Templemore College in Co. Tipperary is a further education college that delivers a range of full time and part time educational services including Youthreach and Back to Education Initiatives. Kathleen Grimes, director of Adult Education at the College, explains how their involvement in European programmes has recently expanded to include a mobility project for their Adult Education staff. Kathleen is pictured above with her colleagues Bridget Lahart and Mary Davey, and principal Noel Colleran.
“Our objective at Templemore College is for each student to learn new skills and become more competent in the area they are studying. More importantly for us is that they learn about themselves and realise their capacity to learn new ways and new ideas so that learning, while challenging, becomes natural for them.
The college has been actively involved in a number of European projects. Since 2009 we’ve participated in seven VET mobility projects under Erasmus+ Key Action 1 (and its predecessor programmes), with the number of trainees taking part in work placement abroad each year rising from 3 to 35! Due to the success of these projects and the benefits reaped by our trainees, we wished to include our staff in the adult education sector of our organisation in an Erasmus+ staff mobility project.
Our staff were open to sharing and observing new techniques and methodologies that could enhance the learning experience, and to receiving training to help them provide meaningful life skills as well as formal qualifications to second chance education participants. We discussed the needs of our learners and organisation, and then identified relevant training areas. For example, one staff member was interested in becoming familiar with current internet trends and open/distance learning. This participant teaches ICT and Communications, so their own skills ensured that their learning would be efficiently communicated to other staff members.
We applied under Erasmus+ Adult Education KA1 in February 2015 and were successful. From June 2015 to May 2016, my colleagues Bridget Lahart, Mary Davy, and I travelled to short training courses in Spain and Austria. We found it to be a wonderful experience both professionally and personally. I still keep in contact with my fellow classmates from such countries as Hungary and Italy, and hope in the future to develop projects that will link our schools more closely. Mary commented that she "met many people from different European countries and learned a lot about the differences in educational systems in these countries.” Bridget has found that “from my experience in Spain I am now making more use of educational websites to share information and class notes with my students and fellow teachers.”
Images courtesy of Kathleen Grimes. We welcome contributions to 'Insights' at firstname.lastname@example.org.