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Improving Skills Through International Learning Exchanges
Start date: Jun 1, 2015, End date: May 31, 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Improving Skills Through International Learning Exchanges (ISTILE) is an exciting and innovative project to improve outcomes for young people facing difficulty and deprivation. It links into Europe 2020 Goals and Indicators to deliver improved results to learners through increased opportunity, knowledge and motivation, and to staff through increased capacity to help these learners. The project will build links, develop curriculum and curriculum support, and strengthen ties across international boundaries. West Lothian College draws students from areas and postcodes high on the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD). Many have no experience of other cultures and have never travelled overseas. There is a real need to broaden horizons, develop competencies and raise aspirations in order to help more young learners achieve and go on to lead successful lives. This project will improve outcomes for learners beyond their current course in terms of a positive destination. A positive destination represents progression to full time employment, training, apprenticeship or further study. Staff on mobility will build capacity to help such learners complete their course and attain a qualification, which will facilitate the next step in their life journey. At least 80% of young people on mobility will live in SIMD20 postcodes (the poorest 20%), and staff on mobility will observe, participate and share best practice for this target group, with colleagues at partner organisations and stakeholders in the wider overseas environment, to build skills which will improve outcomes for our learners when they return. The project will integrate with formal study through coursework, curriculum development, exchange of best practice, interactive study, work experience and ECVET accredited work undertaken on mobility. Those on mobility will gain benefits from partners and peers in France, Spain, Italy, Sweden, Denmark and Germany. The project will run over 2 years with a total of 90 participants on mobility. 9 will be staff on a 2 week mobility gaining international experience of teaching, and sharing practice and views with colleagues in partner institutions in 9 locations as well as their partners, employers, stakeholders in the wider overseas environment. Activities include recording, reporting, learning, evaluating and disseminating. Researching interventions to improve outcomes for young people and feeding back to a central study at WLC for the purpose of developing our curriculum and capacity to support learners facing issues caused by poverty. 72 will be students on a mobility of 2 weeks, studying, learning and working alongside their overseas counterparts. 1st week in class, 2nd week in work placement. They will undergo a full programme of pre-planned work, study and cultural experiences. They will record their experience and complete a portfolio and accredited unit. They will benefit from a new environment and have their eyes opened to possibilities beyond their imagination. We will inspire them to improve their lives through study, to value diversity and grow as citizens, to make new friends and incorporate internationalisation to their personal lives. We will motivate them to be the best students they can be and become the high achievers of their cohort and generation, to promote travel and mobility as a means of learning and to become excellent ambassadors for the College and the European Study Programme. 9 accompanying adults. Learner mobilities will run across the curriculum from engineering and motor vehicle to health care, from business and events to hospitality, professional cookery and travel and tourism. Benefits and impacts will be generated at local, regional, national and European levels - through dissemination and learning. These will be self-sustaining long into the future. In addition, there will be direct benefits in terms of improvements to the attitudes, ambitions and aspirations of the young people and staff on the project. This is an important project gaining access to facilities and resources across Europe. It offers the prospect of great things for participants and partner organisations, it will develop both competencies and capacities. We will produce long term positive change through a carefully designed and structured project that will generate learning that can be shared for the additional benefit of others. The project will form a part of the College's aim to raise the rate of positive destination for young people from SIMD20 Postcodes from 60% to 72% by June 2016. It will be evaluated through set parameters and learning will be disseminated through the College's and its partners' many and varied established routes of communication and direct action. Core to these and all activities will be the tools provided by the European Study Project. This project will produce positive, life changing effects. Its impacts will be felt long after the funding period has finished.
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