European training, networking among youth workers and work in a local community - communication and co-operation in intercultural encounters - Coyote - Issue # 0

Across Europe in youth work a growing number of people work as trainers, for associations or services or dependently. Often they work in contrast with only a limited circle of colleagues. With the increasing prominence of youth worker training and the rising need for trainers, also the wish to share information, ides and opinions about training concepts, methodologies and realities is expressed more and more often. The European Commission and the Council of Europe are concerned about this situation. Their wish to take a step in responding to it led to the production of this first issue of the magazine Coyote.

An exchange about training concepts and opinions becomes more important in a European setting, where knowledge and sensitivity about vastly different realities is required. Strengthening networking among trainers is one of the initiatives promoted by the partnership between the Council of Europe and the European Commission in the youth field. As one of he tools of the cooperation, Coyote aims to provide a forum to share some of the issues that trainers face in their work with groups of participants and within training teams. It also wants to inform about current developments in this field, especially at the European level, and thus to promote the value of European level training for youth workers.

Youth worker training should make those concerned aware of what can be done better or differently within their organisations or communities. As was discussed in a recent meeting between the two institutions and their partners to develop a long-term vision of the partnership, training at European level should enable participants to integrate a European dimension into the life of the young people they work with at local or regional level and to involve them in the building of Europe.

Making the link between work at European level and the local reality is neither easy nor obvious. If the building of Europe is to succeed, however, this is what youth worker training needs to be about: enabling them to empower young people to participate as citizens in their societies and in Europe. The training should encourage participation in support of a set of democratic and social practices that together respect both similarities and differences and make today’s and tomorrow’s Europe.

A vast range of subjects comes to mind when thinking about issues of relevance for training understood in this sense. In this issue, the reflections, concerns and opinions expressed by the contributors focus mainly on a few questions that are essential for any European level training of youth workers: the links between European training, networking among youth workers and work in a local community; the challenges for communication and cooperation in intercultural encounters; and the use of appropriate educational methodologies. This reflects in part an explicit choice of the editorial team. In part, these accents were set by the authors alone.