This is a reference for Marija Wazi

Needed Employability Wonders

The training activity took place
in Kamenka, Czech Republic
organised by Nase Kamenka z.s.
15-24 August 2014

Aims & objectives

Our objectives were to improve social, personal and professional, skills of young people by practicing their communication and teamwork competences; to develop tolerance between diverse cultures by creating a cooperative environment for their representatives; to provide young people opportunities for creative solutions and problem solving actions in intercultural groups; to encourage actions and ideas leading to networking and connection within community; to share best practices of cooperation in presented NGOs and to create a base for further development of representatives and not least important to strengthen social inclusion of less opportunity youth by improving their awareness of their values and attitudes.

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

Participants were 27 young people mostly coming from foster homes or other form of foster care and involved in NGOs activities of 9 countries (Hungary, Romania, Ukraine, Czech Republic, Serbia, Italy, Croatia, Lithuania, Turkey). Participants of our training course were aged 16-29 years old.

Training methods used & main activities

Methods we used were applied through non-formal education and learning by doing concepts: working in couples/ small or big mixed groups, open workshops, individual tasks, sharing of experience and giving feedback. Program included practical assignments on self-directing and self-assessment, cultural awareness and improvement of key competencies, methods from dance, theatre and creative expression and outdoor activities. Our participants were involved in all project phases, as they actively prepared to deliver knowledge on given topics from their countries before the TC, they also created program parts such as workshop or intercultural evening program and implemented the results into their activities in their home countries during follow-up and dissemination activities. We had a part of self-development training (4 days), 3 days of outdoor activities and 3 days of Employability preparation and planning for home organizations.

The main method we used in NEW was “learning by doing”. This is the method, based on experiential learning. In this approach learning becomes a specific and individual process, because it depends from the person him/ herself, his/her behaviour, reactions and emotions, attitude and the way of thinking. There are no right or wrong answers, or patterns of learning. The knowledge is connected to the specific needs and the level of learning of the participant at that moment and is reproduced by the student, without any personal interaction. It means that participants will learn things by experiencing things while doing them. After activities they also get time for reflecting on their thoughts and feelings of what they did, so they can they draw their own conclusions. From a trainer they also get some theory and tools to work with it. The activities are then there for them to see how they deal with received theory and tools in certain situations and how it works. Participants will have space for sharing their experience and they can connect it with their daily lives, which might help them to see various possibilities for finding needed solutions.
Then we used simulated situations, when participants were faced with solving problems in various contexts. To succeed they needed to expand their personal borders, to go beyond what they have done so far. Then it was intercultural learning, as they were stimulated to learn from each other and to cooperate in order to create a working environment for each one of them, and empowerment, as there wasa lot of space for creativity and looking for different a approach, since the role of team members was the one of support and help, they were not the initiators of the solution. Outdoor played a huge role in our project, participants got a chance to create connection with local community and to practice different outdoor activities (tracking, biking etc.).

Outcomes of the activity

In the area of skills and attitudes, participants developed their communication skills, creativity and cooperation, as well as planning, setting priorities and making decisions alone and in a group. The experience in exchange helped them to improve their initiative behavior, openness and responsibility. Via evaluation from partner NGOs (personal interviews and\or questionnaries obtained by skype or mails) and through mails from participants directly we know, that TC was benefitial for them in this area.
In the area of knowledge, they became more aware of cultures (values, lifestyles, foster care in different countries, youth work) they all live in and how it influences them and vice versa; they got to know about opportunities for them in European funds and programs including Erasmus +.
Impact on communities:
Local people of Kamenka could become more aware of intercultural activities in Europe as well as benefit of participating in them. Especially local youngsters, who participated in Intercultural evening, became more interested in international networking and kept on asking about the project. Encountering people from other cultures expanded their personal borders and gave them a bigger picture about European society. After coming back home and to their NGOs participants showed and shared what they have experienced during the TC, as we know from partners.

Young people experienced that active participation in what's happening around them is how they can promote ideas / values and is the only way to make a difference in the society. For them to practice active citizenship, they were encouraged to take a responsibility first in their own lives, their surroundings and local communities. The whole program was designed around these issues and also we empowered participants to go through the learning process consciously, with awareness of their own input and active steps. Program was designed in a way that participants experienced different layers of active citizenship: being part of a society by taking an initiative and finding a job (getting employed demo event), democratic voting in a group where each person counts (Red and Black, forming teams for outdoor), understanding results of their steps and its impact on others as part of society (while giving and getting feedback), taking responsibility for their actions (Victim and accountable activity, where participants experience the difference between passive approach and active attitude leading to desired outcomes).

By organizing NEW project, we managed to reach disadvantaged young people from foster homes and to bring them for the first time abroad to experience their competences and to learn about employability and other cultures in tolerance and creativity. These young people already involved in practiced key competences and skills such as communication and presentation in a group, problem solving, creative teamwork, self direction and assessment etc, which are valued and needed in diverse job areas, while creating connection and network with youth from other countries with similar complicated background. This shared experience enriched their practice by tools and methods which they could implement back in their organizations and foster homes they were connected with.
Project promoted young people’s active citizenship through daily activities of the program, since problem-solving and solution-finding approach, essential to responsibility of a citizen, is the one we use for most of them. They learned how to check options available around them, how to include each other in common goals and strategies and how to evaluate their team work based on facts. During 10 days of TC these youngsters had to deal with diverse simulated situations, where their initiative was highly needed and where they practiced active participation in group decisions.
Solidarity and tolerance among young people was strengthened during the whole program by reflection groups, which we hold after every day. While working and living in an international group for over a week, they found a way to communicate effectively and to handle each other, which csupported developing sense of tolerance for this group.
Diversity was a tool which we promoted, starting with including 9 countries in this project and continuing with details of the program, where f.e. we made sure that participants all the time work in nationality mixed groups and switched for assignments. During all that time they had the chance to work together with everyone from the group and to discover how diversity looks in practice.

Your tasks and responsibilities within the team

As a head trainer I was leading a team of 6 international team members and guiding one junior trainer. I was also preparing and delivering program and supervising the junior trainer. I was taking care of follow up activities and partly of a final report of the project.

I worked on this training for 10 days as a full time trainer.

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