The last project meeting and Final International Conference was held in Šiauliai on 18th-19th of November, 2015. These events summarized the overall work during 2 years implementation of the project “Developing and Providing the Achievement of the Key Competencies in Young Adults that Employers Require When Recruiting – Euro-folio“.
The project partners from Lithuania, Spain, Portugal, Greece, United Kingdom, Slovakia and Turkey are satisfied with the project outcomes and emphasized that despite all interferences and differences of opinion there a consensus was found and the outputs of the project were created – “Workbook for youth workers unveiling the potential of NEET´s”, Certificate of Proof of Competence, promotional videos, researches – in line with the objectives that were set for the project.
On 19th of November the Socialinių inovacijų centras organized the conference „Innovative ways of Including NEETs to Labour market“. In the conference the issues of unemployment of young people in Greece and Lithuania were analysed and the measures to help them find a job were discussed. Youth workers, young unemployed adults, representatives of business were participated in the conference. Representatives from Academy of Entrepreneurship (Greece), Agency of International Youth Cooperation, Labour Exchange, Career Specialist Association, employment company (Lithuania) offered ways how to gain work experience, what are the recruitment possibilities, highlighted the issues and reasons of unemployment and gave suggestions to improve the situation.
In the second part of the conference the project and its achievements were presented – the main project results “Workbook for youth workers unveiling the potential of NEET´S”, CoPAC, DVD. Participants practically tested some methods from the workbook in a groups. Participants positively evaluated the workbook and the Certificate.
On day November 16th, 2015 AKEP project worker Alessandro Carbone has presented a paper on Euro-folio project and animated a group work with discussion about the contents of its implementation. The presentation and workshop did take place in Aalborg (Denmark) within the frame of the first International conference organised by SOS Network.
The SOS Network is a newly born not for profit association, with head office in Aalborg, originated by the consortium which has implemented the SOS – Leonardo da Vinci network project: it was meant for students with special needs and for all those surrounding them providing knowledge, proven methods and access to experience from practitioners all over Europe. 14 partners from 12 different countries have united to discover what works on that level.
Alessandro Carbone of AKEP has submitted an abstract which has been accepted, thus being invited to attend the conference. About 30 listed participants have attended the symposium at the University College of North Denmark. In its presentation Carbone has briefly presented the structure of Euro-folio project and its development. However, given the deep interest of the audience on new tools for the employment of NEET population particular stress has been given to the Euro-folio Workbook, its contents and its functioning. During the 45 minutes workshop following the presentation in small groups, one of them coordinated by Carbone himself, the participants have pointed out strong points and weak points of the Eurofolio products, as they have been able to grasp them according to the delivered paper.
As of the strong points, attendees have referred to the effective flexibility of the Workbook tool which allows youth workers to use it according to their needs and to their young counterparts, thus not necessarily requiring to be followed from step one to its end. Another positive aspect expressed in the discussion was the richness of activities suggested in the workbook, this is considered a good asset of this tool. Finally, with regard to the CoPAC, the certificate of proof of acquired skills, it has been pointed out that entrepreneurs might trust this certification since it has been issued by a youth organisation known to them, thus entrusting the issuer of the certificate more than the official objective standard of this assessment. In other words, the proximity of the organisation issuing the certificate is guarantee for the correct assessment and improvement of skills on behalf of the young NEET.
As of the weak point, expressed by the group as threats rather than weaknesses, attendees mentioned the fact that is “once more a handbook” expressing the risk of another manual for practitioners. For further developments the participants have expressed the interest of other skills to be developed and treated in the workbook beyond the 5 which have been selected and worked out in the project main product.
After the long and challenging process of creating a workbook, the draft version is ready, translated into partners’ languages and prepared for the testing.
The testing of workbook is organized in 7 countries. The youth workers, young people and employers is asked to read the workbook, try methods of skills evaluation, development validation. We are waiting for critical remarks and positive comments in order to improve the quality of the workbook. Our goal is to make it useful for youth workers, NEETs and employers.
The third transnational meeting was held on 9-10 March, 2015 in Athens Greece, at the foot of Acropolis.
The project partners met together to solve main issues of the project implementation:
- Preparation of workbook and CoPACK,
- DVD development,
- Organization of testing,
- Internal Evaluation,
- Financial and activities management,
- Future works.
In the active discussions and brainstorming partners agreed on the further development of the workbook, Portuguese partners raised the idea to use the Learning Badges program in the skills evaluation process. This idea was accepted by all partners. The process of testing the material and creation of the Certificate (CoPACK) was discussed too and agreed the main points of its implementation.
All planned issues were discussed at essay writing services the meeting and follow-up guidelines were accepted by consortium. The meeting demonstrated that project slowly but ensured moving forward.
After the hard working day partners had a possibility to get in touch with a Greek history, culture and gastronomy.
The Euro-folio project is moving on and the Focus group research is finished. What are the results?
70 youth workers and 71 young person answered how they demonstrate the skills and aptitudes which employers were looking for in their countries. Those skills and aptitudes are responsibility, flexibility, initiative, communication and task completion.
Most countries highlighted that they could identify young people using their own initiative through suggestions arising from conversations or debates. But gave and very practical examples: organising a sporting or cultural activity, participating in school or organisation councils, developing a social enterprise idea, etc.
Most countries identified responsibility by a young person turning up regularly to complete a course, or training, or volunteering – and by being on time, with appropriate equipment, or having done preliminary research or work.
Most countries reported that they can identify the flexibility of young NEETs by how they adapt their tasks to overcome barriers or difficulties not perceived at the outset, or by how these young people adapt to new situations – for example by work experience or volunteering to support vulnerable people for the first time.
Evidence of confident communication can be found in many of the activities outlined above – especially those that rely on someone taking the lead in a team activity. Additionally, taking on a new volunteering role, or identifying a new activity and putting this forward also depend on an ability to communicate well.
The above activities can be certified as evidence that a young person is competent at completing a task. The more effective ones should demonstrate some evidence of responsibility – rather than simply turning up every session to an activity. The examples: making and completing a film, writing regular update reports on work experience, completing a garment through sewing, etc.
All partner countries have demonstrated practical and SMART examples of how the young NEET or partner youth organisations work with can achieve the skills that employers are looking for. Not all of these activities are currently accredited in a form employers will understand – so the need for the CoPAC is evident.