One Step Ahead
Start date: Jan 1, 2015,
End date: Apr 30, 2016
One Step Ahead was a training course for youth workers (group leaders and project managers) from partner organisations around Europe. The training theme was professionalism in international youth work; the objective was to share our experience and develop best practice and high professional standards for leading groups of young people on international exchanges, by training the "next generation" of youth leaders. The course took place in Berlin, Germany, with a duration of 8 days from 16 – 24 January 2016. There were 27 participants (age 18+) from 10 countries (Bulgaria, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Slovakia, Spain, Turkey, and UK).
A full activity programme and pdf of materials used is attached to this report. Activities included presentations by participants, group discussions and practical hands-on simulation exercises designed to test knowledge and put learning into practice in a controlled but lifelike situation. The course was based around outdoor (city) and intercultural learning so the planned simulations enabled participants to experience the kind of programme often applied to young people on exchanges, where issues of risk and welfare are most visible.
The training on a project of this kind is not covered by standard youth work courses, so most people learn about international work piecemeal from experience. We put in place something more systematic which shared our own approaches which differ from others active in this field elsewhere in Europe. The course focused specifically on skills, knowledge and professionalism of project managers and group leaders, and set out minimum standards for someone in this role. The main objective of the One Step Ahead course was to share experience and adopt a common set of standards which all participants took back to their organisations and adopted as an agreed code of practice. For this reason, a follow-up requirement for multiplier training by all partners was identified.
The methodology was participatory, so everyone, including the organisers, could learn and develop. It resulted in participants understanding the regulatory and risk management framework needed in a well-managed exchange and adopting an agreed set of professional standards which participants and their organisations will adhere to in future.
Feedback showed that this course contributed to the overall effectiveness and high standards of projects within Erasmus+. We intend it to be the first in a series of similar courses run in different parts of Europe in the next 18-24 months. In the longer term we hope this will lead to a recognised training and quality assessment at the European level.
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