Ahead of Adult Learners’ Week 2013 which begins on Saturday, Grundtvig senior project manager, Ieva Mais, visited the NIACE Learning for a Better World Conference in Cardiff.
Learning for a better world
I attended the Learning for a Better World conference organised by NIACE in Cardiff on 28-29 April. It brought together practitioners, policy makers, researchers and adult learners from several European countries to discuss the UK’s contribution to the Agenda in three main areas:
- Linking adult learning to wider social and economic policy
- Raising awareness of the value of adult learning
- Increasing participation of low skilled adults in learning and the wider society
One of the big questions asked by David Hughes, the Chief Executive of NIACE, was:
how do we motivate people to participate in learning and convince them that it’s a positive thing?
Adult learning practitioners, researchers and adult learners do not need to be persuaded that learning in later life positively contributes to our wellbeing, social integration and employability. Nevertheless, how do we inspire adults to take up learning if, for example, they didn’t have good experiences in their initial education?
Learning and the wider society
We don’t need to look too far for inspiring examples of how formal or informal learning can positively change people’s lives. For example, a heartwarming Silver Lining project video played by Shaun Hegarty form the Sage Gateshead showed elderly in a residential care home reminiscing, dancing and singing accompanied by ukulele instruments played by project volunteers, care staff and family members.
The project, run by the Sage Gateshead in partnership with NIACE and the Adult and Community Learning Fund, brought together professional musicians, volunteers and care staff to support people with dementia to access forgotten memories through songs. According to Shaun, a split second when a personality of someone with dementia suddenly comes back to how they were before is priceless.
The value of adult learning
An overarching discussion throughout the conference was opportunities to learn should be available to everyone and that adult educators need to make a better case for investment in the sector.
Ricarda Motshilnig, Policy Officer from the European Association for the Education of Adults, EAEA, presented the EU-funded project entitled Wider Benefits of Lifelong Leaning (BeLL) that will be looking at relationship between learning and concrete benefits it brings for the wellbeing of the participants and the societies they live in. Ricarda called the conference participants for more research-based evidence to support the EAEA in their role of policy advocacy for lifelong learning at the European level.
What do you think?
We really do like to hear about your projects, so get in touch if you would like to share your experiences of adult learning through Grundtvig , or any other project activity by tweeting us @llpukecorys.
Two very different projects working with young people got in touch with us recently to share their successes in boosting their participants’ skills and confidence. We thought we would share their achievements in youth volunteering and apprenticeship standards. Read the rest of this entry »
The Lifelong Learning Programme is drawing to a close; over the last 7 years it has funded countless organisations and individuals. Throughout the year, we are still funding opportunities through Grundtvig and Transversal: In-Service Training, Visits & Exchanges and Study Visits.
Breaking the ice
These three opportunities have their similarities: they all fund individuals to develop skills and exchange expertise with their peers. If you have recently been successful with your application, or are due to go on your Mobility shortly, there are things that you can do to ensure you are prepared and make the most out of your experience. For example, Alison Walton-Robson of Headway Arts, before attending her In-Service Training course in Italy, not only read the required reading provided by the host organisation but also:
On my own initiative I looked at travel guides of the Bologna region. I also used iPad apps and other online language preparation/research such as ‘Easy Italian’, I wanted to be able to speak basic sentences.
Our opportunities are not only about enhancing your CV they are also the chance to add a European element to your training. Basic cultural preparation can make the difference in those first few minutes of meeting your host and fellow participants. At our Transversal Briefing Seminars one of our top tips is to find out about the group: Read the rest of this entry »
Arthur Mills age 83, undertook a Grundtvig Visits & Exchanges activity in Spain, where he met other adult learners from a variety of countries, all eager to participate in the “E-skills to change the lives of 50+” activity.
Arthur has always been interested in technology, and the new knowledge gained from the visit to Spain has further enhanced his interest and enthusiasm. Arthur had never used a keyboard until he was 76 but his life has been transformed by technology over the last 7 years.
Every year we fund UK organisations to send vocational trainees to undertake work placements in another European country. Thanks to Leonardo Mobility funding, thousands of participants have benefitted from a period abroad. This experience is often life-changing for participants as it can boost their confidence, independence and open their eyes to new opportunities. But what about participants’ professional skills, how can these be recognised?
The European Credit system for Vocational Education and Training (ECVET) is a set of principles that can be used in any overseas work or volunteering placement. It aims to help recognise the skills that a participant has gained so that they can count towards a qualification in their home country. You may have read our ‘Using ECVET in Leonardo Mobility‘ post that explained how you can implement ECVET principles.
With Spring in the air, our latest edition of edUKation explores some of the many green projects supported by the Grundtvig programme over the last seven years.
Dr Nick Owen MBE, Director of the Aspire Trust, who runs the Forests for All, All for Forests project, gives us an insight into how the project connects adult learners from seven partner countries in the teaching of the environment, culture and volunteering, all with a focus on the local forests. Nick explains:
European forests have become for us and the wider partnership, a source of questions, surprises, and many powerful learning moments. Veteran forests, exterminating agents and the effect of coppicing have been a phenomena we have learnt about which act as a constant reminder of the power that forests have over our minds, bodies and psyches.
From the project’s recent partner meeting in Vilnius in Lithuania, the participants were inspired to produce a range of artistic products reflecting their visit including the following poem:
Artist Knowledge: Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Knowledge of the first kind is the stats,
the dates, the measurements.
The what, the when, the where.
Knowledge of the second kind
is the interpretations,
the rational analysis of observable events.
The scientific, analytic, predictive.
The regulatory, the politic.
The how, the whether.
Artists knowledge is knowledge of the third kind.
Sensory and sensitive,
Intuitive and imaginative,
Magical and miraculous.
Generating meaning and stories
which bestow ownership of knowledge of the first kind
and give purpose to the knowledge of the second kind.
The what-if? The why? The If-not, then why-not?
In this second part of our blog on supporting Apprenticeships, we look at how we engage with activities taking place in National Apprenticeship Week. As well as tweeting about our project news linked to the themes of week, our colleague Michele attended a key event in London:
I was lucky enough to be invited to the fourth International Conference hosted by the National Apprenticeship Service, which is one of the many events held to celebrate this year’s National Apprenticeship Week. And celebrate really is the right word for it! From the opening remarks, the conference instilled a great sense of pride amongst delegates for working with apprentices, and supporting people to reach their full potential.
Our recent blog on International Women’s Day, inspired Sally Arkley, Director of the Women’s Development Agency, to get in touch with news of her project. Here, she shares her thoughts on the importance of supporting female entrepreneurs:
We do really enjoy hearing from our projects, particularly when it’s good news! We have recently been sent updates by two colleges whose Leonardo achievements have been recognised with external commendations. We thought you might like to hear about them too…