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THE ART OF TRAVELING LIGHT: TOURISM WITH A POSITIVE IMPACT

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This article is published by the organisation “Cooperative City”. Thank you for including WELCOMMON Hostel in the list of “tourism with a positive impact”.

THE ART OF TRAVELING LIGHT: TOURISM WITH A POSITIVE IMPACT

The extractive nature of mass tourism is made possible by tourist behaviour, missing regulations and lacking alternatives. There has been very little work done to make tourism more responsible, sustainable and enriching for local communities. While there is a growing number of emerging NGOs, cooperatives and social enterprises to channel tourism revenues into socially meaningful initiatives, they are often isolated and do not constitute a coherent tissue of services that could help tourists spend their budget in a thoroughly responsible way, with the most positive footprint possible. Our selection of interviews and articles aims at mapping and bringing together these initiatives, understanding their functioning, strengthening the ecosystem that feeds them and helping municipalities in adopting their tourism strategies to accommodate more responsible ways of traveling.

Summer is Europe’s high season for traveling. In July or August, depending on local school regimes and temperatures, many Europeans leave their homes to find refreshment at lakesides, rivers or seacoasts, or to discover new cities, new sights, new tastes. While on the road, more than at home, we’re traveling blind: at the mercy of travel agencies, tourism brochures, or accommodation platforms, we’re exposed to competing information channels to provide us information about where to go, where to stay, what to do – what to spend our money on. Like at home, our choices of consumption have a strong impact on local economy and the environment. But unlike at home, we don’t perceive the changes our choices provoked: the housing crisis generated by short-term rental platforms, the transformation of local commerce, the pressure on public spaces and transportation infrastructures or the environmental crisis remain unnoticed for most of us: busy with maximising pleasure and minimising cost, we are ignorant of the consequences of our behaviour.

Anti-touristification sign in Madrid. Photo (cc) Eutropian

Tourism had been an important resource for many cities in Europe that were struggling with the economic crisis, the impoverishment of various social groups as well as growing unemployment. In recent years, however, many cities have been facing growing discontent with mass tourism perceived as creating environmental and social damage and pushing housing prices to unaffordable levels. In numerous European cities, with the arrival of low-fare airlines, many urban areas turned into clusters of services addressing solely tourists: stag parties, pub crawls and the mushrooming of new venues for eating and drinking have made former residential neighbourhoods unrecognisable, eliminating their social tissues. While these new services have undeniably created new jobs in the nightlife industry, these jobs are mostly precarious, and profit is extracted from local economies, with very little reinvestment in the neighbourhoods where they are generated. In other cities – like in Venice, the prototype city of touristification – pressure on public spaces and green areas has been increasing with new, speculative hotel development projects, as you can read in our article about protests against the privatisation of Venice’s Poveglia island. The increasingly negative impact of tourism brought to life many initiatives and networks to empower critical voices, like SET in Southern Europe. However, tourism is not likely to go away soon: while supporting regulations to control tourism and mitigate its damages, we also need to develop alternatives that help tourists make choices in more responsible manners.

The association Poveglia per Tutti has been fighting to reclaim Poveglia, one of the many islands scattered across the Venetian lagoon, and make it a public place for the Venetian community to enjoy rather than yet another tourist resort. istorically, resident Venetians have always seen the southern lagoon as some sort of an urban park. In the past 15-20 years, at least 5 of the 6 islands forming the small archipelago lying behind Giudecca have been privatised. Step by step, public spaces started to disappear. The last one is Poveglia, which is why there is so much local attention towards it. Read our article here.

The extractive nature of mass tourism is made possible by tourist behaviour, missing regulations and lacking alternatives. While many European cities have been investing a lot of energy into attracting an increasing number of tourists, there has been very little work done to make tourism more responsible, sustainable and enriching for local communities. Similarly, while there is a growing number of emerging NGOs, cooperatives and social enterprises to channel tourism revenues into socially meaningful initiatives, they are often isolated and do not constitute a coherent tissue of services that could help tourists spend their budget in a thoroughly responsible way, with the most positive footprint possible. Cooperative City has been for years engaged in exploring and introducing such initiatives across Europe. Our selection of interviews and articles aims at mapping and bringing together these initiatives, understanding their functioning, strengthening the ecosystem that feeds them and helping municipalities in adopting their tourism strategies to accommodate more responsible ways of traveling.

