As a fresher in 2009 studying a BA in Fine Art the prospect of going to University was not just a rewarding opportunity, but a safety net as the economy gave way to recession. With each year there were growing concerns for those leaving education and their future job prospects. Five years on and with the experiences gained during my time at university I’m five months into my role at Ecorys and the future for similar young job hunters looks a lot brighter.
So how does our economy recover and create jobs?
In 2010 the European Commission launched the EU2020, a ten year growth plan to create conditions for a more competitive economy with higher employment. This growth strategy has five key targets that are to be achieved by the end of the decade including both Employment and Education.
To further support this process the European Commission set out a number of recommendations to the UK to continue its recovery and work towards the EU2020 goal. With youth unemployment figures over double the overall unemployment rate the growing concern is creating and sustaining a continuous growth of jobs. Catch 22 though, in particular for graduates and young adults in the UK, is the concern that:
40% of employees are under or over qualified and lack the sufficient skills,
with 37.2% of low-skilled 15-24 year olds unemployed
One solution to this is closing the skills gap by placing more emphasis on opportunities through apprenticeships and internships. A success story for this is Tim Hall, who we featured back in August when he appeared as one of three young job-seekers interviewed on BBC1’s Look North. Tim had been invited to interview for Change Agents UK’s Leonardo Mobility Programme placement as an Audio-Visual Researcher. Were pleased to say he was successful and since followed his development and the opportunity gained from his placement.
“Looking through a wide range of jobs I came across an internship opportunity that gave me the chance to combine environmental conservation and film/TV business together. Working with Think Young lobbying for young people to be heard in European affairs, I’m specifically looking at Environmental issues and concerns and solutions people have.” Mobility participant Tim Hall
Some of you may have seen that recently Ecorys and the British Council launched a new joint interim website on Erasmus+, the new EU programme for education, training, youth and sport.
The site provides an overview of the new funding opportunities available from January 2014 and will serve as a hub for the latest news and information on Erasmus+ as details of the programme are finalised. It also contains a range of downloadable resources on the new programme, including our Erasmus+ factsheet, Key Actions factsheet and FAQs, which are also available in Welsh on our Welsh language page.
What are the latest developments on the new programme?
This morning representatives of the European Parliament’s Culture and Education Committee voted to endorse the informal deal made on the Erasmus+ programme with the European Council in trilogue discussions.
This means that the revised legislative base agreed between the European Parliament, the Council of Europe and the European Commission will go forward to the Parliament’s Plenary for formal ratification.
This is scheduled to take place on 19 November. The vote of the European Parliament itself is the last stage in the approval process before the Erasmus+ programme can enter into force. During the session, Doris Pack said the informal deal was a “good compromise”. This was reflected in the vote which saw all but one Committee member vote in favour of the proposal; there was one abstention.
Keep coming back to www.erasmusplus.org.uk for all the latest news and information on Erasmus+
As we move into November, a number of significant dates in the European level process to approve the new EU programme for education, training, youth and sport are scheduled to take place.
Starting on 5 November, members of the European Parliament’s (MEPs) CULT Committee in Brussels will vote on the approval of Erasmus+.
This will be followed by a vote of MEPs on Erasmus+ during the Plenary sitting in Strasbourg on 19 November. If MEPs vote to adopt the programme, this will indicate the final stages of the European Union’s legislative process for Erasmus+ to enter into force in January 2014.
The European Union’s Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) for 2014 – 2020 is also scheduled to be debated on 18 November in the first of the three day Plenary sitting. The MFF, which will establish the EU’s budget for the next seven years, is still to be confirmed and this includes the overall budget for the Erasmus+ programme.
“Ahlan wa sahlan”
At this year’s European Language Label Awards a celebrated Lifelong Learning Programme project aimed at de-mystifying the Arabic language showed how this widely spoken language could be accessible to all.
Language learning and translation are now yet another common use for smartphones and tablets. The Arabic Online project has taken this one step further – and developed a unique online course with 15 units covering situations ranging from meeting and greeting to ordering a meal. Complete with voice-recording and role plays, it allows learners to fully immerse themselves in a range of Middle Eastern scenarios.
مبروك (Congratulations) European Language Label Award winner!
The European Language Label is an award funded by the European Commission, through the Department for Education in the UK, that encourages new initiatives in the field of teaching and learning languages. This year’s ceremony was held in Westminster and ArabicOnline.eu won a coveted award presented to the most innovative language learning projects in each country participating in the scheme. Our LLP director Chris Walker attended the awards ceremony:
“Winning this award is an excellent achievement for the ArabicOnline.eu project. The website is a very thorough resource which really does work to de-mystify Arabic, and one which I have used myself.” – Director Chris Walker
As a newcomer to Ecorys, I was excited to be involved with my first event: the Transfer of Innovation Start-Up Seminar for 2013 projects at Austin Court. Based just minutes from the Brindley Place canal district and within walking distance to Birmingham’s newest attraction – Europe’s largest library – delegates were able to experience the city before a day devoted to providing information on what they can expect over the next two years…
The event itself had an interesting mix of new and experienced project managers, all hoping to learn something from the specialised presentations and panel discussions.
Upon arrival, guests were presented with a delegate pack which included a range of informative publications, designed to help manage a TOI project. The seminar represented the last LLP event in its current form before the transition to Erasmus+ from January 2014.
As a National Agency we’ve learnt a lot running the ECVET Experts project. Since January 2012, over 70 organisations have met with Experts across the UK for free to learn more about the European Credit system for Vocational Education and Training (ECVET). They have been able to discuss how ECVET principles can be implemented to recognise learners’ achievements.
If you’re starting out on your Leonardo Mobility journey, thinking about how you can keep up-to-date with current practices, or wanting to improve your established systems our top tips on implementing ECVET could be useful to you.
Top Tip 1: Plan, plan, plan!
It’s really useful to identify learning outcomes that you expect to be achieved during placement. If your learners are working towards a qualification have a look to see if there’s any specific units learners can undertake, or work towards.
Keeping good communication open with your learners and partners is another top tip. You might already have a Partner Agreement in place but have you thought about stepping it up to a Memoranda of Understanding? This is an agreement between you and your partner about procedures, methods of assessments and can cover more than one mobility period. Training Agreements can also be exchanged for, or made more in line with, a Learning Agreement between the learner, partner and your organisation setting out what will happen, the expectations of the learner and what they should expect in terms of assessment and recognition and validation. Have a look at our ECVET-Mobility glossary for more on the differences between ECVET and Leonardo Mobility documents.