Recently Ecorys and the British Council celebrated the impact and success of the organisations and individuals that we fund through two events: our Valorisation Conference and the award ceremony for our Your Story competition. These events are our chance to meet you in person and to hear your stories. The entries we received for our Your Story competition, and the presentations at our Valorisation Conference, were all inspiring, motivating and engaging and highlight how our funding helps to broaden horizons. Spending time with our projects and hearing, in detail, the work that you have done really makes us proud to be part of the Lifelong Learning Programme.
At our Valorisation Conference we had the chance to speak to the Doncaster Deaf Trust who have been involved in several Leonardo projects that support deaf and hearing impaired learners in vocational education and training. Together, with their partners, they have worked on a Transfer of Innovation project called ‘Spread the Sign‘ which has developed a website with over 70,000 signs in 14 different sign languages, making it an ideal tool for vocational learners preparing to study or work abroad.
The Trust have used this tool to help as part of one of their other Leonardo Mobility projects, helping to prepare young deaf learners for their work placements in specialist deaf schools and colleges in Sweden, Germany and the Czech Republic. This experience has helped the students involved to secure employment and successfully transfer their skills into the labour market. Read the rest of this entry »
With lifelong learning being at the very core of our programmes, I was really encouraged to hear about one of our participants Michael Mohebbi, who after writing a successful bid for a Comenius project in 2011, decided to build on his own lifelong learning journey. After becoming familiar with the range of benefits offered to students taking part in the Comenius programme, Michael, who works for the University of Liverpool, was inspired to take part in a 3 month Grundtvig Assistantship to experience the benefits first hand. Michael’s Assistantship was at the same organisation, the North Karelia University of Applied Sciences in Finland, that he was first in contact with through writing the Comenius bid (both Institutions supported the project), illustrating that our funding can interlink whatever your stage of learning. Here he describes why this placement was right for him:
My overall aim and motivation for getting involved was to accelerate my personal and professional development by adding an aspect of European experience to my CV. On a personal level, I really wanted to test myself as a person by taking myself out of my comfort zone and learning to survive alone, as it were, in a different country. My strategy was to undertake a work placement over a significant period of time at a European institution, gaining innumerable experiences, competencies and skills along the way, immersing myself into a new culture and adapting to a new job. Read the rest of this entry »
Today saw the CULT Committee, which is responsible for drawing up the European Parliament’s proposal for the next generation of programmes, vote on the what the contents of the proposal should be.
Over 1000 amendments were introduced by MEPs to the European Commission’s original proposal and were voted on today. Due to the number of amendments considered, it isn’t possible to give you a detailed run down of all the changes and decisions. We have been able to pull out some of the most important amendments which should be confirmed in a final report from the Committee in the new year.
- Endorsement of the name ‘YES Europe’ and rejection of other names proposed including ‘Erasmus for All’ and ‘Lifelong Learning Programme’.
- Endorsement of separate chapters for education, youth and sport.
- Definitions of lifelong learning, mobility activities and so on have been expanded to cover a wider range of activities.
- Concern to broaden scope of youth activities, protect social inclusion element of programme, and emphasise non-formal and informal learning in the sector.
- Increased emphasis on third countries and ‘international’ co-operation (not just European).
The proposal will now go to the European Parliament for a vote in January. It isn’t all over for ‘Erasmus for All’ just yet…
What are your thoughts?
We’ll continue to bring you the latest updates from the vote but why not let us know your thoughts and opinions on the confirmed amendments to the proposal? You can watch the CULT Committee meeting at http://www.europarl.europa.eu/ep-live/en/committees/video?event=20121127-0900-COMMITTEE-CULT and tweet us @llpUKecorys or leave a comment below.
Each year we produce a series of publications showing how the Leonardo, Grundtvig and Transversal programmes provide funding for projects and activities all around the UK. These publications are sent directly to elected policymakers and key stakeholders to help raise their awareness of the good work done by the programmes in their country. This year, we would like to share them with you on our blog.
Deeside College in North Wales is just one of the organisations benefitting from funding provided by the Leonardo, Grundtvig and Transversal programmes.
Engineering apprentices from East Wales enhanced their professional skills in papermaking whilst undertaking work placements in Germany, thanks to a Leonardo da Vinci Mobility project run by Deeside College. To increase the benefits of their work placement the apprentices undertook German language and cultural training. The placement gave them the opportunity to widen their skills and improve their future prospects. Read the rest of this entry »
Since the closing date of our Your Story competition on the 28 September, we’ve been busy looking at all your entries and choosing a winner, and highly commended, in each category. It wasn’t an easy task to just pick two in each category as all the entries were inspiring, humbling and motivating. Today, at our awards ceremony, myself and Faye got to meet all the winners from across the British Council and Ecorys Your Story competition.