The Welcommon Hostel is a former refugee shelter turned into a hub for social inclusion and environmental education in Athens. Run by the social cooperative Anemos Ananeosis, Welcommon uses tourism revenues to invest in social activities. The highest floors of the building are used as a hostel while the lower floors have a lot of space available for workshops, conferences and events. Welcommon promotes social innovation, greenovation and circular economy, supporting the social inclusion of refugees, news distribution, and climate protection. Read our article here.

Our impact on the cities we visit is manifold. Our choice for accommodation can have an impact on the local housing and labour market – and can unsuspectingly support authoritarian regimes by spending in their economic hinterland. In the past years, we have witnessed a new genre of hotels and hotels that use tourism and a means to create local jobs, train vulnerable people or create social welfare services or cultural events, while not stressing the local housing market. Largo Residencias in Lisbon is a cooperative hotel and hostel that employs people who come from chronic poverty and serves as a reference point for cultural events and the discussion about the future of the Intendente neighbourhood.

Largo Residencias is a hotel, hostel and artist-in-residence and café in Lisbon’s fast-changing Intendente neighbourhood. Run by a cooperative, Largo aims at connecting the area’s past and future: it serves as a community hub for many of the area’s residents and initiatives, and develops projects to support the cultural and social inclusion of the neighbourhood’s precarious inhabitants. The organisation also employs people who come from chronic poverty and serves as a reference point for cultural events and the discussion about the future of the Intendente neighbourhood. Read our article here.

Welcommon Hostel in Athens is a former refugee shelter turned into a hub for social inclusion and environmental education. Magdas Hotel in Vienna trains refugees to find jobs in the tourism industry. Besides hosting tourists, Casa Netural in Matera (European Capital of Culture 2019) also functions as a co-working space and an incubator for innovative and experimental projects in the fields of agriculture, design and culture. Atlas Hostel in Gran Canaria acts as a hub for neighbourhood activities and events. Zazie Hotel in Paris helps in the reinsertion of long-time unemployed people into the labour market. In an experimental phase, the Fairbnb platform is getting ready to connect hosts and guests across Europe in a non-extractive network that channels a part of its revenues into local social projects.

Besides where we stay, the choice of where we eat or consume other goods also have an impact on the cities we visit. Even in the most touristified cities, visitors and their spending are concentrated in a few circumscribed areas, while other neighbourhoods lack resources and jobs. By concentrating too much attention on a few areas and services, like a famous bookshop in Porto, we might turn them into tourist reserves. While some cities like London try to use zoning to move tourism from central areas to more resource-hungry boroughs, in other cities, bottom-up initiatives work on distributing tourism to neighbourhoods where additional revenues are most needed. In Rome, a city with high inequality between central and peripheral areas, Ecomuseo Casilino highlights the archaeological heritage and contemporary cultures of the Pigneto and Torpignattara neighbourhoods of Eastern Rome, attracting visitors and helping local businesses. In the North-western part of the city, the agricultural cooperative Cobragor caters to tourists interested in resourced food and responsible accommodation.

Ecomuseo Casilino is an open-air, community-conceived museum in Eastern Rome, operating beyond the standard notion of an walled institution. The Associazione Culturale Ecomuseo Casilino Ad Duas Lauros is committed to collect cultural resources, based on what local communities consider as such. The Ecomuseum’s work consists of mapping, gathering information and storytelling: besides all the historical, archaeological and artistic heritage, the association also explores objects of cultural value that local residents consider vital for the community. Read our article here.

Our means of traveling also adds to our travel impact. With over … people flying around the world, the aviaion industry’s ecological footprint has been reaching 2% of the global amount of CO2 emitted. As an alternative, Europe’s night train network, growing again after years of disinvestment and decline, makes it possible to travel long distances without flying. In cities, tourists pretending to be locals often paralyse local means of transport to the extent of preventing locals from using them like in the case of Lisbon’s famous tram no. 28.

Paying more attention to how we travel, where we stay and how we spend our money are important means of being more responsible tourists. While some cities have actively developing regulations to make tourism less damaging and more beneficial, and many local initiatives have been working on channelling tourism revenues into positive social impact, there is still little public understanding of responsible alternatives. In order to make these alternatives more visible, Cooperative City has been building a map exploring new, responsible ways of traveling.

Our European map of Responsible Tourism is still in the making: write us to info@cooperativecity.org and help us with suggestions, reports and interviews to develop further this map!

