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Training programme for newcomers to international youth work

The Learning by Doing programme

Can youth work be international, too? Of course! Workcamps, volunteering and expert exchanges can make a major contribution towards more tolerance, open-mindedness, personal development and democracy. IJAB’s Learning by Doing programme helps experts with little or no prior knowledge of international youth work get comfortable with the concept. The scheme was launched in February 2020 and will run through to the end of 2022. 16 experts from nine German federal states are taking part.

The aim of Learning by Doing is to help the participating experts to plan, organise and implement their own in-person or virtual international youth work activity. The expertise and tools they need for this are acquired in training modules as well as with continuous assistance from IJAB. Once they have completed the programme, the participants become multipliers who can pass on their new-found expertise and enthusiasm for international youth work to others.

International youth work and the pandemic

The Coronavirus pandemic has been a major challenge for the international youth work community. Travel restrictions, hygiene and distancing rules and, in some cases, lockdowns have meant that virtually no international exchanges could take place in-person.

In 2020, it was possible to temporarily close the gap to some extent with virtual and hybrid activities (hybrid meaning with both in-person and virtual elements) so that exchanges could happen, albeit under challenging and unfamiliar circumstances. The lessons learned during this time are reflected in the curriculum, too.

The Learning by Doing curriculum

The training programme began with a two-day kick-off event, followed by nine virtual study and discussion modules of four hours’ duration each, plus a two-day in-person event as well as a two-day on-site final meeting. Besides imparting expert knowledge of international youth work (e.g., methods, funding, finding partners), the modules are an opportunity for the participants to interact with other experts from Germany and beyond. The curriculum also incorporates knowledge and methods relating to activities in virtual spaces.

The curriculum and the virtual discussions with colleagues from around the world are designed to enable and encourage participants to plan and implement their own international activities for young people and/or experts.

In addition to completing the modules, participants design their own on-site or virtual international youth work activity for either young people or experts with assistance from IJAB. By the time the programme ends, the activity should either have started or have already finished. Each project receives a grant of EUR 1,000 from IJAB.

The Learning by Doing scheme receives funding from Robert Bosch Stiftung.

Elena Neu
Project Officer
International Youth Policy Cooperation
Tel.: +49 (0)228 9506-105
Roman Thieltges
Roman Thieltges
Project Officer
International Youth Policy Cooperation
Tel.: +49 (0)228 9506-111