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Business, Journalism and Tourism on the job Learning - 1
Start date: Jun 1, 2015, End date: May 31, 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

In this mobility project learners from Ballyfermot College of Further Education will undertake some weeks of work experience outside Ireland. The placement for most will be for 6 weeks and the learners will go to Iceland, Malta or Finland. There are 34 participants and they are studying at level 6 in three vocational areas, Business, Tourism and Journalism. The college has successfully completed projects of a similar nature in the past. The inspiration behind the project was to enhance the participants personal development and skills, by providing unique overseas learning experiences, to a cohort who would not normally encounter such an opportunity. In the area of Tourism the project seeks to embed Activity and Eco-Tourism into the curriculum at Ballyfermot College and give participants the experience of these concepts in their overseas work placements. For example, one such work placement in a company involved in whale-watching introduces students to global issues and the concept of global sustainable Tourism. The broader aim of the project in this area is to expand and deepen the participants concept of Tourism and prepare them for the global Tourism of the future. The students cohort are in their second year of study and studying at Level 6 on the National Framework of Qualification. The students are primarily from thegreater Ballyfermot area in Dublin and are from the lower to middle socio-economic groupings. The participants are mixed in gender and consist of a range of different nationalities. In many cases the participants would not have travelled a great deal outside of Ireland and the mobility project offers them an opportunity to experience different work practices and concepts in a different cultural environment. The period of work placement for the Tourism participants (20) is six weeks and the period of placement for the Business and Journalism participants (14) is for two week. Both these periods are chosen to meet the work placement requirements of the particular programmes the students are undertaking at the college. The project requires the student to maintain a journal of the placement, obtain an employer’s report and a tutor’s assessment of the placement. Other assignments may be integrated into the placement by tutors of different modules. These assessments will all serve towards the final assessment of the student and their awards grade. The main aim of the placements is to firstly, fulfil the programme requirement of the programme work placement module and secondly, to give the students the first hand experience of different countries' work practices. The placements should enhance the students confidence and help them to realise their place in International Business and Tourism. It should open up to them possibilities for future job mobility within the European Union. All of this experience helps to develop a confidence in the student which will empowers them to participate in the wider European Business and Tourism industries at a time in the future. This personal development of the participants, and the development of broader ambitions in the participants, will undoubtedly be one of the results and is one of the major aspirations of the overseas placements in terms of lasting effect. The method of organising the project will be to rely on and build upon existing contacts and partnerships which have been built up in previous projects. Host organisations in the first instance are sourced through the partner organisation in the country. Where necessary preparatory visits will be undertaken to source new partners/hosts. In all cases a college staff member will visit the local workplace. The project addresses the wider aim of European cultural exchange and understanding, and the building of European citizenship. It supports the students’ acquisition of knowledge in a new environment. It deepens the students’ knowledge of different Business and Tourism priorities and enhances the students’ ability to integrate into the European labour market and maintain flexibility for employment into the future. In the present economic environment in Ireland and the growing issue of youth unemployment within the EU in general this is an important ability. Ballyfermot College has organised some placements for our partner Colleges as part of the growing co-operation. It is hoped to build, with time, a formal reciprocal relationship between the partner colleges beyond the lifetime of the funded project. It is hoped to embed the overseas placements into the curriculum and this process has begun with our level 6 Tourism programme. The project will have a positive effect in Ballyfermot College and serve as a template and inspiration for other curriculum areas within the College. It will have an effect both at a curriculum institutional level and at a staff development level and it will produce a lasting effect not only in the participants and staff but also in the institution as a whole.  
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