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Virtual mobility - connecting young people across Europe
Start date: Mar 1, 2015, End date: Feb 28, 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The aim of CONNECT is to address issues of youth unemployment by enabling young people work towards the achievement of competencies and to improve their personal and social development by engaging in transnational experiences. The objective is to provide products and pedagogy, to enable our target group of practitioners to engage young people, specifically those NEET and/or with fewer opportunities, in virtual mobility projects which will facilitate transnational collaborative experiences, and via non-formal learning, enable them to work towards the achievement of competencies validated via Youthpass. Youth unemployment is one of the major challenges of EU employment policy: the average rate of youth unemployment in the EU27 is currently 23.5% (February 2013) and the share of young people in the NEET group , aged 15-24 was 13.2% (2012). Young people that have only completed lower secondary education bear the highest risk of unemployment. The value of non-formal learning has been recognised within the EU, as ‘a major contributor to the personal development, social inclusion, active citizenship and employability of young people” (European Pact for Youth). The value of encouraging transnational mobility for young people has been well researched but young people outside of the education system, NEET and/or with fewer advantages are unlikely to participate in mobility projects. Virtual mobility is an option for this group. CONNECT will provide completely new and innovative products and pedagogy to : a. Engage young people specifically those NEET and/or with fewer opportunities, in virtual mobility projects which will facilitate transnational collaborative experiences. b. Engage young people in non-formal learning to enable them to work towards the achievement of competencies validated via Youthpass. • The CONNECT portal will provide a community driven platform to enable our target group of practitioners and the young people they support, to find virtual learning partner organisations. • The CONNECT app will enable groups of young people from different EU countries (supported by our target group of practitioners) to work together on a virtual mobility project and to undertake project related tasks, linked to the achievement of skills, knowledge and attitudes and defined at the outset. Young people will record project results via the app by taking photographs, recording audio and producing short narrative and share project results via upload of photographs, audio and narrative. • The CONNECT approaches and techniques web based e-learning pedagogy will be aimed at practitioners to enable them to design and deliver virtual mobility projects and validate outcomes. Our direct target group are practitioners within organisations working with young people. These could be youth workers working with young people in out-of-school activity; and teachers and trainers working with young people in a more formal non-curricula educational setting. We will also target managers and policy makers both domestically and within the EU, organisations championing youth workers and national and European youth led organisations During the project: • 100+ practitioners in our direct target group will be involved in focus groups • 120+ of our target group will be involved in launch events • 50+ of our target group will be involved in the final conference in the UK along with 5 international participants Beneficiaries of CONNECT are young unemployed young people – specifically those who are NEET and/or with fewer advantages. Sixty beneficiairieswill be involved in the project by testing the app. We have five IO’s supported by a range of management and administration tasks covering dissemination, management of risk, quality, monitoring and evaluation. Key outputs are listed below: • PRODUCTION OF BASELINE AND LITERATURE REVIEW – youth unemployment, NEET, key competencies, virtual mobility • CO-CREATION RESEARCH and REPORTS with practitioners and beneficiaries in our partner countries to inform product development • CONNECT APP • CONNECT PORTAL • CONNECT APPROACHES AND TECHNIQUES MANUAL • PRACTICAL VIRTUAL MOBILITY TESTS with young people in our partner countries c10 beneficiaries on each test i.e. 60 in total. • TEST REPORTS • PRACTITIONERS FOCUS GROUPS and REPORTS to review the tests and the developing app, portal and pedagogy We will LAUNCH CONNECT in Spain, Cyprus, Germany and Poland, and at a FINAL CONFERENCE in the UK Our methodology includes: • Involvement of all partners during bid development and delivery. • Clarity of partner roles and responsibility. • Allocation of tasks to ensure a balance of work building on expertise, strengths and interests • Production of a detailed work plan supported by a partnership information pack and SLA • Regular monitoring/quality and feedback, providing opportunities to build a common understanding of quality, key issues, and concerns and of actions that need to be taken.
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