1979 – Bartomeu Suau comes to sa Indioteria
The origin of the Cooperativa Jovent is linked to the multitude of initiatives and charisma of Bartomeu Suau Serra, a priest who in 1979 was appointed vicar of the parish of Sant Josep del Terme, in the neighborhood of sa Indioteria, where he has since been developing his work. Since the arrival in the neighborhood, a whole series of social initiatives was proposed to mobilize and unite people and entities to work together to benefit the “people” of sa Indioteria. The first important project was the creation of the Club de Esplai Jovent by means of which it promoted summer camps and activities throughout the year with the children of the schools in the neighborhood. From the beginning, the club was very successful, both by the number of children who attended and by the ability to influence parents. With the strength of his charisma and his capacity for leadership, little by little he gained the confidence and the respect of the families of the neighborhood and, at the same time, of the entities that already existed before his arrival (neighbourhood associations, sports clubs, etc.). Over time it underwent the significant transformation from a simple peripheral neighborhood to a community that was cohesive and energized by promoting social networking and the creation of other entities. In this sense, it is necessary to mention the foundation of the Esplai Jovent Club (1979), the social action group of the parish (1982), the building for the elderly (1985), the Sociolaboral Center of Insertion (1995), Farm Jovent School (1984 and 1998), Platform of Entities of the District (1998), Associació Jovent Segle XXI (1998), etc. Among these entities was Cooperativa Jovent (1984).
1983-1988. The beginnings: the agricultural cooperative
Regarding the Cooperativa Jovent, during the last months of 1983 Bartomeu Suau presented a series of proposals to the more than 70 youth monitors of the Club de Esplai Jovent. One of these initiatives proposed the formation of a group of young people who, as a “life option”, would like to commit to the creation of a new entity that would provide solutions to the incipient youth unemployment in the peripheral districts of Palma, one a city that in the 80’s already suffered this problem seriously. Following the proposal a group of ten young people between 17 and 19 years old who accepted the challenge was formed and on March 3, 1984, they founded the Cooperativa Jovent with the following foundational statement: “We came together because we believe that a better world is possible, a noble way of living, with a system, a style of being dedicated to training people who fight and engage with man.”
As a first alternative, it was decided to create an agricultural company on land given by the Bishop of Mallorca, to the houses and the estate of Son Gibert, on the outskirts of Palma. The experience sought a direct labour insertion of young unemployed people, while at the same time striving for coexistence in a group and an “alternative way of life” for those that were part of the Cooperative. The team members lived together on the farm, in a community setting, together learning and reviewing the tasks of the field and working with young people.
After 4 years of effort, and the passage of several young people unemployed by experience, it was valued that in business terms the project was not viable nor with regard to the economic aspect or the activity chosen , since unemployed young people in a tertiary society did not want to work in the country. But during this period, the foundations of what then would be a great educational project for young people were established and a work team was consolidated that has continues united to this day.
1988-1990. Change of activity: the teaching cooperative
Since the majority of the members of the team had training and experience in teaching, an alternative project was begun at the beginning of 1988 with the same principles as the beginnings of the Cooperative but with the firm purpose that was to be profitable social and economically. The possibilities of the cooperatives (at that time a group of 8 people) were analysed and contacted with some professional insertion initiatives in Madrid, Barcelona, Salamanca, Pamplona and the Basque Country. The main conclusion of these visits was that, in order to make a project for social and labour insertion of young people, it was essential to develop a training project appropriate to the reality of the labour market.
Taking advantage of the available infrastructures, over the course of 8 months, the cooperatives reformed with their own hands – and the help of two or three stonemasons – the workshops and houses of Son Gibert and converted it into a centre of education. At the same time, the Cooperative changed its statutes and became a “teaching cooperative.” A study was carried out on failure in schools in Mallorca and an educational project was developed based on the combination of basic training areas and technology workshops. Many institutional contacts were also made in such a way that, in October 1989, two compensatory education programs were started for young people aged 14 and 15 with the support of the Ministry of Education and Science, Caritas Mallorca, the Government of the Balearic Islands and the City Council of Palma.
