The Youth in Action Programme defines disadvantaged young people as youth “with fewer opportunities” than their peers due to socio-economic factors, physical or mental disabilities, health problems, cultural differences, or educational or geographical situations/obstacles.
Promoting inclusion is based on one of the Programme’s general objectives of: “fostering social cohesion and combating all discrimination based on sex, race or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation, and with regard to sustainable development".
Youth in Action’s Inclusion Strategy [288 KB] has a number of aims: to ensure that young people with fewer opportunities gain equitable access to the Programme; to enhance the social inclusion, active citizenship and employability of young people with fewer opportunities; and to contribute to social cohesion.
The Programme provides funding for two types of inclusion projects: projects that consciously involve young people with fewer opportunities as active participants; or projects that have a clear thematic focus on inclusion – or on factors contributing to exclusion – and aim to improve the situation through awareness-raising, working towards projects with disadvantaged young people, exchange of good practice, etc.
The Inclusion Strategy promotes a common vision and commitment to inclusion, making it easier for youth workers to take a more inclusive approach to their work, and to encourage the self-development of young people with fewer opportunities.
Its expected outcomes include high-quality projects which actively involve young people facing difficulties; a large number of specific inclusion projects; and maximising synergies with other youth inclusion programmes and policies.
Since inclusion cuts across the entire spectrum of Actions covered by the Programme, all Youth in Action activities are potentially eligible for special support aimed at promoting inclusion, which usually covers exceptional costs incurred to bring this target group on board. In addition, the SALTO Inclusion Resource Centre provides relevant training, as well as a range of publications and other resources, designed to ensure that no young people are excluded from the Youth in Action Programme.
The circumstances of disadvantaged young people can differ from person to person, region to region and country to country. Youth in Action takes this diversity into account through its decentralised implementation.
As a result of inequities in earlier education stages, pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds often do not achieve the level of qualifications needed to access effectively the labour market or higher education. This can partly be remedied through non-formal education.
Non-formal and informal learning for young people with fewer opportunities helps to make the learning process attractive and appealing. By providing an additional source of learning, it can offer a new route into formal education or training for young people who missed out on earlier on.