NEET in Trekking

We walk together to break down barriers
A guided tour aimed at vulnerable and unemployed youths to reclaim their way through sustainable tourism.

The results

  • Young people trained
  • Training hours provided
  • Educational excursions carried out
  • Paths cleaned and mapped

In collaboration with: Associazione WARROLS

THE CHALLENGE: the silence of NEET youths out of education or work

The Itria valley, in Apulia, is one of the many Italian wonders. It’s famous for the presence of the distinctive trulli; however, in many respects and from a tourist point of view, it is still undervalued.
Its potential is huge, specifically in the locality of Barsento, a protected oasis created in 1986, which contains truly spectacular natural features.
It has great value, though it is not very viable due to the almost inaccessible landscape, with unmarked paths and a lack of signage, and tangible signs of neglect such as litter.
This sense of neglect is also felt by the young and, in addition to the environmental issues, there is a situation of great social inequity with a high unemployment rate among youths. This leads to a high incidence of NEETs (Not in Education, Employment or Training), meaning the young are neither working nor studying.
Tackling this situation requires targeted measures to facilitate and support the entrepreneurship of youths by investing in tourism, which is the Apulian economy’s most prolific sector.

THE GOAL: to counter the social isolation of idle youths

The aim of NEET in Trekking is to get young unemployed and disadvantaged people back on their feet through sustainable and accessible tourism, and to protect and promote the natural heritage of the Itria Valley.
The idea is to revive the region by developing young professionals amongst the residents, and implement an upward spiral by promoting an active interest in study and work.
Through vocational training that values the local heritage, the conditions are met to create a social enterprise that offers sustainable itineraries, and restore the paths of the Oasi del Barsento and the wooded areas of the Itria valley.

OUR PROJECT: to create new jobs for the NEETs and revive the region

Cleaning up the woods in the area, mapping the routes and transforming the plateau into an attractive, accessible and sustainable tourist destination.
NEET in Trekking is a project reaching beyond mere tourism by instilling the value of accessibility in both the project participants and the final stakeholders.
This concept of slow tourism, which awaits and involves vulnerable and idle youths through a targeted training programme, enables them to acquire a first set of skills across different areas; from environmental conservation, to marking hiking trails, and making them accessible.
The project, led by a team of multidisciplinary experts, enabled the youths to put into practice what they learnt in the field by identifying 16 hiking paths to be marked with signage, traced on paper maps and GPS, to be made viable for the elderly, children and the disabled.
For some, the professional path led to the creation of Puglia Trekking Escursionismo, a social enterprise that promotes the restored paths that were made accessible by offering sustainable, guided excursions, and which includes a website with the cartography, the descriptions of the itineraries, information about accessibility, and GPS mapping.
It is a community enterprise that gives back, and which has brought value to the area and the entire community, by tapping into new professional energies and finally making entire stretches of land available.
The desire to provide opportunities for NEET youths through training and work experience, is echoed in the Foundation’s other projects such as “Into Work Together” and “Sea Routes to Success”.

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