1991. Occupational training courses
Later, in 1991, it was decided to offer the project to older participants since the Ministry of Education and Science did not offer a stable legal framework. Therefore it was necessary to redirect the project towards non-formal education, which allowed only to start working with young people over 16 years of age. After intense requests for subsidies and political contacts, occupational training courses began, which, along with newly constructed buildings to be able to develop them, would be funded by the Government of the Balearic Islands. At this time the place is called Centre de Formació Ocupacional Jovent.
Since then, the Cooperative has increased the number of activities, expanding the offer of occupational training in the branches of mechanics of the automotive, bodywork – painting, forging / blacksmithing, technical services (plumbing, electricity, pneumatics, automation …), kitchen assistant, textile / upholstery, style assistant (hairdressing and aesthetics) and maintenance and repair of boats. At the same time, classes and graduate school sessions were offered, support for basic education, and career orientation. In 1992 a youth information point and a service for family demands were launched, referring cases to Social Services and other institutions, etc.
1993. Methodological renovation: insertion itineraries
During the 1993/94 academic year, with the spirit of constant research and innovation that characterized the team, a methodological review was initiated in all the training programs of the centre. With three years of experience in the field of training, the need to reconvert pedagogical bases and adapt them to the profile of the beneficiary who went to the centre was confirmed. In this sense, a very clear expression was used: “it is not the student who has to adapt to the institution, but the institution who has to find solutions for each case.”
The starting point of this renewal was a course organized specifically for the Cooperativa Jovent during the summer of 1993. Taking advantage of the framework offered by the Horizon project of the European Social Fund, the then General Director of Training of the Balearic Government organized with the AFPA in Carcassonne (France) intensive training of six weeks. The course transferred to the group a knowledge base and methodologies that led to the elaboration of a socio-occupational project for young people with low levels of qualification. A project that included insertion itineraries with a socio-occupational orientation, coordination with the business world, constant pedagogical renovation with innovative methodologies (individualization of learning, student autonomy as a basis for regulating the educational relationship, self-training with materials development specific didactics, educational involvement, socialization and personalization …), transversal formations, insertion strategies, etc.
The group returned from Carcassone with many ideas and their batteries charged, but I knew that I could not develop the ideal project designed in France since the calls that at that time regulated the training courses in the Balearic Islands did not allow the innovation and flexible methodology needed to do it. But there was a very clear idea of what a socio-educational project for young people should be. We just needed to find the right regulatory framework and the political will to be able to develop it.
In line with the qualitative improvement of the programs, in 1995, Cooperativa Jovent recruited pedagogue Raymond Fontvielle, cofounder of institutional pedagogy, who moved from France to transfer, in a specific seminar for Jovent professionals, all of his experience on self-management of learning. An experience that was very important for the management of the conflict in the workshops.
Likewise, in the sense of having a greater projection outwards, in this period, new collaborations of the Cooperative with different networks at the state level (REPRIS and, later, Red Courage) are opened that work to improve the situation of the most vulnerable people or those at risk of social exclusion.
Also, since 1996, a collaboration agreement has been established with the City Council of Palma to develop socio-educational activities to improve the quality of youth insertion itineraries, an agreement that, to date, has been renewing virtually every year.
1995. A new center: working with an adult population
In 1994, the Cooperativa Jovent tried to start a series of programs aimed at adults, and decided to take advantage of the offer of a two-story building for sale in the district of Sa Indioteria, in the same building block of the Club d” Esplai Jovent i de la Parròquia. Through a purchase agreement with the Bishop of Mallorca, he acquired the property and during the year 1995, a large group of volunteers from the neighborhood met who helped to make a series of reforms in the building to enable them like classrooms, offices and workshops. In December 1995 the activities commenced and on March 3, 1996, Centre Sociolaboral d’Inserció Jovent (CSI) was officially inaugurated with the aim of working against the social exclusion of adults and for the union of many sociocultural dynamization activities and as the basis for organizing the future Platform for Entities in the neighborhood.
