- Target Audience
- First responders or practitionersLocal community organisations/NGOs
- key themes association
- (Early) preventionVulnerable youth and youth engagement in P/CVE
- Peer Reviewed practice
City of Antwerp
City of Antwerp (youth department), in collaboration with Atlas, a government organisation active in the process of integrating newcomers.
Type of Organisation: Governmental institution
This practice aims to provide training for first-line youth workers in the city of Antwerp. Lasting 10.5 hours (3 half-day sessions), the training concentrates on youth identity development, with a focus on youth from a migration background. The initiative was launched by the youth department of the city of Antwerp.
We came up with the idea of organising training for first-line youth workers in order to meet the needs of several youth organisations. We wanted to strengthen the skills of youth workers, who have to deal with difficult issues like polarisation, radicalisation, extremism, racism, the search for identity etc.
The sports department of the city of Antwerp had previously organised similar training sessions for sports workers.
Focus of the training:
- To support youth workers in their pedagogical role by boosting their skills, to allow them to support youngsters to ‘find’ themselves in their search for identity. Also, to support young people showing signs of radical behaviour. (Radical behaviour is sometimes a part of the process of growing up and maturing.)
- Not limited to coping with violent extremism, the focus is wider: to encourage the positive identity development of young people. This is vital by youth work organisations.
- To emphasise the preventive role of youth work.
- To help youth workers gain confidence and skills in dealing with youngsters exhibiting radical or ‘just’ difficult behaviour (i.e. to target youth workers’ ‘hesitation to act’ in such cases). We believe that with the right tools, youth workers can help young people steer a path to positive identity development.
The training was developed in collaboration with Atlas, a government organisation responsible for the integration of newcomers. Some of their staff members had the capacity to provide training on coping with radicalisation.
Some youth organisations were also involved, in order to advise on content, so that the training would be tailored for their youth workers. It was crucial for them that the youth growth process is viewed from a broad perspective, instead of focusing on Muslims or radicalisation alone.
The training comprises the following components:
Explain the concepts: radicalisation, polarisation, terrorism, breeding ground, discrimination, extremism. Also, explore how they fit into the debate and how this influences youngsters.
- The frame of reference of the youth worker
- Identity development of adolescents
- Conversation training (one-on-one)
- Group discussion techniques
- Support system for youth workers, developed by the youth department of the city of Antwerp.
A file containing training material is available online. It contains presentations (including videos) used in the training and some explanatory text files. Trainees are given the link to the online file when they’ve completed the training.