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VET Connected Get Connected: A Contact Seminar to Meet Partners and Plan Projects!
Léargas Vocational Education and Training Mobility officer Elva Duggan explains how international contacts and international projects were formed at a recent Contact Seminar held in Dublin, 'VET Connected Get Connected'.
“Feeling inspired by the opportunities!” Those were the words of one of the Irish participants at the 'VET Connected GET Connected' contact seminar that Léargas hosted in Dublin in April 2018.
We were delighted to have hosted over 40 participants from 15 countries at the three day long contact seminar in the Grand Hotel in Malahide. The seminar was aimed mainly at newcomers to Erasmus+ VET learner and staff mobility projects, but there were also some experienced project coordinators who shared their wisdom and knowledge, and made some more connections along the way. Contacts were made, friendships formed and the seeds of future projects have been planted.
Getting Connected: Day One
The seminar was a way for participants to become more familiar with VET mobility opportunities; to hear from their peers about current and past mobility projects; to connect with potential partners from other European countries; and to generate and share ideas for future KA1 mobility projects. We focused specifically on the first steps to becoming involved in Erasmus+, and ultimately on partner-finding!
The event started with participants getting to know each other. After our own VET Connected GET Connected version of Connect 4, we had a poster session where everyone gave a brief outline of themselves, their organisation and what they wanted to get out of the event. As people had started getting to know who else was in the room, it was really on the second day that the work started in earnest!
Connecting with VET: Day Two
We wanted participants to develop a common understanding of the key concepts of Erasmus+ VET mobility, and a glossary of common Erasmus+ and mobility terms really set the scene for this. We brought participants through all the things they would need to consider before, during and after a mobility period, and used this four-step process:
- Doing (individual task or activity);
- Listening (learning from others);
- Learning and developing (group activity and discussions);
- Sharing (harvesting the results).
Hearing from current project Erasmus+ coordinators who shared their knowledge, experience and lessons learned helped participants understand the ‘before’ stage. Michael Murphy from Westport College of Further Education shared his experience, as well as the importance of preparation, preparation and more preparation!
The ‘during’ aspect was next. Participants split into tables and designed a three-week programme for VET learner mobility. Each table had a slightly different theme and completed a schedule where they considered key elements of the programme like learner induction; learning delivery; learning reflection; assessment; documentation. They then listened to current project holder Miriam Dunne from Inchicore College of Further Education. She shared her years of experience in delivering VET learner and staff mobility projects across a range of disciplines. Combining their initial thoughts and Miriam’s experience, each table of participants agreed on three to five important elements for somebody new to VET mobility.
Last but not least, participants addressed the ‘after’ stage, of individual and institutional impact. Working in tables, participants listed all the different ways that there are to show the impact of mobility. Participants considered HOW the evidence would be gathered and presented (i.e. tools, documents, platforms). Virginia Young of C.L. Adult Education and Training Ltd shared how her organisation set and achieved targets for personal, intercultural, linguistic and technical learning as part of home qualification. Participants then considered whether the tools are better for documenting soft skills or technical/occupational skills, and whether the use of these tools would be sufficient for formal learning recognition (as part of an award or qualification).
Getting to Know Each Other
After the day’s hard work sustenance was required. We went to Old Street restaurant in Malahide, where a sumptuous dinner was had followed by a music session from two very talented traditional musicians. The final day arrived, and the previous night’s sociable dinner and musical session definitely helped develop further partnerships. Participants consolidated learning, met with potential partners one last time and fleshed out project ideas.
Participants were inspired, enthused and encouraged by the experiences over the three days, the people they met and the positive stories shared by experienced Erasmus+ organisations. In the words of one of the Portuguese colleagues “I’m really new to this but I’m going home highly motivated!”.
Léargas holds regular contact seminars like this in different sectors, so make sure and keep an eye on our upcoming Transnational Cooperation Activities page for future opportunities!
Images by Brian Desmond of Léargas. We welcome your contributions to 'Insights' at email@example.com.