For a European Youth Guarantee with Green Qualification Offensive

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  1. Youth for a sustainable future

The climate crisis does not allow a postponement of action. When the tipping points towards self-enhancing global warming are approaching, rapid and drastic measures are necessary. Not at some point or other, but here and now.

Climate protection requires commitment, but also creativity, technical know-how and qualified, hard work. Speeding the energy transformation, developing storage technologies, transforming buildings into zero energy or energy producers, making forms of housing and mobility environmentally compatible: activities, know-how and the ingenuity of people who are capable of developing and implementing ways and solutions containing the global climate crisis are in demand. The beginning is an energy revolution with trained craftsmen and engineers and it continues with experts for energy planning and digital control of processes. We need research for necessary technical and social innovations and we need consulting and communication tools to spread these innovations, overcome acceptance barriers and adapt solutions to concrete needs. The need for qualified wo-men power extends far beyond energy-related tasks, we are thinking of challenges such as redesigning agriculture to be climate-friendly, protecting forests from mega fires in drought summers, redesigning them to be climate-friendly, reforesting landscapes and cities, adapting them to the harsher circumstances of the climate crisis, or shaping the way we handle water, irrigation and rainwater in such a way that the consequences of aggravated water crises remain manageable in a changed climate.

In many regions and cities of the European Union, young people are calling unambiguously for “climate protection here and now”. “Fridays for Future Movement” has created a movement that calls for and forces action. In addition to the practical commitment, a great deal of technical knowledge and know-how, a wide range of new technical and interdisciplinary skills are necessary in order to successfully implement climate protection. Europe needs a lot of young people who are prepared and qualified for the diverse tasks in climate change. The supply of skilled workers is far from sufficient for a serious “green new deal”: Europe and the rest of the world need young specialists above all.

A Europe-wide qualification offensive in many fields of action is therefore pending for climate protection. How can the European Union as such contribute to this after the upcoming European elections and without delay? A future-oriented qualification offensive for climate change must be supported by young people – but on average it is precisely this group that is much more excluded from the labour market. At the beginning of 2019, the EU reported an unemployment rate of 6.3%, compared with 10.6% for the age group between 20 and 29. The discrepancy is even more pronounced in the southern European countries, i.e. in regions that are particularly hard hit by the imminent climate catastrophes, while at the same time offer great resources in the field of renewable energies. At the turn of the year 2018/19, youth unemployment in Greece reached 31.6%, in Spain 23.8%, in Croatia 16.6% and in Italy 23.5%. And this is despite the fact that young people from these countries have migrated in large numbers to Northern European regions to look for work.

At its core, the EU already has an instrument with which it can, after further development, provide strong impetus for a Green New Deal: the European Youth Guarantee. Enacted after the increase of youth unemployment in 2013, it obliges the Member States to offer young people between the ages of 15 and 24 either paid work or an apprenticeship within four months. After submission of implementation programms, the countries receive funds from the EU budget. By 2018, a total of €6.4 billion had been made available for this purpose, now the amount is €9 billion. It is obvious that this sum can only be used to alleviate youth unemployment. And if the European Commission now refers to the fact that it has fallen from 24% in 2013 to 14.6% at the beginning of 2019 among 18 to 24-year-olds across the EU, this is more the result of a certain economic revival and intra-European migration.

It is not surprising, that the Youth Guarantee only had limited effects in fighting against youth unemployment.  To hire young people without additional training for a minimum wage improved with public grants, invites frequently to windfall effects in enterprises. Without any economic change, the youth guarantee remains an instrument that only temporarily gives young people career prospects; or it leads to shifts in the labour market. Taken on its own, it does not open up sustainable employment prospects or new jobs. In economic sectors where there is no more work or even less work in the next future, it resembles a zero-sum game.

