Date: 16th and 17th July, 09:00-16:00 / 17:00.

Location: Lewisham Southwark College, Lewisham Way, London SE4 1UT, UK.

THEME: “european youth leading the way for eMployment & education”

The persistence of the economic crisis coupled with social inequalities have led to a deepening alienation of young people, a decline of social values and reduced belief in bottom-up social change. This impact also implies restricted access to education and training, and thus fewer opportunities for personal and professional development. Across Europe, youth unemployment is at least twice as high than the overall workforce, with countries like Greece and Italy experiencing unprecedented numbers (GR-48.9%, IT 40%). In the UK, the rate is 12.7% (2016) and in Belgium 22.1%.

With this international challenge in mind, the 7th Annual IARS International Conference titled “European youth leading the way for employment & education” will bring together young people, decision makers and scholars to debate solutions, identify best practices and create much needed networking opportunities.

Over the course of two days, the event will focus on early school leavers (day 1) and young social entrepreneurs (day 2). This international event will push barriers for European and national policy making and practice through the presentation of evidence-based solutions, and by allowing the voices that are rarely heard to lead on debates that matter. The conference is based on the findings of our Erasmus funded projects Drop-In (Day 1) and PromYSE and EYEE (Day 2). 

DAY 1: Early school leavers and drop outs (drop in project)

During the first day of the conference, we will focus on early school leavers and drop outs, while presenting the results of our Erasmus+ project Drop-In (Early School Leavers). IARS coordinated the project, which was delivered with 4 other partners from Europe, namely KMOP (Greece), InEuropa (Italy), CARDET (Cyprus) and The Schottener Foundation Social Services (Romania). DROP-in sought to establish alternative pathways for youth early school leavers and drop outs towards social inclusion and the labour market. The partnership will present the results of the programme and the evidence it collected on developing tools that allow the re-introduction of early school leavers and dropouts into informal learning based on an innovative, tailor-made capacity-building model. 

DAY 2: Young entrepreneurs (EYEE & Promyse PROJECTS)

Europe 2020 strategy identifies entrepreneurship and self-employment as key to create jobs, developing skills and giving unemployed young people an opportunity to fully participate to the growth of economy and the improvement of society. Despite this, only 11 school systems have an enterprise curriculum. 

During the second day of the conference, we will focus on youth entrepreneurship, while presenting the results of our Erasmus+ project PromYSE (PROMoting Youth Social Entrepreneurship). This was carried out in the UK with the IARS International Institute as the Project Coordinator, Belgium with Diesis COOP, Greece with KMOP, Lithuania with Diversity Development Group and Italy with ICSE. We also worked with Canary Wharf Consulting for the IT needs of the project. PROMYSE created tools and courses that promote social entrepreneurship in the health and social care sectors as an alternative pathway to youth self-sustainability. The partnership will present the results of the programme and the evidence it collected on developing the social entrepreneurship and business skills of unemployed youth.

We will also present the findings of the  EYE – Ethics and Young Entrepreneurs project.  EYEE broadened and strengthened at European level the local experience of an Italian programme for the promotion of ethical youth entrepreneurship born in Prato and in Florence in 2012.The aim of the project was to help to spread the entrepreneurial culture based on ethics among young people through the fundamental role of the school in a European dimension.


We have an open Call for Abstracts to present at workshops at our International Annual Conference. We are interested in topics covering European voices on equality matters with a particular interest in youth employment,  education and entrepreneurship. The deadline is 10 June 2019. You can access the call for abstracts document here. If you do not know what an abstract is, then click here for instructions. Approved abstracts are eligible for full bursaries (see below).


The IARS International Institute is pleased to offer a limited number of bursaries of up to €200 plus the costs of registration (£70) for international participants. IARS members, workshop presenters, young people, migrants and refugees will be prioritised. Should you wish to apply for a bursary please download and complete the form below and return it to contact@iars.org.uk by 15th June. We will offer the bursaries on a first come basis and as per the needs of the conference. 


Attendance is by registration only. This is a CPD-accredited event that involves substantial costs to the charity. Registration is by donation only. To secure your place, CPD Certification and lunch, you must click here to register. UK Tax payers will receive Gift Aid. Donations can be made by emailing contact@iars.org.uk

Larger donations are encouraged as all proceedings will be invested into our projects and ensure the continuation of our charitable work with marginalised groups.

