The main challenge that the project SOCIALNEET addresses is the reintegration of young people, which are not in Employment and not in Education or Training (NEETs), into the labor market, Core objective of the project is the establishment social innovative business solutions and the finding of employment in social enterprises by young unemployed people aged between 18-29 and 25-29 years old in particular. The NEETs population as end beneficiaries will be trained and gain work-based experience in one or more social economy and civil society organizations. Expected results constitute the rise of employability of NEETS from vulnerable groups of society in five main sectors such as Culture and Tourism Industry, Health Care, Agriculture, IT and Open Source Software and Alternative energy sources, the enhanced networking and capacity building of social economy and civil society organizations, the establishment of an expert transnational cooperation network in seven EU countries, the increase of skills acquisition of former NEETs and the increased awareness of a large segment of local and transnational populations of the impact and the practical solution that social innovation and entrepreneurship can have in tackling youth unemployment.

Together with NEETS, beneficiaries constitute the participating mentors as experts of social economy. The transnational added value of the project is secured by its geographical span in 7 countries and the involvement of an expertise partner with substantial experience in social economy and entrepreneurship. The project results will be measured through a Monitoring and Evaluation system established in all participating organizations and the establishment of quantitative and qualitative indicators. The methods used, the tools and the structures established within the project will be replicable and able to be funded within other European funding and national programs, ensuring in this way the sustainability of projects outcomes and outputs

Project objective

The recent economic crisis placed the issue of youth unemployment and the promotion of initiatives to effectively reintegrate young people, which are not in Employment and not in Education or Training (NEET), into the European labour market, at the heart of the European policy agenda. Key priority of the EEA and Norway Grants Fund for Youth Employment and of the project is to tackle youth unemployment and introduce novel methods and measures in order to achieve long-lasting effects to the beneficiaries and the stakeholders involved. The main objective of the project is to support the establishment of social enterprises, where young unemployed people aged between 18-29 and 25-29 years old in particular, will be trained and gain work-based experience in one or more social economy and civil society organizations, so as to, develop the capacity to establish either their own social enterprises or participate in other such enterprises. Through the establishment of a transnational network of non-profit organizations and in alignment with the Fund objectives, the project will address the problems of high numbers of NEETs and youth unemployment, the lack of skills and job experience and the lack of incentives and entrepreneurial culture of NEETS in seven European countries. In addition, the project will address the need of promoting education, training, coaching and consultation in deprived, unemployed and unmotivated youth and the generation of social capital in the area concerned.

Project outputs

Project outputs are results oriented and lead to the establishment of specific outcomes. Core outputs include:

1. The creation and operation of NEETs ‘Meeting Points’,

2. Training and work based learning,

3. Capacity Building Workshops to civil society organizations,

4. Advisory & Consulting services to NEETs,

5. Measurement and registration of local social capital,

6. A Strategic Plan for ‘Meeting Points’,

7. Courses aiming at the experienced members of civil society organizations,

8. Transfer of know-how from the expertise partner in designing and implementing Courses and Capacity building. The structure of the outputs and their time-span will contribute to: i) An improved employment situation of NEETs, ii) An increased participation in education and training of former NEETs, iii) The development of Innovative approaches on lowering youth unemployment, iv) An Increased number of NEETs experiencing social inclusion and v) An increased transnational cooperation on labor market issues.

Project’s approach/methodology

The project aims at establishing novel social business solutions, by connecting social economy and civil society organizations with unemployed young people for attaining the goal for young people in either finding employment in the social economy sector or themselves becoming social entrepreneurs. It’s an approach never promoted in the areas of concern. The project activities have been grouped into six (6) Work Packages and all the activities are tailored in order to address the needs of young unemployed people in gaining new skills and acquire know: WP1: Management, WP2: Communication, WP3: Measurement of Local Social Capital and Unused Resources, WP4: Establishment of NEETs Meeting Points, WP5:Training and Capacity Building of NEETS, WP6: Networking and Transfer of Know-how. In the framework of the ‘Innovation and exploration’ area and through WP4 and WP5 an innovative work-based learning model will be introduced, where NEETS will have the ability to participate in specialized training and capacity building seminars/workshops organized by university and training institutions, as well as, participating in on-the job practice in social and civil society organizations. The ‘NEETs Meeting Point’ will constitute a social innovation hub providing resources and collaboration opportunities for NEETs. In assisting the selection of the appropriate space for establishing the “Meeting Points” a measurement of local social capital and unused resources will be conducted in WP3. The contribution of experienced organizations and in the context of the ‘Transfer of know-how and good practice’ support area is the essence in providing the beneficiaries with the necessary knowledge and transferable skills of organizing a social enterprise or finding a job into a social enterprise as employees, through their experienced in social economy endeavors members. In this context, and in WP6 the stakeholder organizations will be able as well to acquire knowledge, exchange and share good practices and build their capacity on social entrepreneurship in courses embodying the experience and contribution of the expertise partner. All the above described methods will be conducted with the guidance and expertise opinion of the Expertise Partner providing thus the necessary knowledge and solid background for optimum project results. All an all, the project has been carefully designed in providing NEETs with tangible results and enhanced employability opportunities first by assessing the conditions for social entrepreurship initiatives in local societies, then by establishing the “NEETs Meeting Points”, while simultaneously train both NEETs (trainees) and civil society organizations members (trainers) as mentors under the high supervision of the expertise partner, so as, for NEETs to be able in moving to the next step in either finding a job in the social economy/civil organization society sector or engaging themselves in social entrepreneurship.

The EEA and Norway Grants

The EEA and Norway Grants are funded by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. The Grants have two goals – to contribute to a more equal Europe, both socially and economically – and to strengthen the relations between Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, and the 15 beneficiary countries in Europe.