On the other hand, it can have a positive effect in the long term in economic sectors that will be in demand in the future and are important for the future of society. The training and work of young people should preferably be promoted and supported in such business areas and activities. Thus, we propose an extended form of the Youth Guarantee, giving at the same time strong impulses for a Green New Deal.  It should include a targeted training offensive offered to all Member States in line with their youth unemployment rates:

The EU offers young people, who have not yet found adequate work, training concerning technical issues and empowerment for the subsequent search for a profession, for setting up businesses or cooperatives, and opportunities to participate in cooperatives in occupational fields that are suitable for advancing the sustainable development of the Union. One area that is particularly suitable here are activities dealing with the improvement of climate protection and the containment of the effects of global warming. We propose to extend the European Youth Guarantee by an additional EU-funded offer “Youth for a sustainable future”. This offer is intended to provide young Europeans, including young refugees with right of residence, with primary or supplementary training in professions that are important and necessary for climate protection. The training should be closely linked to practical activities and local experience, similar to the “dual model” of vocational training in Germany. The young people should also learn how they can take the initiative in the climate protection and energy system transformation sector, set up start-up companies and become active in solidarity-based economic projects. Particularly in the climate-friendly energy system transformation and work structuring sector, personal initiative and creativity are particularly in demand.

The financial resources available to the European Youth Guarantee are far from sufficient to achieve the declared goal of opening the way for all young Europeans to a profession and to adequate work. Therefore, in the forthcoming discussions of the European budget, the fund foreseen for the youth guarantee must be substantially expanded.

In addition, the proposed educational offer “Youth for a sustainable future” presupposes that corresponding climate protection activities are actually tackled. But all EU member states are bound by international law to do so (Paris Convention on Climate Change) anyway. The EU Commission recently “added” to this and set out requirements in new guidelines negotiated with the European Parliament and the European Council that will have to be implemented in the coming years. Just to name two: The share of renewable energies in the EU’s total energy consumption must be at least 32% by 2030. The Commission reserves the right to further increase the share by 2023 with a new proposal for a directive. And energy efficiency must be increased by 32.5% across Europe by 2030. In view of the drama of the climate crisis, this target is still too low; but this alone make it mandatory to qualify far more than one million young Europeans in a short period of time in such a way that they can participate in the restructuring of the energy supply.

It is precisely the southern regions affected by high youth unemployment that offer favourable conditions for the use of solar and wind energy and also have a lot of catching up to do in terms of energy efficiency. In the coming years they will also be confronted more severely than northern Europe with the consequences of the deregulated climate and will have to do a great deal to limit desertification, the risk of erosion, severe water crises and negative effects on agriculture. This is another reason why they cannot afford to permanently exclude young people from employment or force them to migrate to other European regions. They need their youth in order to maintain the viability of their own society.

  1. Systemic approach for a Southern European qualification offensive in the field of sustainable construction and renewable energies

A holistic systemic approach is needed to reduce youth unemployment sustainably, to give young people perspectives through qualified employment and to make use of their potential in the fight against the climate crisis. Such an approach can be used to define and create meaningful and existentially important action fields which are additionally necessary for the climate change.

The approach presented here initially focuses on the areas of sustainable construction and renewable energies. However, it can be transferred to other fields of employment for social change. These are key areas for shaping an ecological turnaround in our societies, for which immense development potential is also predicted in the southern European countries. Both fields of action are already perceived by companies in Southern European countries as future markets.

We refer to two target groups in southern European countries affected by high youth unemployment. The approach is aimed at young people before they enter the labour market (1.1.) and at young, already qualified experts who, despite their mostly academic qualifications, cannot find a job (1.2.). For both target groups it is proposed to strengthen their technical know-how in the field of green skills and their interdisciplinary expertise in the field of soft skills through the development of educational services tailored precisely to this target group in such a way that on the one hand their employment and future prospects can be improved and on the other hand their potential for climate protection can be used. The educational services will be developed with the support of German experts, but it is an explicitly co-creative development with experts in the target countries. In this way it is ensured that the new educational services are integrated into the education system of the target country and adapt to new challenges.

2.1 Strengthening of the green vocational training and green vocational orientation in the target countries

There is a strong prioritisation of academic education in the Southern European countries affected by high youth unemployment. Vocational education and training is not valued by society; vocational training systems are often strongly geared to theoretical training and do not adapt their offerings to the needs of modern markets. This applies not only to the demand for modern (green) technologies, especially green technologies, but also to the growing need to train young trainees in soft skills, in the sense of empowerment, which enables them to develop autonomously in modern labour markets.

