Leonardo Mobility: increasing skills and broadening horizonsPosted: August 3, 2012
As part of the Communications team we always love to hear about how you use our funding and the far-reaching benefits that it brings. Recently I spoke to Rachel Delourme, Sustainability Co-ordinator & STEM Advisor at Cornwall Learning, who, as part of Cornwall Learning, has co-ordinated Leonardo Mobility projects for both Initial Vocational Training and People in the Labour Market. Speaking to Rachel made me appreciate just how far-reaching the impact of the Lifelong Learning Programme can be.
I began by asking Rachel a bit about why the project had started. She described how six years ago she was working on education and business partnerships and how links with businesses and young people could benefit each other specifically in the catering and hospitality sector. In Cornwall this type of work can be very seasonal with a lot of opportunities for young people to gain skills and experience in the summer months but with these opportunities drying up during the winter. Rachel wanted to start a project that would provide young people with the chance to work in another part of Europe during this period. The idea behind this is that it would provide the opportunity for people to increase their skills and experience all year round and allow them to be inspired and increase their knowledge and culinary creativity. On their return these new skills would be integrated into the local community and the experience would also provide participants with the confidence to venture outside of Cornwall, something that without an opportunity like this, young people would rarely do.
Rachel began by looking at local colleges and businesses within Cornwall that ran apprenticeship schemes but either had difficulty with retention rates or that did not always have enough work to sustain apprentices the whole year round. Building on this local network, she began to do the same in Paris, an area renowned for high quality and standards in catering and hospitality, and found a host organisation, Lycée Rabelais, who have an extensive network of hotels and restaurants, and who are a specialist hospitality trainer for young people.
An eye-opening experience
For the apprentices involved the opportunity to work in Paris was a real eye-opener. Not only did it provide an incentive for them to work hard and earn their place on the scheme while in Cornwall, but it opened their eyes to new experiences and helped them to dream and aspire for the future. One of the project’s success stories is Ollie Clarke, who after his work placement in Paris and the completion of his apprenticeship realised that he wanted to work in France and that he had the skills, experience and courage to take this chance thanks to his Leonardo Mobility. Rachel helped to set up interviews with some of the restaurants within the Paris network and Ollie is now working in a host restaurant in France.
The benefits have not just been for the participants involved in the project, but the host organisation has also benefitted. As a result of receiving UK participants they realised the benefits of Lifelong Learning Programme funding and decided to put in a bid to their National Agency for Mobility funding. Rachel was able to provide some hints and tips on what goes into a successful application and the host organisation have been successful in their bid and have received funding to send French apprentices to Cornwall.
Building a successful working relationship
Rachel makes sure to put effort, not just into the work placements, but also into maintaining the working relationship of the network she has established. When she is in Paris to see how the mobility participants are getting on she makes sure to drop in on other members of the network for a quick coffee and a catch up. The personal aspect of the working relationship goes a long way towards the success of the project as a whole and Rachel has found that maintaining contact with people is key. I asked Rachel what she was most proud of from this project:
“The personalisation for young people. They apply in writing and their objectives are then matched to the extensive network that has been established – not just their skills but their personality as well. This fine-tuning to ensure the right fit and the right placement for the participant is what makes the project work so well.”
For more information on the project, led by Cornwall Learning, contact Rachel Delourme, you can email her at email@example.com to find out more.
Hearing where our funding goes and the expected, and unexpected, benefits that it produces is interesting, inspiring and always worth sharing and highlighting through our websites and social media. You can share your stories with us by submitting a case study to appear on our Projects around the UK map, or write a guest post for our blog, or why not attend one of our events and speak to us in person? Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.