The first meeting of the Enliven Slovakia Youth Panel was organised in Košice, November 29th 2017, in the Eastern part of Slovakia in order to reach out to young people in the more distanced regions. About 20 representatives from organisations and initiatives working with youth and young adults in different regions of Slovakia participated in the meeting.
We discussed a range of issues starting with the definition of “young adults” which proved to have potentially very different meanings depending on the thematic areas of activities for youth. Our discussion further evolved about the contexts of defining young adults groups and who are the vulnerable young adults. We discussed the nature of available information and data. Presented research aims of the ENLIVEN project research were welcomed by the participants who confirmed a lack of evidence about participation in different forms of learning and what instruments have already been used in other EU countries to support participation of young adults in learning. When discussing the activism and engagement of young adults and connections with learning, all participants agreed that involvement in any out of school and work activities for young adults are extremely valuable opportunities for informal learning that help individuals overcome potential disadvantages stemming from disadvantaged socio-economic background. However, many adults are active only formally and do not pursue available opportunities pointing to oxymoron of “passive activism”. It was agreed that youth activism is polarised, in the sense that those active are extremely active, “it is the same group of people which meet at different activities” because other young people are involved in a limited way. The volunteering was seen by many as the key channel for the development of social skills. The role of stable family environment is viewed as the precondition for success for youth in education and learning and transition to work. Brain drain abroad is perceived as critical in terms of the current and passed outflows, at the same time as a key opportunity for young to acquire skills and experience.
It was concluded that any way of achieving higher activation of young adults and their participation in activities offering learning experience is a crucial pre-condition of changing the prospect of young people from less favourable background.