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The Academy of Young Volunteers

Training for young volunteers working in extra-curricular educational, mentoring and recreational programs

In cooperation  with the College of Education in Zug, Switzerland (Pädagogische Hochschule Zentralschweiz Zug). Founded by the Jacobs-Foundation Zürich.


Project Phase 2 

Duration 12/2008 - 2013


Strategic Project Management

  • Prof. Dr. Bettina Hannover
  • Prof. Dr. Brigit Erikson (PHZ Zug)


Operational Project Management

  • Dipl.-Psych. Melanie Rau
  • Barbara Gysel (PHZ Zug) 

Research Associates

  • Dörte Adam
  • Lic. phil. Christine Wolfgramm (PHZ Zug)
  • Patrick  Pfeuffer (PHZ Zug)
  • Nicole Suter (PHZ Zug)

Student Research Assistants

  • Rahel Jenny (PHZ Zug)

  • Lukasz Jackiewicz

  • Marina Hurm


Project Phase 1 (completed)

Duration  01/2008 - 11/2008


Project Management

  • Prof. Dr. Brigit Erikson (PHZ Zug)
  • Prof. Dr. Bettina Hannover
  • Priv.-Doz. Dr. Ursula Kessels
  • Prof. Dr. Julia Schneewind (PHZ Zug, FH Osnabrück)

Research Associates

  • Barbara Gysel (PHZ Zug)    
  • Dipl.-Psych. Melanie Rau
  • Lic. phil. Christine Wolfgramm


The project aims to develop a training program especially for Swiss adolescents and young adults who work voluntary in small, little institutionalized societies. Often, these do not have diverse financed training opportunities, which established sports clubs, religious or non-denominational children and youth associations or scout troops have at their disposal. The training program is developed by the PHZ (Switzerland) and evaluated by Freie Universität Berlin (Germany). In the first phase of the project the basis for the qualification program will be developed through interviews with young people, conversations with practitioners and associations, and experts' dossiers. In the second phase an evaluation tool will be designed based on the findings of the first phase of the training program (PHZ Zug). In the third phase the program is being conducted at two locations of the PHZ Zug, evaluated by Freie Universität Berlin and adapted on the basis of the outcomes of the evaluation. As a result, a training program (qualification) will be available. After the successful completion the voluntary adolescent will receive the Jacobs Certificate for the young-volunteer coaches working in extracurricular programs. In the fourth phase, the effect of the certificate on the motivation of the participants and on the public perception of volunteering will be evaluated.

The training program is characterized by its innovative concept, as a self-assessment of the relevant skills for the honorary position of each participant precedes the actual training. In addition, the didactic-methodical design includes experiential learning concepts, to make sure the young volunteer coaches are not being taught in a classic sense, but given new teaching concepts that they themselves can use in their activities. The training program assists the voluntary youth in their everyday work.

Voluntary work in this area should be enhanced and emphasized in its importance. Educational institutions that work with voluntary youth are supported in their role in forming the next generation. An innovative financing program aims at including companies, lions clubs, rotary, etc. to ensure that different groups of society are involved: voluntarily (participation in the qualificational program) or financially (the costs of participation). Expected duration of the project: January 2008 to 2012.


Cooperation partner: Junior Experts



  • Short report of the first phase of the project (German)
  • The project about informal learning continues (German)




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