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