Youth co-managers talks #4
I’m so happy to say hello today from Ljubljana City of learning.
So you are the youth co-manager of Ljubljana City of learning. What does it mean for you to live in Ljubljana?
It’s very nice to live in here. It’s a vibrant city. It has a positive energy. It’s a relatively small for a European capital, but with that, we have our charm our diversity, it has greenery. It has lots of opportunities and it’s not just people from Ljubljana living in working here. Its people from all over Slovenia. So that gives us this great pool of people joining and collaborating and living and learning.
What does it mean for you and Ljubljana to be a city of learning?
We are a relatively new City of Learning, but we’re very proud. It means that really we can say and show that learning happens on every step on every corner there’s opportunity that can help you learn and grow and really celebrate these diversity of learning spaces and learning opportunities and not just learning, also working and creating just living.
So give us examples. What are those learning opportunities that you can find in Ljubljana?
Of course, most are now from the youth sector because that’s where I work. But they are much broader. There are lots of organisations that help with orientation for young people. Also sport activities are always there. We are focusing more and more on mental health and there are some nice counselling opportunities for young people. Then social skills and soft skills, like training of assertiveness. And also we have startups and technology backing companies who explore competencies of the future and technology. And also this idea of being a green city. We were at some point the greenest capital, so also ecology and climate change. So really young people in programs focused on that. Also activism and human rights advocation.
Wow. I already want to live here. But how not to get lost and all these opportunities for young people, how do they find them?
Funny you should ask. I think really what the platform Ljubljana City of Learning offers is just that opportunity to map all the different learning opportunities learning activities in the city. Then really help young people explore, find them co-create them even. And also to have the recognition of the non-formal learning, learning outside of school with the digital open badges. So we have in Ljubljana some other tools for recognition of non formal learning, but we’re also very happy to introduce Open Badges.
So Ljubljana before the platform, after, what has changed?
We are still on the way. But what did change is that more and more organisations know for us and show interest to be a part of the initiative. We are also in contact with Chamber of Commerce, with some entrepreneurs and companies who have ideas and want to help us develop the platform even further, because for them, it’s this great channel for talent seeking and so on. But for young people it is really the idea that there are so many things out there, but sometimes you do need to activate and look a bit and find them and grab those opportunities. So we are just in between, we have them, we are a shortcut. We help them explore and find those opportunities and then it’s on their own to either take it or not.
Wow. Listening to you it seems like you’re a very busy person with so many responsibilities. Where did you find this motivation to run the platform and do co-manage the youngsters here?
What I like to say that I grew up in the youth sector. I started as a participant then a volunteer. Then a youth worker and now I am employed in Tipovej!. And this project found me, but slowly and slowly, I really liked the responsibility. It’s officially our first project that are managing on my own. Of course I have great support from my mentors, from my coworkers. And I have a great group of young ambassadors, young people who have been a part of international local activities who are really motivated and eager to help us build up this platform. And also at some point they wish to transfer the initiative to their own hometown. So that’s the drive. I have to see that the project and the initiative has an impact and really it’s relevant for young people. It’s not just project for the sake of a project. It has a place in this time. And they want it.
What a drive, what a passion you have out there! What do you get from it personally and professional maybe?
For sure. I grew up, professionally I gained many new skills. I got to meet new people on the way new partnership friends now, even. I grew up, I learned I got new skill set and now comfortable and confident in taking on new project. It was a great experience in a real confidence boost. Yeah.
You spend a lot of time with young people, too young ambassadors, you mentioned, also the people who are always asking questions, participating and going out with you. What feedback do you get from them about the platform and about the project?
Yeah, it’s our of goal and mission and philosophy, let’s say, to really have all the projects we do be made from young people for young people. And we do include them really in every step of project in brainstorming, planning, writing applications, which is the part, they favour least, but also then activities itself and evaluation. And we want to give them the skill sets so they can when, they sit in my chair and talk to you or another Agne. The feedbacks are really positive and mostly I would say it’s the texts and emails of, ‘can you tell me more’? ‘What is more out there?’ This wish to even explore and find even more oh, I heard the German partners are doing another thing. ‘Can I be a part of that?’. So I just show the ways and they walk themselves.
One of the aims of these conversations is also to inspire those young people to join. So what is the magic formula to be part of this initiative?
Firstly, I invite them to explore the platform itself – Ljubljana City of Learning. See what’s out there was already being offered in the city. Also maybe if you have colleagues and friends in there, some organisations who are not on the platform, give them a, like maybe they can also join. So we, this breach for us also. But of course, Tipovej! is the behind the project and initiatives together with the City of Ljubljana. So they can always find us on social media, on emails. They can even knock on our door and call. We are always there and very ready to work with them.
You’re very often mentioning the huge international network of regions and cities of learning. What is it about and how do you connect with the network?
Yeah, that’s for me, was the favourite part of the project. We came into a family, I like to say of cities and regions of learning really now all over the world. So we were not alone and we could really exchange ideas and experiences. We have cities of learning who have been going for a few years. We have some for just as us quite new. So to have colleagues that we can ask if we can talk and share experience, but still giving us the freedom that each city will develop in their own way. Yeah, the family and the support I think. And really the idea that is, this is a bigger project and it’s not just project for the project itself, but it’s this movement we are trying to create really to embark on this road, to the future with young people.
So for the end of this interesting conversation, if you would have to send a postcard for this international family of yours, what would you wish for the cities and regions of learning?
I would wish for them to keep their individuality and really go with what young people in the city need and feel it’s best for them. But also know that they’re part of something bigger and it’s something that’s happening around the world. And to know that many times we are more alike than different. We can always find something in common and create a new journey, a new path.
Thank you so much.
Thank you, Agne.
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