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Project News: How does youth work contribute to integration? Regional meetings in three federal provinces, Austria

17 June 2019


Between 18 and 27 June, ICMPD is co-organising three regional meetings in different Austrian federal provinces. The meetings focus on the intersections of integration and youth work and bring together stakeholders from both fields.

The meetings aim at discussing the contributions of each field, sharing existing networking and exchange structures, identifying good practice examples and formulating policy recommendations. At the same time, the particularities of each of the three Austrian federal provinces Salzburg, Upper Austria and Vorarlberg are discussed in order to understand the context of differing structures and practices.

Discussions during the meetings in Salzburg, Linz and Bregenz focus on how youth work is contributing to integration and what the integration field can learn from youth work. The meetings aim to identify examples of existing cooperation and networking practices and structures that exist in each federal province, as well as discuss topics that are relevant for both fields. This includes how the concepts of youth and integration are understood in the different fields; how volunteers can be engaged on a sustainable basis; and how youth work, schools and other education providers can improve their cooperation.

Each event is co-organised in cooperation with the integration and youth departments of the respective federal state, as well as (in the case of Salzburg) the NPO akzente. The meetings gather representatives of open youth work and youth work organisations, Youth Information Centres, Ombuds offices for Children and Youths, Child and Youth Welfare Services, Education Authorities, Public Employment Services, Youth Coaching, as well as representatives of cities and municipalities and CSOs.

The events are organised within the project “Youth Work in the Context of Integration” that is currently implemented by ICMPD in cooperation with the Austrian Federal Chancellery – Division Families and Youth and the European Commission. The project is funded through the EU’s Structural Reform Support Programme.

Context & Background

Youth work has long been contributing to integration, and young people have reversely become a main target group of integration measures since they have specific potential, but also challenges. In Austria, youth work organisations have a long tradition and open youth work has also become well-established. Especially during the large influx of refugees of the last few years, the two fields have increasingly overlapped and developed new modes of cooperation. Although each field is quite heterogeneous, there are many connections. Using the potential of new cooperation and networking and sharing good practices and experiences supports not only the integration of refugee youth but youth with migration background overall.

About the project

The project aims to support the Austrian authorities in improving the administrative and strategic capacity to create and implement comprehensive policies/mechanisms to connect and coordinate the actors involved in youth work and the integration of young refugees and migrants. The project targets relevant Austrian governmental and non-governmental stakeholders on municipal, federal and national level involved in the work in these particular areas. The project will help to improve the knowledge of relevant stakeholders regarding youth work and integration policies leading to better suited programmes and projects for young refugees and migrants.

About the Structural Reform Support Programme

The Structural Reform Support Programme is a programme of the European Union that helps EU countries to prepare, design and implement reforms. The support is based on demand and is tailor-made for the beneficiary Member State. It takes the form of strategic or legal advice, studies, training and in-country missions by experts. Since 2017, the Structural Reform Support Programme has provided support to more than 550 projects in 26 Member States.