Interview with Matthew Caine from EYP UK

Matthew Caine is the former president and current Communications Trustee of EYP UK. Being a trainer at EYP events has always been his passion. During the EYP Summer Academy in Echternach last August, he was the event’s Head Trainer. But what does that mean? And what does a trainer do?

What has your EYP career been like so far?

After my presidency, I’ve moved more into communications. For me, it’s more about selling the EYP experience to British individuals. Trainer work is kind of where my path lies. I talk about what you can gain from it and the sense of friendship you get from it, making friends across all borders. EYP is such a dynamic organisation, there is so much to do, there is so much available to anyone who takes part. Whatever you’re interested in, there’s something to do for you, be it governance, organisation, fundraising or the more creative aspects of journalism and so on. There’s so much to do!

What does a head trainer do?

For the Summer Academy last August I worked together with the organizing team of the event to craft this vision of “Fostering Collective Knowledge” and trying to create a nurturing environment where we can pair people up and introduce more experienced board members to other board members and really emphasise the network elements.

Everything that I did was built around trying to make that vision a reality. We had a phenomenal trainers team. My job was to support them in their work to make the vision a reality and to ensure that every participant feels very welcome and feels like they have an experience that’s tailored to them. Because ultimately as much as I enjoyed coming to lovely rural Echternach myself, it was more the participants’ experience.

How do you apply for a trainer position at an EYP event?

The application process is fairly straightforward. We send out the vision we have for the event, how we envision the role of the trainer and some of the things that we are going to try at the event. Any member who wants to get involved can then send an application.

What makes a good trainer?

I mainly look for different types of expertise, skill sets and approaches. Not everyone is such an extraverted trainer like I am: I am quite loud, regrettably for many. I have been lucky to work with excellent introverted, relaxed and calm trainers; I’d like to see that approach become more popular in EYP. It creates a bit of a contrast, like a painting.

At the Summer Academy, we were keen not to stress on a certain level of EYP experience. We were really trying to emphasise on EYP as a wider network that has to interact with many other great elements of life outside of EYP itself. It may be hard to take for some, but EYP can be a little bit of a bubble.

Finally, I’m just looking for someone who is capable of getting stuck in and really put in the hours for a brief period of time.

How do you see your EYP future with Brexit coming up?

Well, Brexit is kind of like a puzzle box that gets progressively more complex, it is a very difficult thing to navigate. It doesn’t necessarily have huge consequences in the sense that we can’t have EYP anymore, because there is that classic misconception that EYP must be directly related to the European Union. I do get a lot of questions about that from teachers in the UK, understandably.

Having said that, I think we’ll be alright. It’s a really strong team with the NC, and the younger alumni are stronger still. The end of EU membership does not mean that young British people are in any less of a position to take part in complex debate. Our work to promote cultural enrichment, active citizenship and political engagement is as relevant now as it always has been.