In both the developed and developing world, the rising youth unemployment rate is a significant problem. It is thought that this increase is due to a mix of the labour market being increasingly competitive and the fact that the skills that workers have to offer do not match the skills demanded by the employers. In 2015, the global youth unemployment rate was 13.1%. Due to this and the rising rate of youth unemployment, the UN have designated the 15th July as World Youth Skills Day.
The UN has stated education and training is significant to tackling this increasing rate. At BirdLife Malta we want to help young people enhance their personal development and social skills, whilst also giving them a better understanding of their local environment. In 2017 a three-year project Lifelong Learning through Nature (LLN) came to an end and it has shown that outdoor education improves concentration and social awareness. Studies have also found that learning outside the classroom supports the development of healthy and active lifestyles by offering children opportunities for physical activity, freedom and movement, and promoting a sense of well-being.
This year we launched PINE – a 12-month project that is targeted at youths from the age of 14-24 years old to help them develop and enhance skills in an outdoor setting. This will provide opportunities for them to reach their full potential using different learning styles. It is inclusive to education and training, enhancing the access and participation of disadvantaged young people who are unemployed and need support to find employment in their countries or within Europe.
This project aims to help young people to discover their potential and to give them the confidence to understand and acknowledge their skills and competences. The entrepreneurship education project will enable young people to develop skills which are often not available in academia and provide an alternative for those who struggle with classroom and traditional educational methods.
Our environment faces more challenges than ever before. Environmental education is the stepping stone to increased awareness, and plays an important role in empowering people to make a difference to the world around them. Using the outdoors as a medium for education initiatives can be a valuable and effective way to develop social skills, creativity, academic attainment and health and well-being for youths.
PINE is designed for youth across different countries to allow greater diversity in learning and sharing best practices. This project will be developed transnationally as every partner organisation has a different expertise, perspective and knowledge in order to contribute and create field teaching resources based on best practices and relevance. This brings added value to the intellectual outputs delivered through the project.
In 2012, the youth unemployment rate in Malta was 12%. This has fallen to 4.8% in 2018. With the PINE project we hope we can contribute more to an even larger decrease across Malta and Europe.
By Abbie Ferrar, Education Assistant at BirdLife Malta