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Startnet Youth

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StartNet Youth is a group composed of young people aged between 14 and 26, coming from Puglia, Basilicata, and Campania regions, who, together with StartNet, want to promote the school to work transition. It is the youth body of the StartNet network, which participates in the planning and implementation of actions.

When the StartNet network was created, its objective was clear: improve the transition of young people from school to the world of work and involve them in its actions. A founding principle was to have the young people concerned be co-builders of the activities, as opposed to just beneficiaries. With StartNet Youth, young men and women finally find their place in governance and partnership; they are involved in the planning and dissemination of ideas, they participate in meetings, propose actions, and spread the StartNet message and initiatives in their networks.


StartNet together with the members of StartNet Youth published COMMUNITY AND YOUTH PARTICIPATION: Promoting, Maintaining and Sustaining StartNet-Network School-Work Transition Youth Leadership. A volume that stems from the request by various stakeholders to describe the StartNet Youth pathway and provide a toolbox of practical tools, methodologies and advice, based on the experience of more than two years. The publication is designed for all those who want to promote, initiate and support youth leadership. It is in fact a useful toolkit for developing youth leadership, with tools and concrete examples of involvement. The publication enjoys the endorsement of AIG Agenzia Italiana per la Gioventù and includes contributions on good practices of youth policies of the Emilia-Romagna Region and the Apulia Region, as well as bottom-up experiences such as Vox Populi Grassano and Apply Community of Ascoli Piceno. The authors also present the Italian regulatory context and the European Union's recommendations for youth participation. Download the publication (Italian).


In October 2021, the StartNet backbone office in Italy started a process of engagement and development of a youth body, StartNet Youth. The young people participated to seminars, teambuildings, and workshops, based on collective impact and design thinking methodologies. The process led to the creation and co-drafting of the Manifesto: a plea for a more structured and youth-friendly transition from school to work. The Manifesto suggests actions for a better transition school-to-work and focuses on the topics chosen by young people, i.e., how to improve the orientation tools, such as the PCTO, internships hours for secondary schools that are mandatory in Italy (in Italian Percorsi per le Competenze Trasversali e l’Orientamento –Pathways for cross-cutting skills and orientation).

The process:

  1. The first stage was the “transformative weekend” (8-10 October 2021) carried out together with Ashoka Italy, the Vincenzo Casillo Foundation and Agenzia Nazionale Giovani (the Italian National Youth Agency) as part of the GEN C (Generation Changemaker) project. It was an opportunity to train and meet to develop changemakerskills and network
  2. The second stage was a series of online round tables on the topic of the training-work transition. After a careful assessment of the status quo, needs and surrounding circumstances, the young adults, together with facilitators, chose to tackle the issue of orientation and career guidance. They identified 5 themes and corresponding stakeholders: working with institutions, improving communication with parents and teachers, developing programmes with communities and companies, empowering students and youth, and the 2030 Agenda.
  3. The third stage was a community event (19-21 November 2021) carried out together with DigithOn, an Apulian-based digital startup specialised in hackathons. It was a moment of joint work dedicated to the continuation of the round tables for the Manifesto. The work groups adopted a cycle management methodology to put forward possible solutions. The young participants presented their proposals and discussed together with network partners representing the major stakeholders such as schools, business and the non-profit sector, on the second day of the event.
  4. The fourth stage involved the final drafting of the manifesto and its dissemination by the youth body.

The Manifesto

StartNet Youth presented the Manifesto to regional and national policy makers, practitioners, and other young people in May 2022 in Lecce, Italy. The event was included also in the European Year of Youth 2022 initiatives. The manifesto brings proposals on orientation and career guidance, teacher training, and youth leadership, from the youth perspective. Download the Manifesto.