1995-2000. European projects: utopia becomes reality
Returning to activities with young people, the project designed in Carcassonne in the summer of 1993 could not be carried out immediately. It was after a year and a half when the Cooperativa could include its ideal project of orientation, training and insertion within the framework of the programs financed by the European Social Fund. It was an important milestone considering the great margin of flexibility, innovation and pedagogical experimentation that allowed these programs. From the fourth quarter of 1995 to December 1999, the Jovent 2000 projects (1995 – 1997) and Millennium (1998 – 1999) were developed within the framework of the Youthstart Community Initiative (European Social Fund) and the Demos project (1995 – 1997) in the framework of the Horizon Community Initiative (European Social Fund). The three actions implemented so-called Socio-laboratory Insertion Itineraries and offered the opportunity to fully develop this project designed in Carcassone in 1993, carrying out different actions, methods and innovative programs to fight against the social exclusion of young people with low levels of qualification and several groups of adults. We must say that the three projects were a great success in all areas; High number of beneficiaries attended – with long waiting lists to be able to enter -, quality of implemented programs, adaptability to the needs of each person, high levels of labor insertion (80% in the case of youth projects), etc. . It should be mentioned, moreover, that these good practices that favored the methodology based on flexible itineraries had an important contribution of “know-how” to many projects in other European countries (France, United Kingdom, Belgium, Germany , Italy and Greece) that greatly enriched the whole experience and those who C.Jovent also contributed numerous strategies and methods of intervention with young people.
Collaboration with the University of the Balearic Islands (UIB)
It is important to pay special attention to the relationship that Cooperativa Jovent has had with the UIB. Today, they have established a Collaboration Framework Agreement (2002), which originated in an agreement signed with the Fundació Universitat Empresa in 1998, and currently develops three basic lines of collaboration: the evaluation and Research in the field of young people with a low educational level (with the Department of Education Sciences), student internships at the UIB (with the same department and with the Department of Psychology) and the promotion of conferences, studies, publications … All these actions imply a commitment of the entity for external evaluation as a tool for continuous improvement, for the approach between the university world and reality, for research that contributes to the reflection, improvement and dissemination of good practices in the field of social education … In short, the establishment and consolidation of a relational framework with an interrelation that provides a true exchange of “know-how”.
2000-2008. Stability of insertion itineraries
The projects of the European Social Fund ended in December 1999 and a new 2000-2007 call was opened in which Jovent did not participate (although it had been presented together with other entities in the new project called Equal, which was denied). In any case, it was assumed that those experimental and innovative projects that had been successful would be taken on by the respective state and autonomous governments. For that reason, in March of 2000, the Ministry of Work and Training of the Government of the Balearic Islands evaluated the experiences Youthstart and Horizon de C. Jovent and approved its continuity within the framework of the plans of formation of the Linked Plan; a continuity given by the consolidation of the current Integrated Insertion Itineraries.
Alongside the implementation of the itineraries, C. Jovent launched a series of additional measures and reforms – fought on European experiences and the constant analysis of their teams – which again represented more improvements in projects for youth and adults, and socio-cultural dynamisation of the neighbourhood. Along this line, an agreement was signed with the General Directorate of Youth of the Ministry of Presidency and Sports to bring the world of information to young people with social difficulties with the promotion of informational units of social integration.
Apart from the Balearic Government, we would like to make special mention to other important entities that nowadays contribute to the improvement of our center and provide additional funding to programs; we refer to the agreement signed with the City Council of Palma (we have already commented that today this agreement has been extended and is carried out jointly with the other entities that make up the Associació Jovent Segle XXI), the solidarity projects of the Caixa de Balears “Sa Nostra”, the project “Incorpora” from the Fundació la Caixa and the project “Proinfancia” together with the EAPN-IB network, also from the Fundació la Caixa and, finally, the help of the Ministry of labour and Social Affairs in the framework of the joint activities with the Red Coraje. Together, all these organizations provide high quality and possibilities for diversification of programs (social actions, curricular diversifications, parents’ schools, extracurricular activities, therapy for young people and parents, reinforcement of basic education and literacy, preparation of didactic material, …). Occasionally there are also other entities (the General Direction of Youth of the Balearic Government, the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, etc.) that provide some funding.