The one-sided focus of academic education and the poor quality of vocational training have led to a shortage of skilled workers at the intermediate qualification level, particularly in technical occupations, which companies are already complaining about today. Although it is obvious that studying often leads to unemployment, parents continue to make great efforts to bring their children to universities. If one looks at the situation in the areas of sustainable construction and renewable energies in the target countries, the companies speak of immense growth potential, which, however, can not be realised due to a lack of experts. At the intermediate qualification level, there is a lack of skilled workers and the possibility of providing services that require European certification (e.g. with regard to environmental protection). At the higher qualification level, the existing know-how usually has a deficit practical relevance. Even in the southern European countries, where the vocational training system has traditionally been decoupled from the companies, more and more companies are becoming involved in cooperation with the vocational training institutions and in participation in the practical training of young skilled workers. In doing so they must be supported both in terms of content and structure.

The vocational training systems in the target countries can be supported in their entirety (vocational training institutions, companies, intermediary actors) by know-how from Germany, if this know-how is transferred in the form of adapted training services to jointly defined points in the existing vocational training systems. For example, existing job profiles can be sustainably upgraded through “greening” and modernization and become more attractive and effective for climate protection with technical know-how. At the same time, vocational orientation campaigns in the countries must support a development that brings vocational training as a future-oriented perspective back into the minds of young people. Gender-neutral motivation of young people also plays an important role with regard to technical occupations. The green commitment of young women and girls must be supported by campaigns that enable them to discover and develop their technical potential. Also for this there are solutions in Germany that can be used as a role model and they can be further developed within the education systems of other countries.

2.2. Additional educational services for “Young Experts” in green technical occupations

The second target group, which is strongly affected by unemployment in the southern European countries and can develop its potential for the “Green New Deal” through targeted support, are young experts who have already undergone technical training at academic or professional level and have not yet been able to implement their skills in local labour markets. They need to develop educational services that provide them with the latest technical knowledge in the field of sustainable construction and renewable energies. Especially new technological developments are creating many new job profiles that are necessary in an economy oriented towards sustainability and green solutions. Relating to international and European regulations, fields of employment arise in the field of sustainable construction and renewable energies that are not covered by classical job profiles. Especially in these new fields of employment, completely new competence profiles are necessary. For example with regard to a new relationship with potential customers and the task of establishing a sustainability culture at different levels of society. The changed organizational forms of modern qualified work also require potentials that have not been taken into account in traditional training programs yet. It is crucial to provide young experts with skills that will enable them to develop their employability on the one hand and promote new, creative and social entrepreneurship on the other. In this way, new creative solutions can be developed for a climate-friendly, sustainable society and employment prospects can be created in the target countries themselves.

2.3. Youth without work and vocational training

In the breakdown of youth unemployment, the high proportion of so-called NEETs in EU jargon is particularly worrying. This refers to young people who are neither in a registered job nor in training or a work-related training program. In 2017, 14.5% of Europeans between the ages of 15 and 34 were in this situation. The breakdown by country was 25.5% in Italy, 24.4% in Greece, 19.5% in Bulgaria, 18.9% in Croatia and 17.9% in Spain. For the age cohort of up to 25 year olds, the balance is even less favourable, especially in Southern Europe:

  • Italy: 29,1%
  • Greece: 23%
  • Spain: 21,2%
  • Romania: 23,6%
  • Bulgaria and Cyprus: 22,7% each.

Even if precise statistics are not available, it must be assumed that a considerable proportion of these so-called NEETS only have little and often incomplete school education. In order to stop, or at least substantially reduce, socially unacceptable marginalization and exclusion, the proposed qualification offensive should be extended in a way that it fits this population group, too.

We therefore propose training courses in occupational sectors for which there are low-threshold training requirements. Here, a serious policy of climate protection and resilience to the ongoing climate crisis opens up an enormous need. The landscapes, especially in the southern European regions, are exposed to increased erosion, accumulating water crises and the danger of widespread desertification as a result of the intensifying climate crisis. Ruthlessly geared to product maximization, agriculture speeds up the threatened degradation of entire regions.

In addition to an ecological turnaround in agriculture, a wide variety of protection and safety measures in the landscape and in the water balance will therefore be necessary in the coming years – qualified work in large numbers is also required for this purpose, for which young people with little previous knowledge of school and work can be trained. Especially young people in rural areas could find a viable alternative to permanent local unemployment or the often aimless search for a job under precarious conditions in urban conurbations. Further fields of action include reforestation, the transformation of forests into more climate resilience and the renaturation of water bodies. In urban settlements, the increasing frequency of extreme weather events alone is leading to a much stronger commitment than before to greening settlements and rainwater management. After all, in the upcoming comprehensive energetic refurbishment of buildings, qualified specialists and a large number of building craftsmen with basic training are in demand.

