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Protected Area Vocational Education and Learning
Start date: 01 Jul 2016, End date: 30 Jun 2018 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The project aims to provide European learning opportunities for staff working in protected areas across the UK. The mobility’s will provide the opportunity to spend time in another protected area learning about and sharing experiences of a pre-identified issue. The project sits within a wider programme of vocational learning for the protected area sector. This will encompass both UK and European wide knowledge and solutions to protected area management.The key objectives are to:• Facilitate and enhance learning in UK protected areas and agencies• Promote action centred learning as a method to increase knowledge and competencies of individuals and protected area organisations• Facilitate the sharing of the learning gained to a wider audience• Create opportunities for ongoing learning with European partners beyond the mobility’s and life of the project• Inspire participants to share their experience in a European context with othersWe are living in very economically challenging times especially in the publicly funded sector and sadly some of the biggest cuts have occurred in the environmental sector and as is often the case investing in learning is often the first budget to be cut. As an umbrella organisation for the protected areas in the UK and Ireland Europarc Atlantic isles is in the unique position to facilitate learning opportunities that individual protected areas cannot do by themselvesAll project partners are members of the wider Europarc Federation and are organisations similar to Europarc Atlantic Isles in being a national umbrella organisation or are individual protected areas. All have come together with the express need to develop their organisation and individual staff and ultimately to deal with the many challenges that protected areas face in an efficient and effective way.The mobility’s will focus on a number of themes including:• Ecosystem services and how to quantify them • Management effectiveness and Business development• Climate change• Engaging local communities and the public • Marketing the value of protected areas and its products The 26 participants for all the mobility’s will be staff involved in protected area management in the UK be they National or Regional Parks, AONB’s, NGO’s or agencies (Natural England, Scottish Natural Heritage etc.) as part of their continued vocational learning process in employment. Many of these staff have a science or specific technical professional background but are working in a rapidly changing world where they need a diversity of management, business and people skills and knowledge in relation to their specialist fields.Each mobility will have a very specific learning focus identified on application and the mobility’s will consist of the following type of activities:• Job Shadowing• Participating in Activities• One to one interviews / mentoring• Participating in training events• Participating/attending internal meetings• Participating in external meetings• Visiting field Projects • Organisational Development studies• Sharing information on how European directives affect their work• Looking at creative funding solutionsThe learning outcome and also impacts for the individual will be related the specific learning topic and also:• Greater understanding of the European context in which they work• Increased ability to perform role effectively• Increased confidence and motivation• Greater valuing of existing practices at home• Intercultural learning and understanding• Longer term partnerships• Profile raising and being valuedOther impacts will most likely be for partners and the host are:• Business development opportunities especially in tourism• Body of new knowledge and competencies in protected areas both in UK and other parts of Europe• Recognition of vocational learning and learning from others directly• Ongoing transnational relationships between protected areasIt is anticipated that the outcomes of this project will be shared directly with over 800 peopleAs all the partners are all members of a wider network of protected areas across Europe it is anticipated and will be encouraged that the mobility’s are also used to identify further co-operation and learning and seeking further transnational funding.
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