Tag Archives: Europe

Farewell MobAd!

MobAd Project, Final Meeting _Cyprus 2014

MobAd Project, Final Meeting _Cyprus 2014

Cyprus in July and a heatwave greets us. As we arrive in Nicosia – or Lefcosia as the locals know it –the temperature is already 40° C, and set to rise over the next few days to 45.8°, and that is hot!

Along with our partners from Bulgaria, Cyprus, Germany, Lithuania, Poland and Romania, we have gathered for the very last meeting of the Grundtvig project ‘Mobility Advising: a way to stimulate motivation for mobility among adult learners’.

After two years of working together on the MobAd project, it is clear that there are a number of ways in which this work can be sustained and further developed.

There is a strong feeling among the partners that mobility is a very important topic and one that could be pursued over a number of EU projects.
The main aim of this current project was to increase the number of learning mobilities undertaken between EU states, first and foremost by providing well trained staff in educational organisations acting as ‘mobility advisors’ to young and adult learners. This is a role without a specific standardised or recognised qualification, and with varying descriptions of what responsibilities it carries. By taking part in international mobility programmes delivered by these specially trained Mobility Advisors, more learners would improve their key competences and skills and thus increase their own employability, and consequently gain improved access to the labour market.

So, while sustainability can be achieved for the MobAd project in the usual way, by exploiting as many ways of disseminating our work as possible, for us that is a given. In addition, we want to take forward our work more formally, by applying for two further projects under the new Erasmus+ Programme.
One of these will be to continue the development of an accredited online course for Mobility Advisors, and the second will be to turn our attention to work we did at the start of the MobAd project in our Survey on the Barriers to Mobility. Our intention is to take this strand of the mobility process and working with young people themselves, investigate in detail how they can be better engaged, informed and motivated to participate in European mobility programmes, not only gaining vital knowledge and skills, but progress in their journey towards employability, specific job readiness, and more generally for opportunity readiness. And of course this would include the introduction of the Rickter Scale Process!

It quickly became evident that there is great variation between the participating countries in how mobilities for young people are perceived outside each country’s borders, the information that is available, the preparation for the mobility itself, the way in which the mobilities are organised and evaluated, and who in fact are the experts in this field. Particularly after completing this project, there is clearly a lot more work to be done.
It is also highly significant that the ‘Special Eurobarometer 417’, coordinated by the European Commission and only published in June 2014, records statistics about poor levels of information about mobility and even poorer figures for actual engagement. This is particularly true of the UK, where European mobilities for young people are hardly promoted at all. Even the word ‘mobilities’ is very rarely heard or understood in the UK!
It is situations like this that continue motivate the MobAd team and in particular the Rickter Company to ensure both the sustainability of the project, and its effective development in the future.

Keith Stead, CEO – The Rickter Company Ltd

Project update: Grundtvig Learning Partnership (MobAd). Creating the MobAd Manual.

On 12 January, we welcomed our European partners from Bulgaria, Cyprus, Germany, Lithuania, and Poland to a meeting of the Grundtvig Learning Partnership Project (MobAd), held in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Unfortunately on this occasion our colleagues from Romania were unable to join us.

The partnership is an EU-funded Grundtvig Project called ‘Mobility Advising: – a way to stimulate motivation for Mobility among adult learners’. This was our fifth such meeting, with two further meetings scheduled for March in Romania and June in Cyprus.

Our meetings this time revolved around the development of the course Manual for a new skill-set to be offered to those already helping individuals make career choices or simply wanting to look at their options for further work experience or training. When people do this outside their own countries, the practice is known in Euro-speak as a ‘mobility’. We want to encourage Careers Advisors to become more informed about such opportunities by taking a specific course in Mobility Advising. Results from a survey which we carried out demonstrate the greatest need for such knowledge and skills is required right here in the UK, where the word ‘mobility’ is usually preceded by ‘shop’ or followed by ‘scooter’.

The MobAd Manual will in fact be the core product of the learning partnership. There will be four sections: “Information – Motivation – Organisation – Assessment and Evaluation” – with each chapter giving answers to frequently asked questions, such as:

  • How do I become a Mobility Adviser?
  • How do I successfully motivate people to help overcome any barriers they might have?
  • How do I evaluate the mobility process, and
  • How do I monitor the progress of the individual’s mobility?

We also spent time together taking a guided tour of historic Newcastle and enjoying a tasty social dinner in a city centre restaurant. Looking forward to meeting again in Iasi, Romania.

TOI ‘Scaling New Heights’ Conference | September 4th, 2013

SNH 03 NW

The conference was hosted by Northumbria University in the Great Hall of the Sutherland Building. In excess of 50 people attended from a variety of public, private and third sector organisations. The conference was moderated by Professor Andrea Fleschenberg PhD, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad, Pakistan who did a wonderful job of keeping everyone on task and on time.

The Deputy Lord Mayor of Newcastle, Councillor George Pattison welcomed everyone and shared his thoughts on how important this type of European work is for people who are struggling due to long term unemployment, and identifying some areas within his own constituency as a local councillor where the use of the Rickter Process would be particularly useful. 

