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Enhancing Inter-cultural Learning in European Enterprises
Start date: Sep 1, 2014, End date: Sep 30, 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

EU is making significant effort to eliminate the barriers to labour mobility, both by integrating the legislative basis and upgrading systems to allow more jobseekers to be aware of vacancies in other EU countries and to make it easier for employers to find people with the right qualifications and experience to fill their vacancies. However, most of the enterprises in European countries do not necessarily have the essential intercultural know-how for receiving employers with a different cultural background. At the same time, often the foreign employees are not ready to face the challenge of working in a different country, and encounter difficulties in identifying the new cultural paradigms, accepting the differences and acquiring cultural knowledge. EILEEN aims to achieve cutting edge results in the field of the acquisition of intercultural competencies, with a strong involvement and commitment of both national and foreign workforces in the enterprises. The ultimate objective of EILEEN is to explore the obstacles hampering the mobility among European countries and set up strategies and concrete solutions to overcome them, paying particular attention to the cultural barriers. EILEEN intends not to replicate the activities that already exist in this field, in terms of educational courses on intercultural competences, but to establish a well defined system to provide training courses for workers and job seekers on intercultural issues, ensuring the practise of the new competences, and the validation of the skills acquired. In this way, EILEEN project addresses some aspects considered as priorities by the EC, such as entrepreneurial education, and recognition/validation of competences acquired in informal settings. EILEEN project proposes a comprehensive approach which foresees the involvement of professionals working in European enterprises and young unemployed: both groups will be trained on how to cope with cultural diversity in the workplace. A European course will be organized for at least 18 multipliers in European enterprises who will subsequently apply their new competences and skills in terms of enhancing and validating intercultural competences in their enterprises in the pilot phase. Training courses for a significant number of young unemployed (72-90 participants) will be also organized at national level in the countries involved in the project. Through this learning opportunities young can gain intercultural competencies and have access to information about the main opportunities to work abroad or do internships, also through some specific funding schemes made available by the EC (such as the EYE Platform and others). The intercultural skills gained will be a common knowledge shared by both target groups that they will put into practice together during the piloting phase of the project, when the same enterprises involved in the training course will host a selected group of youth unemployed from abroad (trained on intercultural issues as well) for a period of traineeship. The group of young job seekers that will be selected to do an internship abroad during the piloting phase will have also the opportunities to be directly involved in a business project, putting into practice their new intercultural skills and, at the same time, acquiring new entrepreneurial competences. From the side of enterprises, during the internships, the employees will also have the opportunity to gain mentoring competences, by guiding the trainees in the working activities. Finally, the employers will keep in contact with potential future skilled employees. At the end of the traineeships, all the different competences acquired by both groups during the training and piloting stages (intercultural, entrepreneurial and mentoring competences) will be validated and documented through the innovative LEVEL5 methodology, developed by the network REVEAL with members from 22 European countries to promote, visualise and validate informal and non-formal learning. LEVEL5 will be interconnected via innovative ICT enhanced technologies with EQF and EUROPASS validation and certification systems. Finally, the EILEEN approach can become a comprehensive European concept to promote diversity and intercultural awareness in working places. To reach this ambitious objective, the project will provide a quality label called “Welcoming European Enterprise - WEE” that can be acquired by each European enterprise applying EILEEN procedure and quality criteria defined in the project. EILEEN project will also create tangible products to be used also after its life cycle. The “Welcoming Culture Toolbox” will be a stand-alone product, containing all the information to use the training and evaluating instruments, in a proper and user-friendly way. It will be made available to every European enterprise willing to increase and practice the intercultural competences of the employees. This kind of output will guarantee an effective project sustainability
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