The countdown has begun, the battle lines have been drawn, economics and immigration the watchwords of the rival camps. An argument based on estimates and uncertainties and the inevitable back and forth between the in and out campaigns shows no signs of abating. While there are many arguments, statistics and hypothetical scenarios that can be dismissed by Boris and co as quickly as they are raised, there is one point that cannot be disputed. There are projects available right now, funded by the EU that can have a hugely positive impact on young people in the UK from all walks of life.
While the Erasmus program is well known throughout the higher education community, the Erasmus plus program is almost anonymous in comparison. An Erasmus plus project is usually run by a charity or not-for-profit organisation that brings together young people from a variety of countries including the UK. The primary goal of these projects is to build confidence, leadership skills and employability amongst the participants and promote inclusion through various levels of society. Often in the process they can also benefit other charities or environmental causes.
There are organisations that run these projects across the nation, often offering unique experiences abroad for little to no cost to the young participant. But while they are widely available, often the strong point these organisations lack is the ability to effectively advertise them. People and time constraints mean that often the focus remains on excellent delivery and promotion unfortunately gets pushed down the priority list.
This is where the Europeers UK project, facilitated by NGO Momentum World, is looking to step in. The initiative has been founded by a group of young people who are alumni of EU funded programs, who have seen a hugely positive change in their lives as a result, and who want to highlight the impact that they can have on even more young people in the UK. With the referendum fast approaching, it is more important than ever to show UK 18-25 years old that these projects exist and they can be extremely beneficial to both personal and professional development.
Being an alumnus of several projects has made me a staunch believer in this cause and in the social benefits EU membership brings to our country. My experiences took me from a relatively aimless graduate with little professional experience to leading international projects both at home and abroad.
Having gained pretty much no leadership experience at university, I was now leading teams of special needs and mainstream school children in helping put on a talent show with an audience of over 700 people. I was travelling all round Europe, participating in and coordinating youth projects across the continent whilst making friends in more countries then you could ever hope to visit.
The confidence I gained from my time on EU projects enabled me to go get a job and a career. I've seen this effect first hand in hundreds of other participants and heard similar success stories across many organisations doing mostly unseen work. Charities and NGOs of any size can even benefit from their very own EU funded full time interns and volunteers through the European Voluntary Service program.
Youth opinion is generally considered to be pro-EU but the remain campaigns are in serious danger of taking this vote for granted by not making them a priority. The youth vote can certainly sway the whole debate and low youth voter turnout equally could hand victory to Vote Leave. The debate will rage on as the big day draws closer with facts and figures being discredited and dismissed in a storm of uncertainty. Until then one thing remains a fact. Young people from any background in the UK can benefit from an EU funded project today.
For more information on EU funded projects for young people visit http://www.europeers.uk/