How volunteering can get you to Poland!


In January we ran a competition for one of our Young Professionals to win a trip to Poland to commentate at the 3rd European Congress of Local Governments. In order to win young people had to share with us the work that takes place in their local community to support young people, what is working and would could be improved. Following lots of great input, Patrick was crowned as our winner, you can find out more about Patricks submission here.

Patrick shares with us 4 of the things he learnt on the trip:

 4 Thinvolunteeringgs I Learnt At The European Congress

Back in March, I went to Poland with members of the Youth Employment UK Team, Laura-Jane, and Lauren, to attend the 3rd European Congress of Local Governments.

It was a fantastic trip, not only to experience the culture in Krakow and being my first time abroad since a very young age but to also learn from very important people from across Europe on the social and economic issues they see today.

I’ve rounded up the top 4 things I learned.

  1. Countries such as the Ukraine and Russia have the same issues with work opportunities we do.
    I and LJ had the pleasure of sitting on a panel discussing education, employment, and apprenticeships with representatives from Poland, Spain, Russia, Ukraine and of course the UK.  It was fascinating to hear how young people in countries with a completely different culture to us, experience the same lack of work experience in schools, la
    ck of opportunities after completing higher education and how funding is being squeezed to its knees. We also heard how Poland requires all students to go out into the workplace to gain experience. Something which is becoming more popular in the UK with ‘Year in Industry’ courses.
  2. Education is very prestigious in Poland
    Specifically, university education. For me, it was refreshing to hear at how higher education is regarded as an excellent route with actual employment outcomes. Whereas in the UK all I hear is the disregarding of higher education, even by myself, as not all courses offer the “real life” knowledge that is needed.
  3. We all need to share our ideas and knowledge
    Attending an event with almost 1800 guests there is a wealth of experience all in one place. Discussing with other panellists and delegates, we began sharing ideas, ideas that we take back to our home countries and tell others about, and possibly share that knowledge with the people who can make a change.  Countries from across Europe all had different techniques and problems. We’ve found solutions to problems they have, and they have tips to prepare for future developments in employment programs. Sharing all this knowledge leads to a secure and stable careers programs.
  4. Krakow is a beautiful place Not only are the buildings amazing, but also the people. We were welcomed by the community in a warming and polite manner, and it’s now kickstarted my ambitions to see the world!

I would like to thank Youth Employment UK, and specifically Laura-Jane and Lauren, for this stupidly incredible opportunity! This is a story in itself, and I’m sure I will write more about it, but who would have thought that volunteering for one day in 2014 would lead to going international in 2017. Thank you.


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