This is a reference for Gabriel Brezoiu

E+QUALITY Week: Improving project management competences in youth work

The training activity took place
in Bisceglie, Italy
organised by Eurosud, GEYC
1-8 December 2017
Reference person

Adriano Difronzo

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Aims & objectives

The overall aim of the training course was to raise participants' competences in the field of project management and quality management.

- O1: Improving youth workers' project management competences, which we have reached by using different approaches and methods, ranging from simulation games, quizes to world cafe, fish bowl and casino. Although the group was composed by very and less experienced, the inputs could satisfy both categories, being based on project management practical skills which were practiced during the sessions, but also on extra info and tools, shared within the online Toolbox, on all topics discussed to be explored further by those interested to deepen their know-how.
- O2: Developing youth workers' skills to plan, implement, monitor and assess TC's quality, which we have reached through the practical activities (e.g.: simulation of evaluation of E+ application - Act.10, SWOT analysis - Act.8, planning, implementation and evaluation of the communication campaigns in the community - Act.15,16,17,18).
- O3: Encouraging youth workers to share insights and best practices regarding TC'S quality, which we have reached through an ongoing exchange of ideas and working in intercultural mixed teams during all the activities and sharing best practices opportunities (Act.3,7,13,14,19,20).
- O4: Fostering collaboration at European level, within Erasmus+ framework, between NGOs, which we have achieved through the ongoing networking opportunities, partnership building and follow-up activity sessions (Act.19,20,21). This objective was achieved and from these activities resulted 4 follow-up project action plans on 2018 sample Erasmus + application that tackle entrepreneurship, youth unemployment and social inclusion.

Target group & international/intercultural composition of the group & team

Target group: youth workers, project managers in the youth field

Participanting organisations:
EUROSUD [IT - host and applicant], Alternativi International [BG], BYF [BG], Evropske centrum mladeze Breclav/European Youth Centre Breclav z.s. [CZ], Projuven [ES], HRVATSKA UDRUGA MLADIH [HR], CEFE Macedonia [MK], TDM2000 [MT], GEYC [RO]

Training methods used & main activities

This TC had 6 activity days and 2 travel days. The red wire of the planned activities was represented by the five pillars of the European Quality Standard in Youth Projects, namely Project management, Non formal education, Financial planning and Budgeting, Communication and visibility, Partnerships. Each of them was explored throughout the sessions. As described and linked with the project objectives in the timetable, the TC had a variety of non formal methods used during the session, aiming to give the participants the chance to experience different approaches and learning styles. All the sessions were started with energizers, some of them proposed and facilitated by the participants themselves. Also, there was an ongoing challenge, each country team being assigned on one of the days, with a journalistic task, writing the article of that day.
The first evening (Travel day 1) gave us the opportunity to introduce ourselves through a name game (linking the name to an animal and its sound) and a human map (Act.0).
Day 1 of activities was the opportunity to get to know each other better, through another name game (linking the name to a movement and performing a group dance with all the movements), and the toilet paper challenge of sharing interesting facts about us, as well as a speed dating on various topics - my community, favorite place to travel, my superpower, my family, the perfect youth project (Act.1). Also, it was the chance to reflect upon the expectations, fears & contributions building a boat, get to know the program of the TC (Act.2), get a first overview of the topic of quality in youth projects by expressing local realities through a roleplay (Act.3), and trying to Become a millionaire by responding to all the questions related to Erasmus+ programme and Youthpass (Act.4). The evaluation of the day (Act.5) was in the plenary, each of the pax sharing their opinion on what happened during the first day. Guess my passion optional game (Act.6) helped pax to get to know each other better.
Day 2 of activities started with getting deeper into the first pillar of reaching quality in youth projects, namely project management, with a world cafe on the challenges of the 5 project steps (Act.7), a case study and SWOT analysis (Act.8), the Marshmallow challenge as a project management simulation game (Act.9) and an Erasmus+ application evaluation simulation (Act.10). The daily evaluation (Act.5)was done in small groups, through the Five fingers method. The first intercultural evening (Act.11) brought together all participants and 4 of the 8 country cultures represented in the TC.
Day 3 of activities explored a second pillar of quality in youth projects, non formal education, through a simulation game (Win as much as you can), Venn diagram over informal-formal and non formal education (Act.12) and a critical reflection over the non-formal methods used during youth projects (quiz, roleplay, case study and simulation game) using Frontpage method (Act.13). The financial pillar was approach though fish-bowl method and inspirational video (Act.14). The communication and visibility pillar was explored by designing communication campaigns in 6 steps (Act.15). The daily reflection (Act.5) was done in small groups, using picture cards that expressed their feelings about the day. The second intercultural evening (Act.11) brought together all participants and the other 4 of the 8 country cultures represented in the TC.
Day 4 of activities was also dedicated to the Communication and visibility pillar, through the implementation of the communication campaigns in the local community (Act.17). The free time was an opportunity for the pax to explore the local realities of the region.
Day 5 of activities came back to the communication pillar, assessing the campaigns (Act.18) and introduced the Partnerships pillar through an offline Twitter and storytelling session (Act.19), a professional speed dating to mix and match possible future partners (Act.20) and developing Erasmus+ draft applications for future projects (Act.21). The evaluation of the day was done in small groups, using the Blob tree method.
Day 6 of activities started with exploring a little bit more the local community through a short visit to a kindergarten and then it was dedicated to the final evaluation of the TC, done through the Casino method (Act.23), formal evaluation through questionnaire and Youthpass prep (Act.24), non formal Youthpass ceremony (Act.25) and non formal final reflection through have your say while a match burns method (Act.26).
The initial timetable remained 90% unchanged, yet some adjustments were made to respond positively to the feedback of pax and trainers observations, such as: introducing a quiz in Act.4 instead of a presentation and a simulation game during Act.12 as the group was very competitive and responded better to such challenges, introducing a storytelling session during Act.19 so those with more experience got the chance to further share their best practices and suggestions and the short visit to the local kindergarten in order to deepen the impact of the project on the local community level (Act.22).

Outcomes of the activity

- 4 Awareness campaigns in Bari and online, dedicated to the International Volunteers Day, marked online by #IVD2017 and #EplusQuality.
- 4 follow-up project action plans on 2018 sample Erasmus + application - on topics such as entrepreneurship (TC to develop skills of the youth workers supporting youth from rural areas develop their own business), social inclusion (youth exchange to foster intercultural dialogue and promote social inclusion of foreigners, followed by local campaigns and activities; youth exchange targeting youth dropouts expressing themselves through art), youth employability (youth exchange to develop digital competences of young people, with a focus on NEETs) to be further developed by partner organizations.
- Recommendations, sharing best practices regarding the partnerships with partner organizations, other stakeholders and commercial partners
- Critical analysis (description, challenges, recommendation for implementation) of 4 non-formal methods (role-play, case study, simulation game, quiz)

Your tasks and responsibilities within the team

As a full time trainer, my role was to design, implement and evaluate the training activities together with my colleague, Diana IONITA.

I worked on this training for 6 days as a full time trainer.

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