What are the real challenges faced everyday in private business and public sector? How to find solutions for their most burning issues? With this questions on their minds, young people from all over Europe gathered on Friday 30 November at the University of Applied Sciences of Graz for the second day of European Youth Award (EYA).
The day is grey and cold, but inside of the venue it is warm enough to think clearly and outside the box. Six local and international organizations presented real challenges they face on a daily basis. How to keep the most talented workers? How to engage clients? How to motivate young people to visit museums? How to prepare younger generations for future jobs that might not even exist yet? At the opening of the session representatives from the Municipality of Graz have addressed the audience asking them how to make the city more attractive by optimizing the logistics of shops that operate in the busiest street of the city centre. Among the other solutions were the clustering of similar businesses and the sharing of transport mediums to get their goods on the spot in a more efficient way.

We need to develop soft skills for the future jobs, and it needs to be done not only through non-formal but also formal education”, explains Miroslav from Mladiinfo, an NGO based in Macedonia whose aim is to increase the participation of young people in the society. He sits next to to the table of Gofore, a Finnish company which wants to improve the workplace conditions and the employees’ wellbeing.

After the brainstorming session, Beatriz, young architect from Portugal, suggests that the key to feeling comfortable at work is to feel like at home. Plants, chilling-spaces, big windows and light can make employees happier, “and when you are happy you, work better”, she concludes. The rest of the teams waits patiently for their turn to voice what they have in mind, but are all their ideas feasible? “Now, we will need to go back to work, talk about it with our colleagues and see what we can implement and what we can not”, explains Miriam Pichler from Young Mountain. What about using an intelligent Avatar to facilitate the networking among companies’ employees? SFG, an Austrian business promotion agency, who is trying to understand how Artificial Intelligence will impact the way people work together.

During the afternoon session the Student Program presentation took place: students from 8 European universities who worked to further develop the winning projects had the chance to present the results of their efforts. Among them, the improvement by the students working on Pixis and on Blood Donor were chosen as the best. Although only two student groups were awarded on stage, they all contributed greatly the projects.

Lorenzo Di Stasi and Ana Valiente
Photos by Lejla Kratina.