Archive of European Projects

Intercultural competence training for SMEs hosting European mobilities
Start date: 01 Sep 2014, End date: 31 Aug 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Background Mobility is part of the flexibility considered important for the European labour force. Learning mobility, that is transnational mobility for the purpose of acquiring new skills, is one of the fundamental ways through which individuals, particularly young people, can strengthen their future employability as well as their personal development (European Commission 2009). The success of the placements abroad depends a lot on the extent to which the trainee gets in contact with the lifestyle, mindset and habits of the hosting country. In this process that is both personal and intercultural for trainees, the role of hosting organisations is central. SMEs represent the trainee’s “practical handbook” in the world of work and also for the country’s identity and environment (economic, social and cultural). Inadequate preparation of the hosting organization may result in entrenched negative stereotypes and a higher dose of ethnocentricism. The InterMobil project will seek to address the neglected topic of intercultural training of mobility hosting organization (especially SMEs). Project aim and objectives The overall aim of the InterMobil project is to create a more favourable environment for youth exchanges and mobility programmes in the field of VET and Labour Market placements. The project stipulates several specific objectives in order to achieve its overall aim: ~ To develop an efficient intercultural training in view of the challenges youth mobility faces from the practice, training, research and employer’s perspectives; ~ To remove the obstacles to successful youth mobility due to intercultural differences and misunderstanding; ~ To strengthen the position of intercultural competences in EU youth mobilities programmes as tool to maximize the benefits of the mobility; ~ To contribute to the increase of EU mobilities through raising the awareness and promoting the benefits for the hosting companies Target groups The target groups that the project addresses represent the various actors involved in the implementation of EU mobilities. On the one hand there are SMEs and similar organizations hosting mobilities, intermediaries facilitating EU mobilities and EU mobilities sending organizations. In other words the three sides of the process will be approached, their viewpoints considered and their observations and recommendations will be embedded in the learning materials. The aim is that each of these three types of actors is satisfied with the final products and sees value in adopting the materials for building intercultural competence. Knowing that all involved possess the necessary intercultural competence will bring more trust in their partnership and will facilitate cooperation. All these actors will be involved at different stages of InterMobil implementation – in the research phase, focus groups discussions, prototype workshops and small-scale events organized by the partners. Thus all of them will be given a voice and a chance to contribute to the development of the products. Expected outcomes The project will result in three intellectual outputs: ~ Learning content on intercultural competence – partners will apply a culture general approach, which is not focusing on specific cultures but on developing intercultural competences, which can be used in any environment. The learning content will cover topics such as: Cultural theories, Culture shock, Intercultural communication – language, Conflict management and de-escalation, Intercultural communication – paralanguage, Specifics of intercultural counselling, Practical student needs – the exchange student world, Host country culture and other. ~ Handbook for SMEs – this product will be a short focused methodological document which will guide SMEs how to use the materials. It will present at a glance look on the learning materials and will also function as a teaser to read the full content. ~ InterMobil project website – it will comprise all developed learning materials, the Handbook for SMEs, useful links to other projects or sites with similar content, the literature review carried out in the first months of the project will be also uploaded for further reference. The access to the materials on the website will be free of charge and registration won’t be required.
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