About the pilot in Vienna, Austria

The City of Vienna provides professional youth work within the city boundaries through several non-profit organisations. The non-profit organisation “Verein Wiener Jugendzentren” (Association of Viennese Youth Centres) is the largest provider of professional youth work in Vienna. It was established in 1978. Currently, a staff of almost 300 people runs more than 30 institutions for the City of Vienna. The diverse fields of work include Open Child and Youth Work in youth centres and clubs, detached youth work, community work and programmes in Course Centres. Additionally, the association also offers events and actions to support youth culture and sporting activities for teenagers.

 

For the Incluso project, three youth centres will be involved and in each there will be a similar programme running during the pilot period. Seven to ten young people per centre, aged 13-18, will be the main focus group of the pilot. It is the aim to accompany 15 young people through the whole duration until May 2010.

 

The character of relationships between youth workers and youngsters in youth centres in Vienna is very informal, therefore the main challenge will be maintaining a long term approach and keeping permanent contact.

 

Visitors are generally from a very low educational and economical family-background, many of them have a migrant background (former Yugoslavia, Turkey and others). They may be attending secondary school (former “Hauptschule”), may be early school leavers, could be attending “Polytechnic” school, apprenticeships or may simply be without a job. None of them attends high school or technical high school.

 

The focus group will be accompanied by the youth workers in terms of their use of social software. In the beginning there will be a strong focus on the “Netlog” network as this is widely used already.

 

The key questions and points at this stage are:

 

·    Do youngsters already possess profiles?

 

·    What do these profiles look like?

 

·    Which other ICT tools do they use?

 

·    What technical obstacles, if any, are there?

 

All centres are equipped with broadband internet connections and have at least two PCs for use by the target groups. The centres regularly have 50+ visitors per day, therefore it makes sense to support them with one notebook computer each to improve that situation. The notebooks will additionally be used when contacting the young people through streetwork.

 

The first activity is a kind of “start up party” where youngsters from the group (and others) meet in one of the centres.

 

The main task of the pilot is to accompany the focus group for 12/13 months, improve their abilities according to the pilot goals and involve them in the evaluation.

 

At the start, they will develop Netlog profiles or reflect and maybe adapt existing profiles. All centres have their own profile already:

 

·    http://de.netlog.com/Mextreff

 

·    http://de.netlog.com/JZ_PAHO

 

·    http://de.netlog.com/Jugendtreff_Donaustadt

 

Later on it is planned to introduce and test other tools with the youngsters. Contact between the focus group and youth workers will be at least weekly, on either a virtual or real basis. In some cases it might be of use to visit the youngsters at home.

 

From autumn 2009 onwards it is planned to involve the local youth parliament of the 2nd district of Vienna, which is organised by youth centre Mextreff, and link it with parts of the focus group.

 

Depending on the final date of the local elections in Vienna it is planned to have a strong focus on involving young people in the political process using ICT. Voting age in Vienna is 16 years, therefore this is a highly relevant event.

 

More than 20 Viennese youth centres are currently starting to use social software (especially Netlog) so the pilot steering group will be linked with the VJZ “Netlog” working group, which oversees social software usage from the point of view of youth centres.

 

That means apart from the focus group (20+), more than 60 young people from the three centres, another 15 youth workers and about 600 youngsters from other youth centres will be involved.