Volunteer opportunities: The New European Solidarity Corps (ESC) Programme

European Solidarity Corps [Greg Rakozy via unsplash.com]

Image: Greg Rakozy | Source: unsplash.com | License Creative Commons Zero



The new European Solidarity Corps (ESC) programme is an initiative from European Union which creates opportunities for young people to volunteer and/or work in projects that benefit communities and people around Europe. The programme is offering volunteer and occupational activities that support a non-governmental organisation (NGO), local authority or private company in addressing challenging situations across the European Union.


Update 20.12.2018

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The new EU Solidarity Corps Programme (ESC) will be in place not in place before mid 2018. Until then ESC Volunteer Activities will be funded by the Erasmus+ programme. There are two important things to keep in mind: Participants who would like to take part in Erasmus+ volunteer activities must be registered on the platform of the EU Solidarity Corps And: Organisations of Programme countries must choose their volunteers from the EU Solidarity data base.

Please check the Corrigendum to the 2018 Erasmus+ Programme Guide (15/12/2017) for more information!.


EU Solidarity Corps volunteer acctivities within Erasmus+

“Based on the current state of play of the negotiations of the dedicated legal instrument for the European Solidarity Corps, the European Commission is putting in place transitional measures to extend the support of Erasmus+ for European Solidarity Corps volunteering activities under the first two application deadlines of the 2018 Call.”

The Erasmus+ Contribution to the European Solidarity Corps Initiative
“In order to strengthen the cohesion and foster the solidarity in European society, a European Solidarity Corps has been set up by the European Commission to create a community of young people willing to engage in a wide range of solidarity activities, either by volunteering or gaining occupational experience in helping to resolve challenging situations across the European Union and beyond.

In its initial phase, the European Solidarity Corps builds on the currently existing EU Programmes. One of the principal funding schemes contributing to the European Solidarity Corps is the Erasmus+ Programme through its volunteering activities between Programme Countries. The European Solidarity Corps will thus give impetus and greater visibility to Erasmus+, while putting volunteering at European level within a larger framework and adding further volunteering opportunities.”

Source: Corrigendum to the 2018 Erasmus+ Programme Guide (15/12/2017)


Most recent press release

One year since the launch of the European Solidarity Corps , European Commission NEWS, 7 December 2017, Brussels, Belgium
European Solidarity Corps: one year since launch , European Commission – Press release, Brussels, 7 December 2017


“There are many young, socially-minded people in Europe willing to make a meaningful contribution to society and help show solidarity. […] I am convinced much more solidarity is needed.”
Jean-Claude Juncker, European Commission President in his 2016 State of the Union Address | European Commission Press release | Brussels, 15 September 2016

One year ago, in his State of the Union Address, Jean-Claude Juncker announced the creation of a new programme: the European Solidarity Corps (ESC). Similar to the US Peace Corps, the EU Solidarity Corps would offer young people in Europe the chance to volunteer (or work) in projects for the benefit of communities and people. They can actively support a non-governmental organisation (NGO), local authority or private company in addressing challenging situations across the European Union.

Since then, a lot of things happened and it seems that the new EU programme will change the scope of volunteer opportunities.

What is the European Solidarity Corps?

Watch it on youtube

The European Solidarity Corps brings together young people to build a more inclusive society, supporting vulnerable people and responding to societal challenges. It offers an inspiring and empowering experience for young people who want to help, learn and develop.
EU Solidarity Corps Mission statement

The European Solidarity Corps has been launched 7th December 2016. It is an initiative from European Union which creates opportunities for young people to volunteer and/or work in projects that benefit communities and people around Europe.

#volunteer and #occupational activities with EU Solidarity Corps | #voluntarywork #esc Click To Tweet The initiative offers two types of activities: volunteering and occupational activities. Volunteering activities are of full-time voluntary service between two and twelve months in another country and is build on the European Voluntary Service (Erasmus+). Occupational activities will provide young people with the opportunity of a job, traineeship or apprenticeship in a wide range of sectors which are engaged in solidarity-related projects.

A EU Solidarity Corps project could address certain topic areas (so called “types” of European Solidarity Corps projects):

  • Inclusion
  • Reception and integration of refugees and migrants
  • Citizenship and democratic participation
  • Disaster prevention and recovery
  • Environment and natural protection
  • Health and well-being
  • Education and training
  • Employment and entrepreneurship
  • Creativity and culture
  • Sport

 

Where can I find the European Solidarity Corps?

For more information please check out:
European Youth Portal European Solidarity Corps
Article: 10 things to know about the EU Solidarity Corps .
Or download this factsheet .

You may also find news and information on the following Social Media Channels…
twitter: #EUSolidarityCorps
facebook: @EUSolidarityCorps
European Commission: EU Solidarity Corps (Youtube Playlist) (by the European Commission)

 

How to get involved in der EU Solidarity Corps?

Watch it on youtube

After registering at the European Youth Portal / ESC Registration, your profile details will be held in the European Solidarity Corps system. Organisations will be able to search the database for people for their projects and invite selected participants to join their projects.

Registration at the European Youth Portal: ESC Registration

 

From European Voluntary Service (EVS) to EU Solidarity Corps

“I am particularly proud of the young Europeans (…) who are serving in our new European Solidarity Corps. They are bringing European solidarity to life.”
Jean-Claude Juncker, European Commission President in his 2017 State of the Union Address | European Commission Press release Brussels, 13 September 2017

In a press release from August 2017 you can read, that since the launch of EU Solidarity Corps more than 34,000 young people have joined the platform. On twitter the Commission states, that already 1500 young Europeans take already part and until the end of 2017 additional 3600 places are expected.

Download the most recent Factsheet EU Solidarity Corps: One Year On | 13.09.2017

As more and more young people and organisations join the registration process, these numbers do not surprise. Young people, who registered already at the new ESC platform, often receive invitations from EVS organisations.

So far, within the EU Solidarity Corps only two bigger projects are launched that follow the ESC spirit (see European Commission press release | Brussels, July 2017 and European Commission press release | Brussels, 17 August 2017), while the programme details are still discussed and the allocation of a budget is still waiting its final decision.

The European Parliament will discuss the proposal in November 2017.

It does not seem realistic, that additionally to the existing European Voluntary Service (EVS) a second European voluntary programme will be created. Most likely, both programmes EVS and ESC will be merged.

The EU Solidarity Corps will build on 20 years experience of the Europe Voluntary Service and (hopefully) integrate some of his most important features:

  • the access and support of young people with fewer opportunites to the new programme,
  • the training and support system for volunteers and organisations,
  • the non-formal learning approach, the possibility of learning and developing competences supported by the Youthpass,
  • the system of accreditation and monitoring of organisations.
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European Solidarity Corps (ESC): What’s next?

In May 2017 the Commission presented a proposal to put the EU Solidarity Corps on his feet. The proposed budget is set for € 341.5 million for the years 2018-2020.

The documents for the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down the legal framework of the European Solidarity Corps you may find here .

This proposal needs to be adopted by the European Parliament and the Council before it put into practise. Both institutions, the European Commission and the European Parliament, committed to deliver on the proposal by the end of 2017 (European Commission press release | Brussels, July 2017).

To be continued…

Michael Kimmig

Michael Kimmig

trainer | coach | life-long learner

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