Volunteer opportunities: The New European Solidarity Corps (ESC) Programme
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.
“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):
- 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
Where can I find the European Solidarity Corps?
You may also find news and information on the following Social Media Channels…
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.
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…