  1. Recommendation for action

On this basis, we recommend the planning and implementation of an action program “Youth for a sustainable future” within the framework of transnational cooperation, which should start with the following priority initial measures:

  1. Carrying out a comprehensive survey on modernization needs in the climate-protection relevant areas of vocational education and training, with the participation of vocational training institutions and business associations in the target countries;
  2. Pilot testing of measures for the modernization, dualization and exemplary greening of job profiles in the fields of climate protection, energy efficiency and sustainable construction in the target countries (e.g. Spain and Greece), with recourse to the research on the internationalization of vocational education and training;
  3. Pilot measures for needs assessment, modelling and implementation of further training concepts for fields of competence relevant to climate protection: Solar, Wind, Smart Home for the target group 25 – 29 years old.
  4. Modelling of measures for the support of soft skills (empowerment, self-management, communication) for the promotion of start-ups in markets relevant to climate protection for the target group 15 – 29 years old.
  5. Modelling measures to promote the employability of young experts in order to prepare them for the demands of modern labour markets and to improve their work design capacities.
  6. Measures for career choice orientation to reduce the shortage of skilled workers in ‘green tech’ occupations (target group: 15-24 years old)
  7. Bringing together the results of the development of a framework program ‘Youth for a sustainable future’ of the European Union.

Authors

Dr. Hartwig Berger, Dr. Rüdiger Klatt, Silke Steinberg

Empirical background of the article are relevant activities of the authors, present and past years:

ÖKOWERK

  • „Mas trabajo con menos energía“, ein dreimonatiger Ausbildungskurs von arbeitslosen Jugendlichen zu kommunalen Energieberater*innen in einer Kleinstadt der Provinz Cádiz, 2014; neben privaten Spenden finanziert durch die Heinrich Böll Stiftung, Brüssel [1].
  • How to Reduce Youth Unemployment by Fighting Climate Change.  A Study in Greece and Southern Spain”. Eine Machbarkeitsstudie dder Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft(HTW) Berlin, der Universität Cádiz(UCA), der NGO Wind of Renewals(WoR) in Athen und des Sekretariats für Zukunftsforschung Berlin (SFZ), 2018. Finanziert von der Europäischen Klimainitiative (EUKI) des Ministeriums für Umwelt, Naturschutz und Reaktorsicherheit in Deutschland.[2]
  • “Young Energy Experts working for climate-friendly Schools (YESclima)“,

Projekt von UCA, WoR, SfZ und der Energieagentur der Provinz Cádiz, 2018-2020. Finanziert von der Europäischen Klimainitiative (EUKI) des Ministeriums für Umwelt, Naturschutz und Reaktorsicherheit in Deutschland [3].

FIAP e.V.

  • For the activities of the FIAP see http://www.fiap-ev.de/ and especially the current projects GRÆDUCATION and Youth Impact (see below). As a research institute, FIAP has been carrying out evaluations and analyses of labour market policy measures for years and is involved in various projects on the topic of innovative technologies for climate protection. Since the beginning of 2019, the Institute has been operating a Virtual Reality Laboratory in which ideas for VR applications in the field of education for sustainability are developed and implemented.
  • A particular focus of the Institute’s research work is on international cooperation in the field of vocational education and training. In various projects in and outside Europe, educational and advisory services have been developed with the aim of modernizing vocational training systems in target countries, in order to make them an effective instrument in the fight against unemployment and to improve the economic situation in the target countries. Both scientific and transfer-oriented publications have been produced.[4]
  • GRÆDUCATION project:

GRÆDUCATION, a project funded by the BMBF, is being developed in cooperation with the Greek Employment Agency (OAED) and the Institute for Education Policy (IEP) in order to modernize the Greek vocational training system, especially in the field of sustainable technologies. Furthermore, educational services for interdisciplinary skills are developed. Together with the cooperation partners and Greek secondary schools, an approach for vocational orientation with regard to “green skills” has been designed and implemented to motivate young people for vocational training and to sensitise them to sustainable technologies.

  • Project Youth Impact:

The Youth Impact project is funded by the EEA and Norway Grants Fund for Youth Unemployment. Together with Czech, Polish and Slovakian partners, tools and services are being developed to strengthen the self-evaluation capacities of youth unemployment agencies (NGOs, public and private institutions) and to support them in optimizing the implementation of their measures. A further goal is the establishment of a transnational research network on the topic of impact evaluation in the field of unemployment.

