What tools can be used to motivate young people to enter the labour market? How can today's youth be encouraged to become entrepreneurs? The Kalamáris Association saw the solution in practical training, the power of community and the experience of international good practices.

As soon as you enter this world,  there is no stopping

We asked coordinator Gábor Szilágyi about the successes of the Shape your Future project.

What motivated you to start the project?

We sneak an hour or two into every youth exchange programme where participants can reflect and brainstorm on future projects. In 2019 a young Hungarian and a young Spaniard thought about the problem of youth unemployment and created the outline of the Shape your Future project. They were later joined by partners from Romania, Italy, and Mediterranean countries.

What was the main aim of the project?

Our main objective was to tackle the problems of youth unemployment. We wanted to help and motivate young people to enter the labour market, and give them the opportunity to exchange experiences, make acquaintances and acquire new knowledge with young people from other countries.

What activities were carried out during the project?

There were two main pillars: one was to help young people find a job, write a CV and a cover letter; and the other one was to encourage them to become entrepreneurs. We also had a third objective, which was specifically related to Erasmus+ calls. We wanted to encourage young people to design additional projects specifically addressing the issue of unemployment.

Why did you think applying to Erasmus+ was the best way to achieve it?

Years ago, we were also involved in the Youth in Action programme, which was my first trip to Estonia. The coordinator at the time had such an impact on me that I started volunteering, specifically working on Erasmus+ calls and international relations. So, the background was there, there was no question of choosing Erasmus+.

What suggestions do you have for those who also want to apply in the youth sector?

Most importantly: make sure you try! Do not be intimidated by the fact that this is an international competition, there are plenty of opportunities to find partners, even on Facebook groups or at events. If you go down this route and trust your project, you will surely be able to make it a success. Once you plunge into this world, there is no stopping.

What was the biggest benefit for the participants? How has the project impacted them on a personal level?

The project has given young people a wide range of knowledge on how to prepare for a job interview, what mistakes they can make in an interview, how to ask questions about tasks or salary. They also received tips on starting their own business. The project allowed participants to step out their comfort zone and learn about another country and its culture. Many were afraid to speak English, but by the end of the programme they became much more confident, improved their communication skills, and became more open-minded. Not to mention the fact that the project really did lead to lifelong friendships, with many of them meeting up again later and spending time together.

How has the project helped you, as an organization, improve? Did you encounter any difficulties during the implementation?

The project was implemented during the pandemic, the countries concerned had different entry restrictions, which required a lot of flexibility on our part. We have made significant progress and learnt a lot of lessons. For example, in terms of organization, it is essential to create a document in which we summarize all risk factors, and the way how we should react to them and what solutions we can find.

What were the most memorable moments?

One of these moments was when we played a game at the end of the project: the young people had to paint with water-based paint on another participant along different questions. At the end, everyone became colourful, which was a wonderful experience not only for me, but for all the players.

What are you most proud of? What does winning the Excellence Award mean to you?

One of the greatest recognitions is that we receive enquires from abroad from people who would like to work with us and participate in our programmes. This proves to us that we are creating enjoyable and useful programmes. Young people spread the good reputation of our project, because when they return home, they can pass on what they have learned to a class or even to an entire school. The Shape your Future project has involved young people who had never taken part in a similar initiative before. They really returned home with having had a life changing, formative experience. Winning the Award of Excellence is yet another confirmation that what we do really pays off.

Institution: Kalamáris Association

Project title: Shape your future (Shape your future)

Measure: Youth mobility projects / Youth Exchanges (KA1 YOU)

Coordinator: Gábor Szilágyi

Brigitta Korim
Tempus Public Foundation,
Directorate of Communication


Utolsó módosítás: 2023.12.19.