It is never easy to start a new job. The European Youth Programmes are famous for all the acronyms, as well as having various criteria, regulations and procedures that take quite some learning for newcomers as officers in the National Agencies. Having peer support and a network to welcome you and help out can make a world of difference. Here Lucia Abinante, Head of the Italian NA, explains her experience, showing there is value in having an NA network:
“On 6th September 2020, I joined as the Head of the Italian National Agency for Erasmus+ and the European Solidarity Corps. The first day I went in to the office, I was actually the only single person there - because it was COVID times, and everyone was working from home. It was a very strange start to a new role: these past 18 months have not been easy for anyone.
As soon as I could, only two months after starting the role, I attended network activities. This had a very positive impact on my management approach on a national level.
The NA network includes a high level of competence, expertise, knowledge and common memory of the programmes. Being connected to it can really help a newcomer. It also facilitates the relationship between NAs and the EC.
I find it extremely supportive to work with other colleagues in the NA network. Collaborating together, we are able to produce and provide concrete solutions to specific issues, and have strategic reflection about the future of Programmes. Another important aspect of the NA network is the opportunity to improve the skills and competences of the entire staff of NAs, through all the KMST activities, and other parallel support offers that SALTO organises, as well as those that are informally arranged ad-hoc between colleagues.
I would like to thank all the colleagues for their support and welcome into the network.
The TCA is an important tool for the NA Network. By considering new ways of managing activities, having new organisation methods, the training plan can really connect national offers to those of other countries, and co-create activities that take into account needs of different realities.
I joined the Co-group to help with the co-ordination of the network - both because I believe in getting the experience, and also because the perspective of newcomer Directors can be helpful. It’s important to be active and get involved in activities that concern us, and which can then have effects on young people and organisations and communities and societies.
I hope my experience as a newcomer helps to show the value and need of the NA network, and that we can all work together to increase its power and support to everyone."