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Awards to institutions, enterprises and local communities for outstanding professional or promotional achievements as well as for achievements related to the enrichment of one's own knowledge or the knowledge of others 

Mladinski ceh Society from Ljubljana, for the Youth Academy programme

(Head of programme: Matej Cepin)
Proposer: Urška Novak


"At the Faculty of Arts I gain theoretical knowledge, but in the Youth Academy I gain practical experience that is invaluable for personal and professional growth." (Urška Novak, programme participant, proposer)

The Youth Guild (Mladinski ceh) Society was created on the initiative of young people. And what was the aim of the young people who pooled their creative forces in the society? To attract people to whom they are able to listen, and to ensure an environment in which ideas are born and where slightly older, more experienced and professionally tested people can help them fulfil these ideas. Thus was born the Youth Academy, a programme of nonformal education for young people, especially youth leaders. The Youth Academy programme is formulated by accommodating the findings deriving from investigation of the needs among target groups. Courses are formulated in "packages", which are then available to a wider circle of participants, and they are therefore adjusted to various levels of complexity. Responsibility for the quality of programmes rests with the group of trainers specialised in individual fields. For them, too, the society has a development plan, which is linked to a system of promotion. Lifelong learning is therefore a conscious and fulfilled principle in both the Youth Guild and Youth Academy, and is interwoven into all of their activities. The main obstacle on this path is a lack of regular financing and the uncertain outcome of tenders, for which reason trainers cannot be employed full time, and with the knowledge gained at the Youth Academy, they take employment elsewhere. The Youth Academy encourages trainers (in all there are more than 45, about half of them employed, and half students) to acquire training to apply new methods and innovative approaches, and to encourage constructive criticism without polite phrases, emphasising only constructive proposals for improvements. Trainers develop their skills at regular meetings to which they are invited four times a week. Information travels by e-mail and by word of mouth, since there is no money for advertising. Despite this, all their programmes are well attended. Among the best received is the programme for youth leaders, and they also provide training for volunteers and educational and social workers. By content the courses are categorised into five thematic groups (packages): acquiring skills through communication courses, rhetoric, the pedagogy of play, project work, resolving conflicts, management and etiquette; moderating and leading for trainers; content for personal growth; training for work with computers and training of group leaders (group leadership, camp counselling, public speaking). The target group for the Youth Academy is young adults who are "caught between pedagogical and adult education science", and who therefore need the help of mentors where formal education is not up to the assignments which they encounter in practice.

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