Project concept

Painting murals
The project gives young adults the opportunity of making their neighbourhood more beautiful by painting beautiful murals or other works of art on canvas, all under the supervision of a skilled painter or artist. In this way, the participating youth and their neighbourhood get positive feedback and attention. And we know that this helps increase their motivation and break free from unemployment.

Work and integration

Youth Power Europe is a project that creates job opportunities for unemployed youth from disadvantaged areas in cities across Europe. Inclusion and integration is a cornerstone of the project. We find meaningful job opportunities in the creative field of painting for those who need them the most.

Work-based learning

The project is often run in areas with a high concentration of immigrants and where the unemployment rate is also high. Young people in these areas often need a task, like painting a mural, in order to find the inspiration for obtaining more knowledge. While getting important work-based learning, these youth are able to simultaneously use their painting skills to make their neighbourhoods more beautiful.

Funding from Erasmus+

In December 2017, the project received funding from Erasmus+ in order to start a collaboration with several European cities such as Poland, Latvia, Spain and Sweden. The funding makes it possible to investigate additional cultural and creative ways of creating work in targeted areas of each country. Much of our future prosperity will depend on how we use our resources, knowledge and creative talent to spur innovation. Building on our rich and diverse cultures, Europe must pioneer new ways of creating added value, living together, sharing resources and enjoying diversity. Through the project the painting business will take part in developing this potential.

Previous successful projects

Youth Power Europe was set up by Måleriföretagen i Sverige (an industry and employers organization with the task of developing the professional painting in Sweden). The project was started because very few were choosing a painting career, despite the steady high demand. Måleriföretagen i Sverige has been running painting projects for a very long time. The very first project was organized in conjunction with the 1995 World Championships in Athletics that was hosted by Gothenburg. At the time, the painting industry was in a recession and many painters were out of work. The project commissioned painters to paint different parts of Gothenburg in preparation for the World Championship. Accordingly, jobs were created and it helped turn the recession around.

Since then, Måleriföretagen has run several integration projects, led by Erling Zandfeld, in both Sweden and Estonia.  The national organisation has stood behind it all, making it very clear that integration projects are an important component of its operations. It has also issued a directive on the importance of continuing such development projects.

Let´s colour Gothenburg

Let´s colour Gothenburg
Youth Power Europe has evolved from the ongoing project, Let’s Colour Gothenburg. Work-based learning has been tested in several small-scale Swedish cities, with successful results. In 2016, the project received an EU grant to implement Let’s Colour Gothenburg on a larger scale. The goal was clear: to get 100 youth into real, long-term jobs as painters by 2021 (the year that Gothenburg celebrates its 400th anniversary).

Learn more about the project at 

The method applied in Gothenburg involves, in the first stage, giving youth a taste of what it’s like to work in the painting industry, all under the supervision of an instructor. The work involves not only such things as renovating an apartment, but also decorative painting like mural artwork. Those who show a real interest in the profession might be encouraged to enroll in an adult education programme that will certify them as a professional painter. Certification comes in the form of an apprenticeship journal that is decisive in getting these youth employment with a painting company.