The UP2YOUTH project has collected a number of case studies on policies
and practices in our research fields. These case studies have been
selected to represent current trends in policy-making in Europe. An
explanation of the idea behind this collection can be found here.
the following, UP2YOUTH coordination team member Axel Pohl draws
policy and practice implications from the UP2YOUTH research findings.
More general policy implications of our research can be found in the "Results" section of this website.
the area of transitions to work mainly has to deal with the changing demands of
the world of labour. Simultaneously, youth and young adulthood have established
themselves as a distinct life stage rather than a transitory period en route to
adulthood. A significant majority of young people with ethnic minority or
migrant backgrounds are affected by these changes in a particular way and
policy-making needs to be aware of the particular agency related to these
In most European
countries the changes in the working world imply a diversification of education
and training pathways. This makes a life-course or life-cycle perspective in
policy-making, aimed at the biographical viability of individual education and
training careers, indispensable. Although this is primarily a task of
high-level planning in educational and training institutions at systems level,
individual support mechanisms need to be established that work on the level of
transitions between the different cycles of the education and training system.
This can mean strengthening counselling and support mechanisms (such as
vocational and career guidance) and qualifying these services to deal with the
life situations of young people from an ethnic minority or migration
In the same
vein, misleading trajectories need to be avoided by making transitions and
shifts between and within education and training tracks reintegratable into
subjectively rewarding careers. One method of achieving this goal is the
modularization of training systems. This could be especially beneficial to
young people who have fewer opportunities to enter into these tracks.
Self-employment as a wide-spread strategy to secure employment among certain
migrant communities should be combined with efforts to recognise informally and
non-formally acquired skills; these skills can also acquire compatibility with
On the other
side of the coin, the de-coupling of education and employment systems implies a
self-reflective perspective within these education and training systems. If
education and training can no longer guarantee integration by awarding
qualifications that open the door to stable employment, then their legitimacy
in the eyes of young people is no longer self-evident.
Education and training
institutions need to reflect this new reality and they need to be re-shaped
from ‘prescribing' institutions into institutions which are part of young
people's real life worlds. For young people with an ethnic minority or
migration background this situation needs to be reflected in two ways;
such as schools and training institutions have to be aware of the subtler forms
of unintended and indirect forms of institutional discrimination that currently
exist and build into their standard procedures methods of dealing pro-actively
with this phenomenon.
and training are central social arenas wherein social integration and social
positioning are negotiated between institutions and young people and also
amongst young people themselves.
climate and each school's interpretation of a multi-cultural reality are
crucial ingredients in discerning how young people perceive themselves and how
young people discern the society around them.
institutions need to be open and reflexive regarding their own role in the
process of ethnicisation or "racialisation" of societal and social conflicts,
and of social constellations. Ideally, they provide a flexible space wherein
young people's negotiation of social identities and social positioning are kept
open. Gender awareness is a critical point in case and the above principles
means that both gender-specific approaches and gender-aware mainstream services
are required. This perspective gains yet more importance for girls and young
women who come from communities influenced by strong and traditional gender
role allocation. For these communities, a perspective of what males can gain or
lose from positioning themselves in such constellations can provide a clue to
solving the rising problems associated with the educational and societal
disintegration of boys and young men.
The degree of
institutional flexibility on the issues of belonging and social identities
presents a dilemma in the targeting of policies for youth: the narrower the
definition of a target group, the more risk of closing the space required for
negotiation and the greater the risk of stigmatising effects.
education in youth and community work settings in this respect seems to be
capable of delivering two benefits: (1) providing migrant or ethnic minority
communities with the means to celebrate diversity without losing sight of
society as a whole and (2), possessing a set of working methods that allows for
coping with the challenges described above. To maximise these strengths all
categories of non-formal education need to be recognised as valuable elements
in young people's education and need top be closely linked into local, regional
and national transition systems.
migratory background young people's relative disadvantages in transitions to
the labour force are primarily attributed to disadvantageous social conditions
such as low income, housing issues related to socially disadvantageous
concentration of problems in disadvantaged neighbourhoods and areas. To combat
this state of affairs transition policies have to be embedded into a whole set
of policies that attempt narrow the gap between disadvantaged groups and
mainstream society. This should not of
course neglect general anti-discrimination policies, anti-racist initiatives
and intercultural perspectives in mainstream institutions.