The charity is kindly requesting a donation from:

  • Corporates/For-profits: £100 (both days) or £60 (for 1 day)
  • Non-profits/ individuals: £50 (both days) or £30 (for 1 day)
  • Refugees, asylum seekers and young people in education or unemployed do not need to pay (proof will be requested).



The conference has been independently certified as conforming to universally accepted Continuous Professional Development (CPD) guidelines (30 CPD learning points). CPD Certificates will be awarded on the day to all delegates who have registered, donated and attended the entire day.

It has also been certified with a YouthPass. Young people attending or being involved in the conference will receive a YouthPass Certificate.


Time Agenda Item
09.00 – 10.00 Registration & Coffee – Networking Opportunity 

Music performance by Antiqu’e   

10.00 – 10.30  Welcome from the Conference Chair

Simon Israel Channel 4 Home Affairs Correspondent and IARS Patron (UK) 

Dr Theo Gavrielides IARS Founder and Director (UK)  

10.30 – 10.45 Setting the scene 

Sheelagh Stewart. British council.The Demographic Divide, Employment and Education”.

10.45 – 11.00 Janet Daby –   Member of Parliament for Lewisham East (UK) ‘The UK’s future relationship with Europe and Youth Employment’.
11.00 – 11.15 Gisèle Evrard Markovic  SALTO Training and Cooperation Resource Centre – “Towards a competence-development approach in the field of youth work” 
11.15 – 11.30 Q&A session for speakers
11.30 – 12.00 Coffee break
12.00 – 13.00 Panel: Drop in Project Partnership: “Presenting the findings”

  • Maija Linnala – IARS International Institute (UK)

  • Barbara Grazzini – InEuropa  (Italy)

  • Theofilos Pouliopoulos – KMOP (Greece)

  • Ioana Barbu- Schottener (Romania)

  • Eliza Theofanous – CARDET (Cyprus)
13.00 – 13.15 Q&A session for panellists
13.15 – 14.00 Lunch & Networking
14.00 – 15.00 Parallel International Workshops

Working Group 1

  • Romina Lopez – IARS International Institute (UK) – “Opportunities to study, volunteer and work in Europe”
  • Sanjeev Sandhu – Art of Brilliance (India/UK) “Unlock your passion to design your career”
  • Larry Jones – Esan, Faculty of Business and Law, USL (UK) – “Creating the culture of innovative practices among young entrepreneurs using knowledge management”

Working Group 2

  • Theofilos Pouliopoulos  – KMOP (Greece) – “The drop out phenomenon in Greece and the second chances in education and social inclusion”
  • Leigh Johnson – Mercer University, School of Public Health (USA) – “Decreasing truancy rates through school system healthcare implementation” 

Working Group 3

  • Georgios Alexopoulos – Symplexis (Greece) – “Labour market challenges and current status of young migrants within the EU”
  • Michalis Ioannou – CARDET (Cyprus) – “Empowering your game: encouraging youth civic and social participation in the digital era”
  • Ioana Barbu Schottener (Romania) – “Alternative pathways for self-sustainability”    
15.00 – 15.30 Working Groups’ Rapporteurs Round Up
15.30 – 16.00 Conclusions and Closing from the Conference Chair

Simon Israel Channel 4 Home Affairs Correspondent and IARS Patron (UK)




Time Agenda Item
09.00 -09.30 Registration & Coffee – Networking Opportunity

Music performance by Antiqu’e   

09.30 – 10.00  Welcome from the Conference Chair

Simon Israel (Channel 4 Home Affairs Correspondent and IARS Patron)


09.45 – 10.00 Dr Theo Gavrielides (IARS Founder and Director)
10.00 – 10.15 Setting the scene 

Fiona Reid – Senior Teacher Fellow – School of Management -UCL – University College London ‘Agents for change: New strategies for social impact’

10.15 – 10.30 Thomas Toscano   Associate of School of Health Care and Social Work (UK) Employability: A key driver of higher education?
10.30 – 11.30 Panel: Promyse Partnership “Presenting the findings”    

