Future youth information & counselling: Building on information needs and trends

In 2017, the Erasmus+ KA2 Project Future Youth Information Toolbox conducted a survey across Europe, with a view to study the information behaviour and needs of young people, as well as their experiences with youth information and counselling services. Both users and non-users of the services were included in the survey. ERYICA, along with eight different partners, its members and key stakeholders, conducted the survey across 18 different countries and in 20 different languages, targeting young individuals aged between 12 and 29. Over 6,000 individuals took part in the survey. The project was created due to the lack of evidence-based research in the field of youth information, which blocks the development of the sector.   

The survey studied the perceived youth information service quality, information reliability and information evaluation of the young respondents. It revealed that information regarding leisure, health, and education are easily accessible, while topics such as entrepreneurship, housing, and employment are difficult areas to collect reliable information. Young people also demanded more availability of information regarding education and employment, and their preferred channels are face-to-face information and counselling, Internet search engines, and online social media. Despite the popularity of the Internet, young people find it difficult to validate the information they find there. On the other hand, most of the respondents trusted the reliability of information provided by youth information and counselling centres and were very satisfied by the service provided. Thus, the survey indicated the importance of youth information and counselling services in Europe. You can read the survey here.

This project also used future foresight methodology to identify a strategic direction for youth information and counselling services. Using the results of the research and the future foresight, three user-friendly, evidence and future-based youth information methods are being developed and piloted at local level. For the sustainability of the project, a peer-to-peer training course will be developed, and peer teams will be organised in each country. At the end of the project, a multiplier event will be organised. This will be tailored for political awareness building at local, national and European level for the further support of youth information services in participating countries, particularly those who require it the most.

Erika Branca