SNH 05 - Prof Andrea Fleschenberg_ Sherrif & Deputy Lord Mayor George Pattison

Nan Wood, Director of Operations, The Rickter Company spoke about the background of the Rickter Scale® which is the innovation being transferred in this project. She explained the process of using the board, giving examples of good practice in the UK and described the transition the partner organisations had made from working together on a previous Leonardo Project to this Transfer of Innovation, ‘Scaling New Heights’.

SNH 08 session

Keith Stead, CEO, The Rickter Company then presented the outcomes of the project highlighting all of the hard work and dedication of the Partners. The main areas presented looked at the distance travelled towards goals for each country and the challenges that each client group faced. It was interesting to note that the barriers to employment faced by clients in Germany, Greece and Italy were no different to those in the United Kingdom.

SNH 15 - Aristea Liarokapi, Antonia Torrens, Marina Zotaki, Eleni Koulosousa

The afternoon sessions started with a video of the May 2012 earthquake in the Carpi region of Italy, which hugely affected the people who were taking part in the project, both as practitioners and as clients. It was noted that where the Richter Scale measured the impact on the ground that day, the Rickter Scale® measured the impact it had on the people.

SNH 02 - Serena DAngelo, Licia Boccaletti

SNH020 session

We then moved on to participate in an ‘Information Carousel’ where each country had their own stand in the room and the audience, who had been divided into four groups, visited each one for 15 minutes and then moved on – speed dating with a difference! It offered the audience an opportunity to hear first hand from each partner country their experiences and outcomes of using the Rickter Scale®. This was very well received and was one of the highlights of the conference.

SNH021 session

 

SNH023 sessionProfessor Andrea Fleschenberg then hosted a Talk Show to share good practice where set questions were asked of the guests: Jon Clapham, Dept of Work and Pensions; Mick Carey, Careers Europe and Kushwanth Koya, Northumbria University.

SNH024 session

This was followed by the Keynote Speaker, Dr Deirdre Hughes OBE who talked about the importance of measuring soft indicators and shared some of the report she has recently presented to Government Ministers through the National Careers Council entitled, “An Aspirational Nation” and its objective as Dr Hughes described it of “a career for life”.

SNH026 Dr Deirdre Hughes_NW_RH

The conference came to a close with representatives from each country sharing their personal experiences of the project.

SNH 04 - Alfons Müller Rita Neidhardt

Everyone felt that the partnership had worked particularly well and Alfons Muller, ZIB, Germany who is the Project Coordinator, expressed his gratitude for the dedication of all the partners and remarked on how much everyone has gained professionally, personally and culturally from this Transfer of Innovation.

SNH 14 - Keith  Licia Boccaletti - Alfons Müller  Aristea Liarokap

Some examples of feedback we have received since the Conference:

“I enjoyed hearing about the Scaling New Heights project and that we are all encountering similar issues, whether we are in the UK or elsewhere”.

“Just wanted to thank you for the opportunity to hear what you and the team have been up to here and across Europe. It was a fascinating conference day… loads of information and simply inspirational (as things with the Rickter Scale® tend to be)”.

First of all just to say I thought the day went exceptionally well last week – especially the carousel – feedback was clear, well presented and very positive, big well done!”

Invitation to participate in our MobAd Questionnaire

Learning

The Rickter Company is currently part of a Grundvig Partnership to look at the barriers to people using Mobilities to travel to other European Countries to access learning.

We are currently undertaking a survey and would like to invite you to take part by using this link: http://miroslava.licee.edu.ro/MobAd/ModAd.html

Any participation is anonymous and we would welcome your views and input. Thank you for your participation.

Rickter forms Bulgarian Partnership

The Rickter Company has just successfully completed an application with a Bulgarian Organisation named the Development of Personality and Human Communities. Its aim is to conduct activities in the encouragement and development of equality of different social groups: including unemployed, socially-isolated and marginal communities and their integration in the civil society, political and economical life.Bulgaria

The organisation helps with improving social, health and demographic status of the population, development of the labor market, increasing professionalism and the social realization of specific target groups.

The association works for sustainable development at local and regional level and has well-established partnerships within local government, police, institutions, business and media. It develops wide research, information, educational and consultancy activities.

Rickter has previously worked with Penka Spasova who is chairwoman from one NGO – Regional Enterprise Support Centre in Pleven – through our Leonardo Project and formed very positive working relationships with Penka and her colleagues. We were asked to come up with an idea to integrate Rickter into one of the areas they currently work in. Our project, which is just about to start, is about sustained employment and using the Rickter Scale® to measure impact and engage with the Beneficiary, Employer and Employment Service, thus demonstrating full inclusion of the Individual, Employers and Service Providers.

The Rickter IMS will be used to record outcomes and provide evidence reports. The Bulgarian Group are coming to Newcastle in August to start this exciting project and I will be going to Bulgaria in September to deliver training. I will keep you updated of our progress.

Adapting the Rickter Scale Process for marginalized groups moving towards employability

It’s great to report that our Transfer of Innovation Project with 3 European partners is now well and truly underway:

THE PROJECT: Scaling New Heights in VET – Adapting the Rickter Scale® Process to improve and monitor the journey of marginalized groups towards employability.