Network of Jovent: Associació Jovent Segle XXI
In 1998 the entities generated around the parish of Sant Josep del Terme and the Club de Esplai Jovent (Cooperativa Jovent, Granja Escola Jovent and the Association of the Elderly) join and create the Associació Jovent Segle XXI with the idea of joining efforts and objectives, giving a political visibility of unity and offering a methodological coherence in their actions. Cooperativa Jovent assumes the coordination of the entity and designs the project “Barri en Acció” (2001) that includes actions carried out by the five entities of the association but which, in addition, involves the participation of the majority of the association, entities of the district of sa Indioteria, is based on the integration of actions of community scope through several strategic lines.
This project was presented to the Government of the Balearic Islands and was approved as a model of local development in a neighbourhood experimental area. It is currently included as a reference for action through an agreement signed with the Ministry of the Presidency, which has been renewed every year since 2002. Also, an agreement was signed with the City Council of Palma in 2003 to support the same project in the framework of the actions that refer to social action but with the possibility of extending actions in other fields (culture, youth, leisure …) and allow the expansion of more goals and complementary activities.
At the same time, in July of 2003 the Associació Jovent Segle XXI delegated to the Cooperativa Jovent the coordination of an important new action. Through a 10-year agreement signed with the Balearic Government and the financial aid of “Sa Nostra” Caixa de Balears, the purchase of a rural house in Sa Indioteria (called Sa Midoneria) was made to be able to develop in the future a series of social activities, of formation and of sociocultural dynamisation. The project was pending financing for the reform of the house but in 2006 the Department of Vice-presidency and Institutional Relations approved a two-year grant for the reform and empowerment of houses. In addition, during 2007, the EMOP the City Council of Palma approved an additional subsidy to provide the centre with a public pool and to reform the exterior. With all these subsidies, the renovation and conditioning works of this venue could be started in November 2006. Activities in the Centro Cívic sa Midioneria began in 2014.
Extension of training facilities (2001)
At the end of the year 2000, the Cooperativa Jovent decided to expand the facilities of the Occupational Training Centre (Son Gibert, Palma) taking advantage of some space that was left free in the site ceded by the Bishop of Mallorca. Specifically, and thanks to a loan granted by the same Bishop, the construction of two new units began in May 2001. The first space, 220 m2, was adapted to make a teaching resource center and computer room, a workshop on styling (hairdressing and aesthetics), a psychotherapeutic cabinet and a tutorial classroom. At the same time, a second large unit of 550 m2 was built, which was authorized as an automotive workshop in the branches of mechanics and bodywork. In the same workshop two classrooms were set up for theory and group dynamics of 40 m2 each.
With these new spaces, the entity completed the capacity for expansion of the facilities and currently only expect to make some internal reforms of spaces that have become obsolete or that suffer from structural deficiencies.
XX Anniversary: Youth as a reference point (2004)
Within this spirit of giving importance to all the young people, in March 2004, the XX Anniversary of the Cooperativa Jovent was celebrated, with a series of events and a great party attended by all the young people that had gone through the Jovent programs since 1989, in total more than 2000. The party also included the participation of all the political parties and social entities of Mallorca, together with all the entities that work within the framework of the Social exclusion and entrepreneurs who had collaborated in the Jovent project.
In addition, that year, and thanks to an agreement with the Red Conecta – linked to the Esplai Foundation of Barcelona -, a computer literacy classroom was started in the neighbourhood of sa Indioteria with the main objective of preventing and combating social exclusion. Computer and Internet courses given to 350 people from different neighbourhood groups were a great success in just the first year.
Between 2005 and 2007, the Jovent cooperative has participated in numerous events related to the insertion and training of young people. We emphasize the following:
- Participation as experts in the working group on solutions to dropping out of school: European project Drop-In (Socrates) in collaboration with the Foundation University – Business and other European universities. (September 2007)
- Participation as experts in the Debate and Progress Project of the Center for Social Studies Gabriel Alomar. Study group “What do we educate from school?”. Analysis and conclusions on the role of education in our society. (2005)
- Participation in the preparation of the report on the questionnaire to groups at risk of exclusion prepared by EAPN-Illes Balears (October 2007)
- Founding member of the EAPN-Illes Balears Network for social inclusion since May 2005, date of establishment of the network.