  • Desiree Noriega – IARS International Institute (UK)
  • Danai Papadimitriou – CWC (UK)
  • Jurga Mataitytė-Diržienė – DDG (Lithuania)
  • Alessia Sebillo – Diesis (Belgium)
  • Aferdite Shana – ICSE-Co (Italy)
  • Theofilos Pouliopoulos – KMOP (Greece)  
11.30 – 11.45 Q&A session for panellists
11.45 – 12.15 Coffee Break & Networking
12.15 – 13.15 Parallel International Workshops

Working Group 1

  • Barbara GrazziniInEuropa (Italy)“The BRAVE and GOALS4GOOD experiences on empowerment, business models, well being” 

  • Calum Paton – Warwick University (UK) – “Starting your own media company and young people in journalism” 

  • Harry Beard – Young Entrepreneur on marketing and founding partner of Go Future Labs (UK) ‘Power of a team’


 Working Group 2

  • Aferdite Shana – ICSE-Co (Italy) ‘Social entrepreneurship in the health and social care sectors’

  • Daisy D’Silva Toscano  and Thomas Toscano – Associate Head of School of Health Care and Social Work, Buckinghamshire New University (UK) –“Higher Education in the UK is accesible for all: Fact or Myth?”

  • Jerome Harvey-Aggei Abassador at One Young World and co-founder of Tope Today ”Incorporate love in the public services to empower the youth’


Working Group

  • Dr. Jurga Mataitytė-Diržienė – DDG (Lithuania)“Best Practices of Social Entrepreneurship – Lithuanian Experience” 

  • Theofilos Pouliopoulos – KMOP (Greece) – “Social entrepreneurship in Greece, context, challenges and the opportunity for the young people”

  • Alessia Sebillo – Diesis (Belgium) – “Policy Recommendations and Best Practices dedicated to support young people”


13.15-13.30 Working Groups’ Rapporteurs Round Up
13.30-14.15 Lunch & Networking 
Time Agenda Item
14.15– 14.30 Welcome from the Conference Chair

Dr Theo Gavrielides IARS Founder and Director (UK)  

14.30 – 14.45 Key note Simon Chambers, British Council  ‘Reflections on Youth Entrepreneurship’   
14.45 – 15.00 Setting the scene 

Harry Beard -Young entrepreneur and founding partner of Go Future Labs ‘ Insights in starting your business and a very young age’


Introduction to the EYEE Project

“Presenting the findings”

Desiree Noriega IARS (UK)

A view from our School – Aylesbury High School

15.30 – 16.30 Working Group 1

  • Ekerette Ewing Sampson University of Huddersfield. PHD candidate.Youth and radicalisation. ‘Employment and radicalisation’
  • Tomasz Mickiewicz (UK)  Prof of Economics, Aston University, Birmingham ‘Diversity in Entrepreneurship’
  • Thulane Gxubane – (South Africa) – “The role of probation officers in enhancing innovative and sustainable youth entrepreneurship and development programmes” 

Working Group 2

  • Heidi Fisher Make and impact  CIC (Comunity Interest Company) ‘ What’s wrong with traditional business planning processes and why impact led strategies are needed’
  • Laura Kekuti – Unltid Social Enterprise (UK) – “Supporting Social entrepreneurs tackling youth unemployment”
  • Meg Pagani – ImpactOn (Italy) “Scaling Impact: why youth are leading a new impact economy” 

Working Group 3

  • Kalyan Tanksale – Chevening Scholar at Institute of Development Studies (India) – “Systems: Thinking and practice for social change”
  • Alex Bond – Young Entrepreneur, FreshCheck (UK) – “Developing a start-up from a scientific background”
  • Aidan Chase-McCarthy – European Academy for Youth Work (UK) – “What Exactly innovation is in terms of the work of young people”


16.30 – 16.45 Working Groups’ Rapporteurs Round Up
16.45 – 17.00 Conclusions and closing from the Conference Chairs

Simon Israel (Channel 4 Home Affairs Correspondent and IARS Patron)

Dr Theo Gavrielides (IARS Founder and Director)



The Drop In project is co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union under the 2017-1-UK01-KA205-035400 grant agreement

The PromYSE project is co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union under the 2017-1-UK01-KA205-035438 grant agreement

The EYEE project is co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union under the 2017-1-IT02-KA201-036519 grant agreement