Project Title
Priority 1 Thinking Growth: Supporting growth in North Sea Region economies
Lead Beneficiary
Gebiedscoöperatie Westerkwartier
Contact Person First Name
Contact Person Last Name
Lodewijkstraat 29
P.O. Box
Postal Code
Central Aim

supporting young people from (roughly) the age of 16 till 25 - in school orgraduated, in lower and higher education - and to help them find or organizework in their rural region.

Project Description

NE(X)TWORK was created because of a necessity. There is a mismatch on the job market; there are jobs, there are plenty of young people but still rural regions have to deal with a high unemployment rate among young people. Because of this, mainly highly educated young people tend to leave their home town, despite preferring to stay in the region. A group of young people decided it was sick of being unemployed and frustrated. Refusing to leave their rural home towns, these young people came up with an idea to keep young people in rural regions by creating jobs in the region. We, the young people, took matters into our own hands and created NE(X)TWORK. We believe that problems such as a brain drain among young people is something that should be dealt with from within the community of young people itself. NE(X)TWORK wants to give young people a voice by mobilizing them. Together, we want to learn young people how to develop ’21-century skills’ and how to use these skills. In order to reach ‘next education’ (developing new relationships between the region and education/research), ‘next governance’ (new way of regional planning, in which young people will have an explicit voice) and ‘next economy’ (new sustainable and cooperative regional business models), the participation of young people in their rural region is crucial. The goal of the start-up is to support young people from (roughly) the age of 16 till 25 - in school or graduated, in lower and higher education - and to help them find or organize work in their rural region by mobilizing them and by organizing masterclasses. We call these young people who are ready for the next step in their career Nexters. NE(X)TWORK will be their intermediary and stepping stone. Our aim is to help young people create their own job or start-up  in their rural region. NE(X)TWORK already has a very successful  pilot start-up, namely MyPlacebook. For more information see

Envisaged Output

            mobilizing Nexters in the North Sea Region

  • Put the Nexters on top of the agenda they created themselves by reflecting on the shared territorial challenges
  • Create a transnational network of educational facilities, companies and local governments, to create a better job market for Nexters
  • Provide Nexters with tools to create interesting jobs (start-ups) or internships
  • Avoiding a brain drain and keep young people in the region
What is the need for this project?

NE(X)TWORK is trying to challenge the problems rural regions in the NSR are dealing with, problems which mainly affect the young population of these regions. The rural areas are dealing with a slow recovery of the economic crisis; the structurally weaker regions are among those which have been most seriously affected by the crisis and many are still lagging seriously in the recovery. Young people are often migrating out of the region; they leave their hometown to study and while they tend to return after, there are often no suitable jobs for these Nexters – who are young people with high qualifications. These demographical issues and the so called ‘brain drain’ have far reaching consequences for the rural region. In addition, there are short- and long term employment problems in the rural regions. In the short-term there are large groups of youth and long-term unemployment; which is a risk of permanently exclusion from the labor market. The generated jobs in the NSR economies are mostly in the very low pay segment; this can cause divisions in NSR societies. On the long term there is a shortage of workers in the NSR because of the ageing population with people on average living longer and a smaller number of young people to take their place in the labor market. Therefore, economic recovery should not be limited to workers in urban areas.

Thematic Keywords
Digitalisation of services
Growth and jobs
Innovation capacity building
New products and services
Place-based approaches
Societal challenges
Stimulating innovation
Training and education
Other Keywords
Young people
Partners Found Already

Gebiedscoöperatie Westerkwartier, Hanzehogeschool Groningen, Gemeente Slochteren

Partners Searched

We are looking for partners who are facing the same challenges in their rural regions as we do, partners who work on improving the youth employment possibilities in their regions. Furthermore we are looking for companies that can supply any help for the development of the project (administrational, educational, practical, financial). It can be private or public institutions, government bodies, educational institutions, established business and starting entrepreneurs. By connecting such different level players, we can insure that NE(X)TWORK is supplied with all necessary assistance for its professional development.

Educational institutions can provide masterclasses for skills-improvements for Nexters (young people). Government bodies can supply administrative help. Businesses and entrepreneurs could help with the implementation of freshly obtained knowledge in their field of expertise.

Estimated Budget

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