- Elaboration of a socio-educational intervention project (PISE) in collaboration with the Sant Pere school (2006)
- Participation in the platform of entities in the neighborhood of Son Gibert – El Viver i de sa Indioteria to implement socio-educational programs and social-labor insertion (2005-2011)
- Participation in the scientific committee in the V National Congress of Social Education. Toledo. Nov-2006 to Sep 2007
- 2008-2010: Participation in the Grundtwig Project “Prevenir le décrochage et accompagner le raccrochage Educatif des jeunes adultos” together with the UIB. This project had the purpose of exchanging experiences for preventing early school drop-outs and returning to education.
2008-2012. More reforms. Caja Proinfancia Program. XXV anniversary Professional qualifications ISO 9001: 2008 quality certificate
With the consolidation of guidance programs, occupational training and job placements for young people and adults, Jovent is currently carrying out more than 25 different actions for young people and many others for adults. For Jovent, about 250 youngsters and about 600 adults annually find some kind of solution that can guide, form or seek employment.
2008: Reforms for the improvement of accessibility and the CaixaProinfacia Program
At the end of 2008 the entity carried out the remodeling of the facilities of the Occupational Training Center to adapt all spaces to people with disability. The works allowed the construction of several ramps, the reform of the services and excused of the occupational workshops and the adaptation of several accesses. This remodeling was carried out with the advice of the team of the technical unit for assessment, guidance and evaluation of the network of care for people with disabilities at the Institute of Social Affairs of Mallorca (IMAS). In addition, all the electrical installations and the system against fires of the center were modified to adapt to the current regulations.
That same year, the entity decided to promote and participate in a new initiative of “la Caixa” Welfare Projects, the CaixaPrinfancia program. This program, coordinated in the Balearic Islands through the EAPN-Illes Balears network, represents a great boost for the activities developed at the Social Insertion Center (CSI), since it allows daily activities with an average of 50 children and adolescents from among 0 and 16 years old, from families in situations of poverty or social vulnerability, with school reinforcement activities, psychological care, food aid and school equipment, etc.
2009: Twenty-fifth anniversary
In 2009, the XXV Anniversary of the Cooperativa Jovent was celebrated. Among the most important events we highlight a surprise dinner prepared by the professionals of the entity for the members of the management team and a tourist trip to Barcelona for all the staff in which, with a fun and festive tone , the “conquest of the Catalan capital by the Kings of Mallorca” was staged.
2010: the challenge of professional qualifications
The challenge faced by the entity as of 2010 was a change in the stage in the qualifications, especially with regard to the training of young people. From the Ministry of Labor and Training, the main public funding body of the programs, the approved training was prioritized according to the National Catalog of Professional Qualifications, in particular, according to the certificates of professionalism issued by the labor administration. To this end, Cooperativa Jovent worked intensively to be able to validate all its training courses by making significant investments in facilities to meet the current demanding safety regulations, adapting all spaces so that they were accessible to people with disabilities, rearranging the training programs, requesting the approval of certain qualifications so that they adapt to the characteristics of the young population, etc.
Even so, the most important objective that was raised by the entity is that these changes did not lose a series of defining features of its methodology and educational strategies that had been so successful. We talk, for example, of not losing the system of continuous entries of young people in the project – an aspect that administratively the Ministry put many obstacles -, or to be able to maintain the individualization of the processes with curricular designs that respect the units of competencies… . This was a struggle between the bureaucratic-administrative demands and the logic of a successful pedagogy for young people.
