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Creative and Enterprising Minds
Start date: Jun 1, 2015, End date: May 31, 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Creative and Enterprising Minds project seeks to: *take 40 trainers (4 flows of 10) from across the UK to Turkey on a 1 week Adult Education training course to Istanbul that will help adult educators to develop creative and enterprise focused adult education training activities in the UK, *Improve trainer skills and competences in working with disadvantaged communities in an appropriate manner, *Enhance the level of adult education provision across our organisation and network of partners, *Use valuable adult learning methodologies developed by our Turkish partner to engage and support hard to reach communities, *Examine and trial ( back in the UK) adult education provision around arts, crafts, self employment and social enterprise, *Use the learning captured to meet our own organisational needs (around new services, recognition of skills, staff training needs, learning and sharing ideas to common problems). The course will enable our trainers to examine and test Adult Education and Training Methodologies based around arts and crafts used by ISMEK to engage, support and train disadvantaged Muslim and other BME women, by helping them to develop skills in order to be able to access learning, training and then move into labour market opportunities. Our trainers work with women who have no recognisable skills, qualifications and have never worked, they lack language skills and have had difficulty integrating into UK life, education or work. These women have been prevented from working through traditions, cultural and religious beliefs. They may be living in poverty, excluded from mainstream society and in many cases unable to take control of their own lives. Our trainers work with these women to build confidence, self-esteem, skills and levels of health care. We are seeking to improve the lives of these women by giving them the skills and confidence to learn/work and in doing so address issues like benefit dependency, social inclusion, poverty as well as women’s rights. Recent pro education campaigns led by Malala Yousafzai in Pakistan/UK have energised UK BME women to seek an education and take control of their lives. Our trainers are working with these groups to empower and help educate them, given the landscape of national adult education training budget cuts. Through this project we seek to train our trainers with innovative adult education methodologies that can be applied in the UK or more broadly with other EU organisations seeking to meet the needs of this client group, who tend to be poorly qualified and facing higher levels of deprivation and disadvantage. The training course will provide an opportunity for our trainers to examine, test and explore the teaching methods used to engage, teach and up-skill women of all ages so they can become productive part of society. Our trainers would explore ISMEK adult education social enterprise, engagement, training systems, progression routes and dealing with complex cultural barriers to learning. This would enable our trainers to see how ISMEK promotes adult learning and skills and provides women with a living wage that can be used to help overcome traditional barriers faced by women. This social enterprise is a true innovation as it has generated skills development, confidence, empowerment as well as a turnover of over 2 million Turkish Lira for women participants. ISMEK does not keep the income the women generate. The women produce high-end luxury arts and craft goods. Our learning has shown that our teaching systems need to be improved in order to better support disadvantaged BME women through culturally sensitive training. The ISMEK training course provides a real opportunity to learn and and modernise our adult education provision. The results we are seeking from the project include: *Better trained staff and services *Modernisation of adult education and learning *Increased networking and learning between partners. *The transfer and implementation of best practice into learning and positive progression routes for learners (where mainstreamed options are not working) *Positive learning development for our learners that lead to attitudinal change across deprived BME communities These results will have a longer term value in making sure services are focused and relevant to client need. This issue of supporting BME women who have yet to integrate in to UK or other EU societies is of key importance as learning from our project will be used to support leaners from traditional backgrounds in a sensitive way that helps them to realise their potential.
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