The 12th Academy on the Social and Solidarity Economy - Elective 8: SSE: youth, education and new skills

News | 31 January 2022
The elective courses of the SSE Academy were designed for practitioners from around the world to debate and share practices, ideas and models for SSE action in specific areas.

This eighth elective took place on 22, 23, and 24 November 2021. It focused on the role of the SSE for youth, education and skills development. It was available for participants in English, Spanish and Portuguese. The elective’s structure and content were coordinated and prepared by Mr Roberto Di Meglio (ILO) and Ms Josée Anne Larue (ILO). The sessions were facilitated by Ms Rute Mendes (ITCILO).

The elective addressed challenges young people face, notably education and skills development. Young people have traditionally faced substantial challenges in the labour market, and they are now being disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic around the world. They are confronted with disruptions in education, income losses and increased difficulties in finding work. The elective investigated the SSE can play in addressing the challenges youth face in the social and world of work realms. It explored what is needed to promote the SSE among youth, with a specific focus on the role of education and skills development policies.

The first session was dedicated to the nexus between youth, education and skills. It explored the potential role SSE can play among youth during and after the post-COVID-19 crisis. Ms Josée-Anne La Rue (ILO), shared the results of an online survey conducted by the ILO on global youth employment during covid-19 with 12,605 respondents between 18-34 years of age from 112 countries.

Ms La Rue shared some highlights from the survey. She noted that 13 per cent of the respondents stopped education; 27 per cent stopped working; 42 per cent faced a reduction of income; 60 per cent reported that their education might be delayed or failed; and 61 per cent said reduced productivity. The research also pointed out the effects of anxiety and depression where jobs or education were disrupted. On the positive front, however, it also revealed that 31 per cent of the respondents were engaged in social activism, wanting to help others during the crisis.

The presentation of Ms La Rue is available here: en - es - pt

Ms Ruth Muñoz, a member of the Argentinean National Institute for Associations and Social Economy (INAES) and a professor at the National University of General Sarmento (Argentina). Ms Muñoz presented on the SSE’s role in addressing the labour market and social challenges youth face.
She highlighted that the SSE could be a more resilient and sustainable development alternative. She explained some characteristics of the SSE experiences among youth compared with conventional firms, concerning gaining their first work experiences, training and socialisation, especially in a crisis context. She also explained that the SSE could be a means for formalising informal activities and achieving better working conditions in already institutionalised collective environments. SSE institutions can help youth access capital in the different cycles (especially start-ups), markets, shops, public purchases and share risks and responsibilities.

The presentation of Ms Muñoz is available here: en - es - pt

Mr Juan Antonio Pedreño, President of CEPES and Social Economy Europe reflected on what is needed to promote the potential of the SSE among youth, primarily through education and skill development policies. He explained the need to expand the model of enterprises and to advance towards leaving no one behind, to generate positive impacts and to engage with the ecological transition.

He illustrated the potential of SSE mainly due to associative work and school cooperatives in the Province of Murcia (Spain). In the past 20 years, employment tripled, and SSE units doubled in Murcia. Currently, 40,000 students started learning about cooperative principles in the first years of their education in the university, he noted.

During the second session, three experiences of SSE projects that target youth were presented. The first speaker was Mr. Youssef Belhassen Fennira, coordinator of the JEUN’ESS Project (ILO). He presented the project, which aims to create decent jobs for young people in disadvantaged areas of Tunisia and support the transition to the formal economy through the promotion and strengthening of SSE organizations and mechanisms.

The several stages of selecting the projects and incubating them were highlighted and are one of the main strengths of the project to reach sustainability in the collective entrepreneurship promoted. Also, better conditions are expected to achieve an SSE ecosystem based on the new national SSE law of 2020.

The presentation of Mr Belhassen Fennira is available here: en - es - pt

Ms Cátia Cohen (CASES) reflected on the Y.ES Project on further engaging the SSE in Portugal’s development. Y.ES focuses on the SSE’s potential to advance employability, self-employment and collective entrepreneurship. It includes publications, academies, online courses, with 42 project incubations and around 1,500 participants. Although it targets young people, it also involves SSE entities, schools, universities and the general public.

The presentation of Ms Cohen is available here: en - es - pt

In his presentation Mr Guilherme Costa (Organização das Cooperativas Brasileiras-OCB) presented initiatives around youth leadership training by the OCB. He mentioned the Cooperjovem Programme, which educates youth on cooperatives, entrepreneurship, financing, and the environment. The programme was implemented in 511 schools across 155 cities in Brazil in 2021.

The presentation of Mr Costa is available here: en - es - pt

Five young SSE practitioners presented successful experiences in SSE during the third and final session of the elective. Mr Jean Fabre, an international consultant and resource person of the UNTFSSE, facilitated the session.

The first presenter was Mr Pablo Vannini, founder and partner of GCOOP, a worker cooperative of 21 members that supported the foundation of the Argentinean Federation of Technology, Innovation and Knowledge Worker Cooperatives (FACTTIC). GCOOP was also involved in the adaptation of CoopCycle in Argentina. Mr Vannini talked about platform cooperativism and how it allows workers to have ownership of the platforms they use. He explained the nature of CoopCycle, a free software application developed by a federation of more than 60 bicycle delivery cooperatives in several European countries.

Ms Rihem Bchini, President of the Cooperative Pure Nature, talked about her agricultural cooperative, which specialises in goat farming and production of artisanal goat cheese, essential oils, floral waters, and dried herbs with high ethical and environmental standards. Located in Ain Draheim, North West of Tunisia, in the governorate of Jendouba, the Cooperative has 51 active women members, including eight staff members, who have completed professional training in cheese making and received professional certificates.

Ms Ève-Laurence Miron, manager in charge of the SISMIC project in the Pôle d’économie sociale of the Haut-Saint-Laurent valley in Quebec, took the floor. The project, part of the Chantier de l’Economie Sociale of Quebec, consists mainly of several workshops, exchanges, advisory services and other activities for young people to encourage their engagement in collective entrepreneurship. In 2021, 106 projects were incubated, and 25 collective firms were established.

Ms Emmanuella Togun from Nigeria outlined the experience of Slum 2 School, a volunteering-driven development organisation that provides educational services to children and young people that do not go to, or dropped out of, school. The organization also undertakes initiatives for teaching conventional family entrepreneurial skills in economically disadvantaged areas.

Mr Dikesh Prajapati co-founder and pixel crafter at DOCHAA shared the experience of this social enterprise in Nepal. DOCHAA has 20 employees committed to promoting Nepali culture, primarily through handcrafted shoes, to preserve local work and prevent emigration. DOCHAA encourages local reinvestment and is involved with three different indigenous communities.

Mr Jean Fabre concluded the session. The elective benefited from the active participation of participants in group works and Q&A sessions.

For more information on the 12th edition of the SSE Academy, click here.