A mixed group of around 25 young people (youth board members and interviewees), professionals and academics met in Amsterdam for the UPLIFT local policy and storytelling workshop that was organized by TU Delft on June 27, 2022.

Local policy workshop

The first part of the meeting was dedicated to an evaluation of the local co-creation process and a deliberation about its potential follow-up. As input for the discussion, TU Delft presented the results of an evaluation survey among both youth board members and institutional stakeholders. Largely positive results emerged from this evaluation.

The youth board members were happy with the quality and the organization of the co-creation process. They felt safe and comfortable during the meetings. For them, being part of the youth board was an enjoyable experience that has contributed to their personal development. The institutional stakeholders were impressed by the commitment and enthusiasm of the youth board. The policy solutions that this board proposed were generally seen as realistic and valuable.

Opinions differed on the potential for implementation of these solutions. The youth board was fairly sceptical about this, whereas the institutional stakeholders see considerable potential. After some discussion, it was agreed that good communication and an awareness of different time horizons (creation of new policy solutions takes much less time than implementations of these solutions), are crucial preconditions for a successful implementation phase.

All participants agreed that the co-creation process has a strong potential and should not stop after UPLIFT has ended. Therefore, all parties involved will make an effort to give the youth board a structural position within the housing policy environment in Amsterdam.

Story telling workshop

In the story telling workshop, TU Delft presented some preliminary results of the WP3 life course interviews among (former) young people. These interviews showed that there often is a large gap between the system world of policies and institutions, and the life world of young people. Young people often experience that formal institutions and policies (housing associations, national and local policies) are not tailored to their needs. Consequently, they often turn to informal solutions. They find a house and/or a job through their personal networks rather than via formal procedures.

This job is actually via a friend of my friend who works there and who said oh yes, we are always looking for new people.

We also observed that the housing crisis in Amsterdam has a considerable impact on other life domains. Several young people indicated they register for a study in order to be eligible for student housing, and thus get a better position on the Amsterdam housing market.

That’s why it was very important for me to start studying immediately after secondary school, because then I was a student and as a student you have a much greater right to a room. Many more people want you in, if they rent out a room. As a non-student 19-year-old, almost nobody wants you.

Finally, we found that the importance that is attached to formal education is decreasing. Several young interviewees indicated that a formal diploma is not necessary for finding a job. Probably, the very tight labour market and shortage of personnel plays a role here.

So yes, I did not complete a HBO education. […] I did everything in practice. So where all my colleagues had studied something like journalism, I never did. And yes, if you have a CV at some point, they never ask about it anymore.

The preliminary findings of the WP3 interviewees were recognized by the young people (among which some interviewees) and the professionals that were present in the meeting. A plea was made for more personal and tailor-made youth policies, for example for young mothers with children. Also, barriers that make the implementation of informal solutions difficult need to be scrutinized.