2011-2012: ISO 9001: 2008 quality certification and the ERE crisis
During the 2010-2011 academic year, in order to improve the quality of the programs carried out by the entity with young people located in the Cooperativa Jovent (located in Son Gibert), the implementation of a management system based on the ISO standard. At the end of 2010 the corresponding internal audits were carried out and, after intense work by all the professionals of the entity to meet the requirements of the norm, in July 2011 Cooperativa Jovent obtained the ISO certification 9001: 2008 by the Bureau Veritas entity. With this comprehensive Youth Management system, it demonstrated its ability to offer actions carried out at the highest level with an approach aimed at providing quality services to the users of its programs.
Due to the delay in the regional calls for those that depended on programs of guidance, training and insertion that the Cooperativa Jovent developed, the workers agreed to initiate a File of Regulation of Employment (ERO) on October 4, 2011. Although the planned duration of this ERO was six months, the ERO was effective from November 1, 2011 to February 6, 2013 when all employees were reincorporated.
2012-2016: Facing the effects of the crisis. Die Lourdes Botejara. Inauguration of “Sa Midoneria”. Promotion of ICT.
Already in 2011, the effects of the global economic crisis started in 2008 had been felt in the programs developed by the entity. That is why it was necessary, in the face of an extraordinary situation, to implement extraordinary measures.
2012: Measures to deal with the crisis
In order to give stability to the staff and to be able to access all the possible resources, the management team of the Cooperativa Jovent, after consulting the educators, decides to increase the age range of the people attended to, going from 16 to 21 years as had been done so far, up to 30 or 64 years depending on the call for training courses for employment. In fact, in 2012 the entity was presented for the first time in the call “Training actions aimed primarily at unemployed workers” (16 to 64 years). With this they were able to face the cuts in other programs of training of the Employment Service of the Balearic Islands (SOIB) to which the entity had traditionally presented. In any case, the entity continued to have as the main target group young people aged 16 to 30 who exhibit vulnerability factors. It is important to mention that all the professionals hired by the cooperative, aware of the precariousness of the sector’s situation, at all times supported the entity and made the necessary efforts to maintain the programs.
2013: Mor Lourdes Botejara. Inauguration of “Sa Midoneria. Casal de Barrio Jovent”
In January of 2013 and after a long illness, Lourdes Botejara Felip, member of the management team of the Cooperativa Jovent and coordinator of the Health Insertion Society (CSI) Center of sa Indioteria, passed away. His loss leaves deep regret among the staff of the entity as an example of professional involvement and, above all, of generosity, authenticity and affection towards people.
The death of Lourdes, promoter of the activities of the CaixaProinfància program developed at the CSI, coincides with the inauguration of “Sa Midoneria. Casal de barri Jovent “, in Sa Indioteria, where they join the program with other activities. The management of this Casal, owned by l’Associació Jovent,, is assumed by Cooperativa Jovent and becomes the entity’s second center of operations, offering socioeducational, cultural services, attention to vulnerable groups, recreational activities, etc. For its part, the CSI only maintains activities in which it collaborates with the Social Action and Caritas Group (Food and Clothing Bank) as this center becomes fully managed by the Parish of Sant Josep del Terme, the institution that owns the property.
2014-2016: The ICT strategy and start of unsubsidized courses.
In 2014, the teaching team, in its spirit of continuous improvement and innovation, and seeing that the integral itineraries had to adapt to the new times, saw the need to make a qualitative boot, proposing as a purpose the achievement of excellence in education for young people at risk of social exclusion. That is why the objective of introducing ICT in orientation, training and insertion processes was raised. That’s why he asked for the collaboration of the research group Grupo de Tecnología Educativa (GTE) of the UIB. From here, a work plan was defined and implemented that will be extended until 2016 with an external audit that will serve to evaluate the implementation of this plan.
At the same time, the management team considered the need to offer non-subsidized training by public entities with the aim of broadening the formative form. Thus, in 2014, the first courses began (initially local fishing landlord, Fisherman and Basic Life Support, semi-automatic external defibrillator and first aid, which would be maintained and offered as a training option in subsequent years.
On October 18, 2015 Joan Mercadal Ferrà died unexpectedly. He was the technical trainer of the blacksmith shop, and a good friend of all and great professionals who had been working in the entity since he began teaching occupational training workshops in 1990. It was a hard blow for the cooperative and the many students he had throughout his life.