I’ll be blogging in more detail about the awards in the next few weeks as I’d like to share with you the personal stories that make the programme what it is, for now, I’d like to leave you with the winners:
Read the rest of this entry »
Recently we wrote about our forthcoming Thematic Networking event. At each of these events we invite a range of decision-makers and education professionals from across the UK to attend and look in detail at recent policy developments during the day.
As part of each event we hold a series of workshop sessions that look, in detail, at four cross-cutting themes. The discussions during these workshops will inform future decisions with the wider professional networks of the group, both in the UK and across Europe. While attendance at these events is by invitation only, everyone who recieves funding from our projects can still get involved by reading, and disseminating, the outcomes from the event. Read the rest of this entry »
After being part of the Lifelong Learning Programme for a number of years, I realise what a tremendous impact the programmes can have on the lives of those involved. I think this has become even more poignant to me as I come to the end of my time here at Ecorys and start a new chapter of my career.
Working within the communications team I have been fortunate to meet so many of the organisations and participants that we support. I have always been inspired by the work that is taking place across Europe and the impact this is having on so many people in the UK. Involvement really does have the capability to change lives.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been recording a series of films which demonstrate the wide reaching impact of the programmes. I met one participant who talked about how his work placement in an orphanage in Bulgaria helped him to re-focus the direction of his life. He is now in full time employment and has his own flat. Another, a future Olympian, spoke about the importance of a training experience in Tenerife that enabled him to develop key life skills and gave him the confidence to compete on the international stage. I hope you will enjoy watching the films ‘Changing Lives’ as much as we enjoyed making them - they will be released on our YouTube channel in a few weeks.
I know there is a tremendous amount of passion and appreciation for the learning and experiences that being involved in the LLP provides. The work you are all doing across Europe and the support you give your learners never ceases to astound me. I would like to say a big thank you for everyone who has shared their experiences through our newsletters, websites, publications, events and blog over the years – you are all inspiring people to get involved in European working.
I would also like to say a big thank you to everyone at Ecorys for making my time here and work so enjoyable – I will miss you all.
So, before it starts to sound like an awards ceremony, I will say a final goodbye and wish you all the very best for the future.
Please remember to keep in touch with the communications team Faye, Emma and Sara - we really love hearing from you.
Throughout the years, the Transversal Study Visits programme has offered participants the opportunity to gain expertise, share best practice and increase their professional networks in another European country. Alternatively, it has allowed organisations to apply for funding to host a Study Visit in their home country.
The programme is open to participants who are a national of, or employed in, one of the countries participating in the Lifelong Learning Programme (27 EU Member States + the EFTA countries and candidate countries).
From busy cities such as Rome and Barcelona to more remote places such as Ordu on the Turkish coast and Leirvik an island municipality in Norway; our UK participants have been exploring different skills and practices in a range of different countries. Whereas some UK participants find it pretty straight forward to plan their direct flights to their Study Visit destination, one learner, Chris Williams chose to travel further afield…
The Lifelong Learning Programme (LLP) funds many projects that involve innovative ways of language learning, but not all of our beneficiaries are aware that their project and hard work could be recognised through the European Language Label. I hope that my blog post will spread the word further about this European-wide initiative.
Language skills are important for people’s mobility, economic growth and careers. The European Union has 23 official languages, more than 60 minority and regional languages, and many more languages that are spoken by migrant communities across Europe. Languages are part of our identity; who we are and how we behave. Learning other languages allows us to communicate effectively with our European partners as well as aiding our understanding of other customs and cultures.
- 98% of Europeans think that mastering foreign languages is useful for their children’s future
- 72% agree with the EU objective that everybody should learn at least 2 foreign languages
- 67% see English as one of the most useful languages. German, French, Spanish and Chinese are also highlighted for their usefulness.
(Source: Eurobarometer survey)
Language barriers can be a major challenge when working with European partners, getting work experience or studying abroad. I am sure many of you could think of numerous examples of how frustrating it can be when we cannot fully express ourselves in a foreign language or when certain things are misinterpreted or misunderstood due to a lack of language skills or cultural awareness. However at the same time, I hope you agree that despite all the challenges faced, it is very rewarding when it all comes together and all the obstacles along the way can be seen as a small part of the journey of a successful transnational project. Read the rest of this entry »
One of the things that most interests me when I talk to participants is their individual list of ‘do’s and don’ts’ that they have for running a successful project. Usually built on experience, often these ‘top tips’ are relevant in all kinds of projects.
Recently, I attended a Leonardo Transfer of Innovation (TOI) Start Up Seminar, where I got talking to Ros Boyce from Belfast Metropolitan College who has recently taken over the reins as Project Manager of The BAREFOOT Trainer project, which is providing short, practical blended courses, useful for Vocational Education and Training (VET) teaching and training across diverse sectors.