An impressive panel of international experts on Youth Information services came together in Dublin today to identify challenges for young people in accessing quality Youth Information. Delegates heard new research conducted with 171 young people in Ireland has shown that their preferred sources of information are dedicated staff and websites that specialise in providing fit-for-purpose, quality information for youth.
The event, hosted by Youth Work Ireland, was attended by every youth information provider in Ireland, together with policy makers, academics and young people.
Speakers on the day included Nicole Murtagh, a young person who has participated in European Youth Mobility through her local Youth Information service in Crosscare. Nicole spoke of the impact and importance of Youth Information in her life. Other inputs came from international and Irish experts including Prof Maurice Devlin, NUI Maynooth; Audrey Frith, Eurodesk Brussels Link Director; Eva Reina, Director of European Youth Information and Counselling Agency (ERYICA); Ian Power of Spunout; Sanchez Garcia, Director of the European Youth Card Association (EYCA) and Rapporteur Anna Ludwinek, Research Manager, Eurofound.
Dr Patrick Burke, CEO of Youth Work Ireland explained that, “Youth information workers are proving to be a critical missing link for providing advice and support on the issues of most importance to young people. Ireland has an excellent Youth Information service, which is supported by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.”
Jim Mullin, Executive Director, Léargas said that “Youth Information is a rapidly evolving, dynamic and needed area of youth provision that young people have a right to within European Policy. There are new programmes, knowledge, service provision initiatives and policy changes which are of common interest to all stakeholders. This event provides an opportunity for networking, learning and development of a common understanding of the evolving challenges and opportunities in youth information.”
Youth Information as a right
Information is a fundamental right of young people guaranteed by the United Nations and European Union. The provision of information for young people is rights based and at International level is framed by Article 19 of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states that:
“Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers”
Youth Information Services and staff – Youth Work Ireland, Crosscare and YMCA
The main providers of services in community-based Youth Information are Youth Work Ireland, Crosscare and YMCA. These services integrate youth information into overall youth work settings information practitioners visiting schools, hosting drop-ins, working directly with groups of young people and providing digital youth information targeted at specific geographic catchments. Front-line staff also work directly with Spunout through a digital-referral system. As the largest youth organisation in Ireland working with over 116,000 young people every week, Youth Work Ireland leads the partnership of youth information providers in Ireland.
Eurodesk makes information on learning mobility comprehensive and accessible to young people (13-30) and those who work with them. With a network of national coordinators connected to over 1000 local information providers in 35 European countries, Eurodesk raises awareness on learning mobility opportunities and encourages young people to become active citizens. Eurodesk is the main source of youth information on European policies, mobility information and opportunities. It answers enquiries and provides guidance for mobile young people across Europe. Eurodesk updates and manages content on the European Youth Portal, it also answers enquiries coming from the Portal.
Eurodesk Ireland is part of Léargas, the National Agency for Erasmus+ in adult education, school education, vocational education and training, and youth.
Eurodesk Ireland has a network of thirty multipliers including all Youth Information Centres, Youth Café Boomerang in Drogheda, five Europe Direct Information Centres, Spunout and Voluntary Service International Service International and it cooperates closely with Euroguidance and the National Centre for Guidance in Education.
Spunout is Ireland's youth information website created by young people, for young people. Spunout provides information to around 140,000+ active readers each month. Spunout collaborates with youth information workers to provide an online referral service for young people who require information support beyond what can be provided online.