This is a reference for Jonathan Robertson

EVS for Employability

The training activity took place
in Birmingham, UK
organised by Ecorys - UK National Agency
25th-29th May 2015
Reference person

Saso Kronegger

(Co-trainer)
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Aims & objectives

This 3.5 day workshop was intended for EVS Sending and Receiving Organisations and Mentors. The workshop looked at how competences developed during EVS can be effectively used to boost a volunteer's employability.

The idea of the EVS Competences project was born in 2012 and further developed by eight National Agencies of the Youth in Action programme, together with two Salto Resource Centres. The common motivation and focus was to explore the relevance of competences developed during the European Voluntary Service project for the labour market.

Following an Evaluation and Planning meeting held in August 2014, the National Agencies of the UK, France, Hungary, Poland, and Slovenia, together with Salto Inclusion have decided to take forward some of the recommendations set out in the ‘EVS Competences for Employability’ project narrative report , and hold a 3.5 day workshop to strengthen the role of mentors and Sending and Receiving Organisations in the European Voluntary Service.

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

Participants from: UK, Slovenia, Germany, Hungary, Czech Republic, Latvia and Slovakia.

Training team from: UK and Slovenia

Training methods used & main activities

This was a training course that used a range of non-formal educational methods - from role play through to the fishbowl dialogue method. There was input presentations sharing research findings, small group-working to build new methods and group reflection sessions. We used these different techniques for:
- reflecting on learning support provided to EVS volunteers
- using the latest research on EVS to explore the needs of EVS volunteers as well (as the requirements from employers) related to employability
- exploring tools to capture learning
- practicing how to translate competencies into the diverse language of the job market
- focusing on the next steps that organisations can take to maximise the impact of the course itself

Outcomes of the activity

Participants left with a much increased understanding of how the key competences in EVS can be captured, recognised and presented by EVS volunteers for prospective employment. The methods of the training course supported the content and at the same time provided the opportunity for the group to share and co-create the common understanding of the topics related to support of EVS volunteers, learning, employability and recognition.

The programme was firmly anchored in the reality of the participants and aimed at support of the practices of the organisations with the results of the research. Presentations created for the training were given to participants for them to share when they returned to their organisations and communities.

When participants were asked for their highlights of the training, they mentioned: “team work”, “the supportive environment” and “the different methods and tools”. Furthermore, when participants were asked if they had any needs that were not met during the seminar, the vast majority answered no.

Finally, when participants were asked did the training team support their learning needs, every participant responded positively, including comments such as: “they adapted to our needs”, “they were understanding, respectful, patient and motivating” and “they were very well organised”. One participant stated: “I asked a question on the first day and put it on the wall – through the rest of the time it was addressed by many people. It was great to see that”.

As we saw from the quantitative responses to the Participants’ Evaluation, they developed their competences greatly in the following areas:

- Learning support provided to EVS volunteers
- Understanding the relationship between EVS and employability
- Tools for capturing learning
- Translating competences into the diverse languages of the job markets.

Furthermore, in their evaluation forms, participants responded to the question about what further learning they had got from the course, some of the comments included: “Learning is never-ending”; “Importance of questions”; “I am not on my own”; “Methods to be more successful”; “You need courage, but everything is possible”; “Communication and language skills”; “That you can learn from anyone”; “Tools about employability”; “A lot about myself and how to improve my EVS projects”; “Self-reflection for our work”; “Practical ideas for our volunteers”; “How to develop EVS projects with employability focus”; “New methodologies, new project ideas”.

Your tasks and responsibilities within the team

I worked with my co-trainer to write the training course and deliver it. I was also very invovled in the evaluation and reporting of the project too.

I worked on this training for 3.5 days as a full time trainer.

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