‘Scaling New Heights’ is a project funded by the European Commission, under the LLP-LDV Transfer of Innovation Programme.

612The central idea of the project is to adapt our Rickter Scale® Process and Impact Management System to the needs of different disadvantaged target beneficiary groups in the 4 participating countries: UK, Germany, Italy and Greece. The adaptation will also ensure that the Process will be both linguistically accurate and culture-specific for the participating organisations and their clients.

The assessment process will help the target beneficiary groups become aware of, and then build on pre-existing skills and attributes that they have previously not been in a position to evidence or validate, and of the distance they have travelled in acquiring their present skill level. This empowerment process can be an enormous confidence boost to them, enhancing both self-esteem and self-worth. It also serves them in accessing the labour market.

The target group for ZIB in Germany is women returners, many of whom are immigrants from Eastern Europe, working towards Vocational Qualifications.

In Greece our partner KMOP is a large NGO, who wants to use Rickter with people who have long-term mental health issues who live in supported accommodation which the organisation also runs.

In Italy, ANS are working with carers of the elderly who currently do not have the required qualifications to be officially recognized in the labour market.

Through the implementation of the Rickter Scale® Process, partner organisations will be able to adapt and improve their existing vocational methods and systems to the increased demands of the job market and ever more complex and diverse needs of their target groups.

During the project Nan wood and Keith Stead will represent the UK as part of the TOI Steering Group, with meetings hosted by each partner in Cologne, Germany, in Athens, Greece and in Carpi, Italy.

Staff of the partner organisations have already been trained and licensed by us in Newcastle as Rickter Scale® Practitioners. Having been introduced to the basic principles and theoretical models behind the Rickter Scale® Process, they trialled the use of the tool between December 2011 and February 2012 using the generic ‘Lifeboard’ Frame of Reference, gaining experience of how to support each individual user in developing an action plan.

At our Follow-up Training back in Newcastle in February, first locally adapted Overlay for the Scale was developed that the partners will now implement in their organisations until this September, when we will again review their feedback, together with an aggregation, analysis and interpretation of all IMS data.

On this basis, the Rickter Scale® Process will be again adapted in line with the experiences and recommendations being fed back from both practitioners and beneficiaries, in turn reflecting the specific needs of the different target beneficiary groups. Final translations will then be made into the partner languages enabling the last phase of implementation to take place.

The final phase of the project will be to publish and disseminate the cumulative findings and outputs of the project, including the holding of an international conference in Newcastle and the release of a Final Evaluation and Project Report.

Final ASK Meeting, Poland

The final ASK Meeting was held in Rzeszow, Poland by our hosts DC Center which is a private company acting in the field of education and counselling.

ASK_Rzeszow_02aaThe main objective of DC Center is to promote learning throughout life, participate in human resource development in the region and also to operate at national and international level. DC Center conducts research on educational situations, designs training materials and provides consultancy services. Their activities are based on networks of public and private companies, NGOs and local government institutions. They have experience in conducting market research and educational work in multicultural environments.

The role they had in this meeting was to pull together all the partnership feedback and present it before it is added to our final report. The outcome from this feedback was that this experience had been beneficial for all those partners who contributed. The range shown was from improving practice and resources to building communication, language skills and friendships. A lot of people expressed that their knowledge of ESF Practices had been greatly developed and that this is something that they can build on for the future within applications for more innovative projects. The final report was discussed and everyone was asked for their input to allow the German Partners to complete it by the due date.

We went to see a little bit of Rzeszow and had a conducted tour through the underground cellars in the centre of the city. This underground network was used in the Second World War for mainly Jewish people, to hide and escape from the German invasion. We saw examples of everyday things that they had left from cooking pots to a carpentry workshop. There was also evidence of Rzeszow’s history depicted in coats of arms, along with armour and swords from other eras.

ASK_Rzeszow_08

The meeting was brought to a close by a final social dinner and then sadly it was time to say goodbye to everyone. We do intend to keep on building these relationships in future work and look forward to keeping in touch with our European Partners.

Bulgaria ASK Meeting

In October Keith and I flew out to Bulgaria for the forth meeting with our European Partners.  We arrived in Sofia and were then transported to Plevin by mini bus. This journey was through beautiful mountainous scenery and introduced us to some very different rules of the road! DBBZ were our hosts showing us around their worksite and the kind of apprenticeships they offer in computing, building etc. People come from surrounding areas and live within the premises while completing their courses, going away with a qualification to help them gain employment or set up their own business.

M4034S-4211

The ASK group have been working on a comparative study of non-formal and informal acquired skills in vocational training and as you can probably guess there is quite a wide understanding of skills development.  Keith presented the final outcomes from the survey we did.  All countries undertook to ask students/trainees/teachers and trainers to complete a questionnaire and we had 329 responses on which to base our findings.  Our next step is to look at validation, reflecting on the individual\’s journey of learning which will take into account both hard and soft outcomes.  We will be following this up in Italy in a few weeks time.

M4034S-4211 We returned to Sofia for our final day and were given a guided walking tour around the city visiting many areas of historical interest.