– FIAP supports the project “Young Energy Experts working for climate-friendly Schools (YESclima)” with an empowerment approach in relation to the topics “Employability” and “Entrepreneurship”.

[1] https://www.hartwig-berger.de/cms/mehr-arbeit-mit-weniger-energie/; https://www.hartwig-berger.de/cms/viel-wind-viel-sonne-wenig-arbeit-ein-landort-in-andalusien/; https://www.hartwig-berger.de/cms/category/textos-en-espanol/videos-sp/

[2] https://www.hartwig-berger.de/cms/against-youth-unemployment-by-fighting-climate-change/

[3] https://www.hartwig-berger.de/cms/young-energy-experts-working-for-climate-friendly-schools/

[4] GRÆDUCATION – Innovation and sustainability management in a community-based, European VET culture. Vol. 1/2019 Publication Series for Participative Innovation and Transfer ISBN 978-3-00-062709-5 (available for download at https://www.fiap-ev.de)

Steinberg, Silke (2016): Transculturation as potential in open innovation processes

In: Steinberg, Silke; Kutschke, Thomas; Fuchs-Frohnhofen, Paul; Ciesinger, Kurt (Ed.) (2016): Cooperative development of geriatric care training for China. A model for the export of education. Berlin: LIT

 

 

 

Energy transition and youth employment in Spain and Greece

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Published at https://energytransition.org/2018/12/energy-transition-and-youth-employment/ 

Anemos Ananeosis / Wind of Renewal participated in drafting of the study

Youth unemployment, especially in southern European countries, remains unbearably high. Renewable energy and climate protection are an opportunity to create new, well-paid jobs in urban and rural areas, Dr Hartwig Berger explains.

The energy transition could result in hundreds of thousands of jobs, especially for young people (Photo by Radostina Primova)

Spain and Greece were hit hard by this summer’s droughts and wildfires – the Mediterranean regions are highly endangered by the climate crisis, and energy change there is urgent. At the same time, the opportunities for a climate-friendly transformation of the energy systems are very promising. The conditions there are excellent for the use of sun and often ideal for the exploitation of wind. There is a considerable scope for efficient and economical energy use too.

It therefore essential to train young people in qualifications and skills that are required for this vast economic transformation so that Europe can become a global leader in green energy and fulfil its Paris commitments. They can be offered a promising professional future instead of being marginalized from work.

At the beginning of 2018, a team from three countries conducted research in the Spanish province of Cádiz and in Athens. Their goal was to find out what opportunities there were for a climate-friendly energy change in the coming years and the additional demand for qualified work resulting from it. Next, they examined how the energy transition is viewed by stakeholders, local politicians and affected young people themselves and whether local communities are willing to participate in appropriate initiatives. Finally, the team developed a set of proposals on how such professional training should be designed in order to increase the prospects of subsequent employment.

The project was financed by the EU Climate Initiative (EUKI) of the German Federal Ministry for Environment.

Potential for renewables

The key results of the research are that the energy transition could result in hundreds of thousands of jobs, especially for young people. In addition, the Mediterranean’s sunny climate makes distributed solar energy a profitable option.

Transitioning to renewable energy and climate protection offer considerable employment potential. We expect a six-figure number of new jobs in Spain and almost a six-figure number in Greece for energy-efficient building refurbishment alone. In the various renewable energy tasks, we estimate the number of new jobs in both countries to be in the five-digit range. In the municipalities surveyed, the energy balance of the buildings is generally so unfavourable that the applicable national and European regulations virtually force refurbishments.

From an economic point of view, the prosuming (production and consumption) of solar electricity required by households, businesses and public institutions themselves in the investigated regions is also very attractive. In Greece, the legal framework is favourable. In Spain, fundamental improvements can be expected in the near future. Even for low-income households and businesses, solar power generation is economically viable, provided that there are favourable microcredits, state subsidies and offers for a so-called “energy contracting”.

At present, young people in the regions who are trained in energy management have clear difficulties to find jobs in their field. Their chances improve significantly if vocational training is closely linked to practical learning in companies or communal activities. But close attention must be payed to prevent misuse of apprenticeships by companies.

Policy proposals: local and regional training

The team came up with the following proposals to improve youth unemployment and switch to clean energy:

–    Municipal action plans at both local and regional level. Action days should be organized in towns to present possible or existing projects and to inform citizens and local businesses about national and regional energy plans, as well as the possibilities for funding activities related to energy and climate protection. For renovations and energy efficiency projects, the study recommends building cooperatives or neighbourhood associations.

