A few years ago, the Sports Federations Union of Catalonia’s (UFEC) Social Action department launched the INSERsport program. It is aimed at young people who are at risk of social exclusion and it makes use of sports educative power to promote healthy habits and learning. Thanks to the collaboration with sports federations and third sector organisations, UFEC has been able to expand the program to different parts of Catalonia.

Engagement in the program drives employment

At INSERsport, the youngsters take part in training courses focused on a specific sport. This training includes sport theory, but above all, practice. In this way, youth who participate have an opportunity to be in the direct contact with competitions and the different federations that are part of the program. So INSERsport is also a work opportunity for its participants because once the training course is completed, they can be hired by the federations as referees or sports instructors. In Catalonia, there are 143,600 unemployed youngsters, therefore one of the program’s objective is to become a linking bridge towards youth employment and expanding their studies. A particular INSERsport course is carried out in collaboration with FECDAS (Catalan Federation of Underwater Activities), located in the city of Barcelona.

INSERsport was designed for those young people between 16 and 25 years old who are in some way, in unpleasant situations or at risk of social exclusion. The main objective is to contribute to their social and labour inclusion. The communication channels for contacting young people has been the local foundations, NGO’s and social services.

We consider that young people have adapted very properly to the program since 90% of them have finished the course. They are engaged in the proposed activities and are interested in continuing their training. Some of them even discover different sports and meet new friends.

They are constantly supported by social educators and psychologists so they don’t feel lost in the course and have the opportunity to express possible difficulties with the training.

Therefore, we have carried out these short-term focused objectives established by the program:

  • Improve the physical health of the participants;
  • Educate on the values and apply these to everyday life;
  • Encourage social interaction;
  • Provide competencies and skills for labour insertion.

Importance of cooperation with other organisations

We work with more than 45 third sector organisations and develop activities with the young people they put us in touch with. We carry out activities such as mountain hikes, beach games, attendance at competitions and tournaments, or any other sports-related activities. Our job is to include and unite all young people who are in unhealthy situations or at risk of social exclusion, and we believe that the best way to do this is through sports education and social power. We have plenty of evidence to suggest that every year more young people will be interested in taking part in this program.

Specifically, in this Underwater Activities course with FECDAS, young people are trained both theoretically and practically during the three months of the program.

Once a week, they also take part in “transversal skills” sessions included in the program. These are led by a psychologist and are intended to provide the youngsters relevant skills and competencies for their social and labour inclusion (empathy, self-confidence, self-control, emotional intelligence, etc.).

In theoretical classes (carried out by FECDAS instructors), the boys have been trained in aspects that they should know how to perform and instruct underwater activities (specifically diving and swimming with fins). In practical lessons, they learned how to assemble diving equipment and even how to perform underwater activities.

Youngsters receive professional certificates for further employment

With this training period finished, youngsters have taken exams and received evaluations about the issues and aspects learned and have acquired a “Diving Ground instructor” and “Fins Swimming referee” certificate. These certifications allow them to work with the FECDAS federation and it can become a linking bridge for other future jobs.