportunity to implement projects that give real support to European youth. It is worth mentioning that entities from the donor countries themselves are also involved in implementing initiatives under the Fund for Youth Employment, sharing available solutions and best practices.”
“...what gives me hope for young people today is the young people themselves.”
What gives you hope for European youth today?
“This may sound a bit strange, but what gives me hope for young people today is... the young people themselves. I am lucky that I interact with young people in different ways every day, I also try to keep up to date with their trends and interests, following young people on social media and other community platforms. The way they think about themselves today, about the world around them, how aware they are of what really matters now and what values they hold – all this really gives hope that things will still work out.”
If you could give a 20-year-old advice today, what would it be?
“Remember that you have a real impact on your surroundings. Be attentive, ask questions, patiently seek answers and solutions. Validate. You don't have to listen to your elders giving advice. However, if you are a 20-year-old today, I am sure you know all this.”
We thank Mateusz for sitting down with us and sharing his views. Next time we will be talking to Vita Vītola who works with the project promoter for Women4IT, a project supported by the Fund For Youth Employment. Stay tuned!
Read more about the Fund for Youth employment here https://eeagrants.org/topics-programmes/fund-youth-employment
Read about the youth projects that the EEA and Norway Grants support here https://youthemploymentmag.net/