–   Programs for targeted “dual” qualification of young unemployed people and energy refurbishments in municipal buildings. The energy-saving provisions for buildings should include natural techniques and the use of renewable energy sources on site. In autumn 2018, a test project was launched in small towns near Cádiz and in Athens for schools in these regions, which are notoriously hot in summer and cold in winter.

–    Programs for “round-up” training of young people. It is crucial that these programs begin now because in the coming years, a large number of experts will be in demand for the use of solar energy. Training should include planning, installation, monitoring, economic efficiency calculations for solar systems, plus energy-saving measures.

–     Professional training programs in climate protection activities for youth in rural areas. Young people without jobs and training have the greatest difficulties in finding a job in the regions studied. Therefore, providing professional training in the sectors of agriculture, forests and green urban environment will be important.

–    The existing “European Youth Guarantee” should be extended to finance training in occupations in which a high demand for skilled workers can be expected in the future. This is undoubtedly the case in the areas of energy transition and climate protection.

The detailed study “How to Reduce Youth Unemployment by Fighting Climate Change” is available at www.hartwig-berger.de.

Dr. Hartwig Berger (Berlin), was before his retirement a private lecturer for sociology at the FU Berlin and at times deputy in Berlin and chairman of the Ökowerk Berlin.

 *”energy contracting” is a bold technical term. It refers to contracts in which a company typically invests at its own expense in energy-saving measures or energy installations and then “recovers” its own costs by means of the savings achieved, etc.

 “Wind of Renewal” in COOP Spotlight

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Wind of Renewal is a social cooperative in Greece founded in 2014 with ten people.

Article | 09 December 2016

http://www.ilo.org/global/topics/cooperatives/news/WCMS_537883/lang–en/index.htm?shared_from=shr-tls

COOP Spotlight is a series that showcases innovative cooperative initiatives from around the world with whom ILO COOP is engaging for exchange of learning and future collaboration. The fourth cooperative featured in the series is the Wind of Renewal, a social cooperative in Greece.

What does the Wind of Renewal stand for?

The Wind of Renewal (WoR) was founded in 2014 with ten people. The cooperative is working to advance a number of social and economic objectives, including integration of refugees into host communities and promotion of sustainable and green social enterprises.

To advance these goals, the WoR has been collaborating with local government, EU institutions, cooperative movement, other civil society organizations (CSOs) as well as universities and researchers on wide range of projects and activities. Some of the recent activities of WoR include awareness raising on energy cooperatives, workshops on migration and social enterprises, research on green local policies, and drafting a code of conduct for social enterprises, among many others.

What is the “Welcommon” initiative about?

In September 2016, the WoR launched “Welcommon”, a pilot project that provides housing to refugees and supports their social integration into host communities. #Welcommon’s refugee housing facility is located in Exarhia, Athens. It is operated within the framework of cooperative and social enterprise management scheme of the ANEMOS ANANEOSIS/WIND OF RENEWAL and the Athens Development and Destination Management Agency (EATA).

 
#Welcommon accommodates up to 200 people with separate rooms designated for families. The project functions under the framework of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) relocation programme for refugees. Beneficiaries are identified by the UNHCR within the framework of its relocation programme, with priority given to vulnerable groups including pregnant women, families with children, and the elderly, among others. Currently the majority of the 160 guests are Syrian children, who are usually accompanied by only one parent.

    

#Welcommon covers the costs of settlement and all the basic needs of the refugees beside housing facilities. The project organizes training for refugees, and facilitates their active participation and cooperation with the local population. It aims to provide adequate infrastructure and quality services, while applying good practices that ensure the dignity of the refugees.

  

Welcommon created 29 new direct jobs in 2016 and will create six more in 2017 for Greek citizens. The majority of the previously unemployed employees, have experience on refugee response. In addition, more than 20 volunteers support WoR on daily tasks. The project also supports refugees with facilitating employment opportunities.

How are decisions made within the cooperative?

Each member of WoR has one vote and is welcome to take part in the yearly general assembly, which makes decides on the next year’s activities and gives political directions to the Governing Committee, which consists of three members elected every two years (President, Vice President and Treasurer). The Governing Committee meets at least once a month and decides on strategic and management issues.