Learning Mobility in the Youth Field: Towards Opportunities for all Evidence, experience, discourse

Istanbul, 7-9 October 2015

On 20-22 March 2013, the EPLM organised its first conference ‘Mobility Spaces, Learning Spaces - Linking Policy, Research and Practice', considered back then as the starting point for a sustainable dialogue supported by the platform, linking the different perspectives policy, research and practice, and examining the implications for the field. The conference tackled themes that, back then, formed what the EPLM should focus on in the coming years and which have since been reshaped into six main areas of work.

The second conference of the EPLM - Learning mobility in the youth field: towards opportunities for all. Evidence, experience, discourse - took place in Istanbul on 7-9 October 2015. It brought together 102 researchers, practitioners, volunteers, policy makers, institutions and organisations in the youth field working on the topic of learning mobility, as well as representatives of the corporate sector, the European Youth Press, the Orange Magazine and the Coyote Editorial team. The conference was preceded by a meeting of researchers concerned with learning mobilty in the youth field.

The focus of the exchanges was about opportunities for all, or to put in another way, inclusion of those with fewer opportunities in learning mobility projects. It was about mobility as a tool for inclusion, and to consider to which extent the mobility schemes are inclusive.

Keynote speeches from diverse incomers animated the plenary sessions and were an opportunity to establish constructive relations between research, practice and policy. The conference revolved around six theme tracks: impact (evidence, experience, and testimonies); recognition; motivation for learning mobility; information and guidance on opportunities for learning mobility; quality of learning mobility; support structures. For each subtheme, both perspectives were addressed: learning mobility as a tool for inclusion; and the (level of) inclusiveness of learning mobility schemes. These approached allowed participants from a diversity of countries, experiences, backgrounds and sectors to share perspectives. Many ideas were exchanged and suggestions were proposed for how the EPLM could move forward and make instrumental changes for young people with fewer opportunities in a learning mobility context.

The most underlined concept that was discussed from many different angles was the assurance of quality of learning mobility projects by focussing on the before/during/after timeline. This can also be translated into the preparation, implementation and follow-up phases of a learning mobility project, and the importance of supporting the (extra) needs of young people to develop at each of those stages. It was suggested that the expertise and knowledge of each of the three sectors can work closer together to bring added value for both the supported process, and for the learning development of the young person.

As for next steps and future directions of the EPLM, the possibility of strengthening existing links was underlined. Connecting closer, integrating approaches and working on specific projects perhaps even by co-elaborating with young people should be a course of action. The research angle should be more comprehensively incorporated into what happens next. Several suggestions were made for tools they could be developed using the prowess of representatives of the Platform in the learning mobility field. And then using the involvement of young people combined with the strength of the existing triangle as a springboard to link with other sectors (such as the corporate world, or formal education).

The 2015 EPLM conference was organised in partnership with the Turkish, French, German National Agencies for Erasmus+/Youth in Action. The partnership between the European Commission and the Council of Europe in the field of youth support the platform by providing its technical secretarial.

In addition to the transversal themes of learning mobility in the youth field and inclusion, a series of sub-themes have been developed. These sub-themes are not only based on the EPLM’s position paper and on its related activities (conferences and thematic meetings) but also take into consideration the Recommendations of the Council of the European Union on ‘Youth on the Move’ – promoting the learning mobility of young people (28 June 2011) and the Erasmus+ Inclusion and Diversity Strategy in the field of Youth:

  • Impact (evidence, experience, and testimonies);
  • Recognition;
  • Motivation for learning mobility;
  • Information and guidance on opportunities for learning mobility;
  • Quality of learning mobility; and
  • Support structures.