This is a reference for Alexandro Jan Lai

Pathways to Youth Leadership

The training activity took place
in Cagliari, Italy and Sremski Karlovci, Serbia
organised by Associazione Interculturale NUR
6 to 14 Oct. 2018 / 27 Jan.to 3 Feb. 2019
Reference person

Christina Maria Amanatiadou

(Participant)
If you want to contact reference persons, you have to be signed in.

Aims & objectives

Pathways to Youth Leadership was a long-term training project that offered a systematic approach to developing youth leadership competences. The project wanted to answer and unpack the question: how do I become a youth leader? The project worked on a variety of levels, that include innovation, theory to practice and experiential learning. It followed two professional personal development models for young leaders and those new to youth work, that explore pathways and progression to become a youth worker. One called ‘Cultivate’, a leadership training programme built around UK Youth Achievement Awards Platinum, and the other the Dutch model ‘Effective Youth Leadership Badges’, based on the work and the models identified by Stephen Covey.
Main Objectives were: to develop a greater understanding of the transferrable skills and experiences for youth work; to explore and understand the skills, knowledge and attitude of youth leadership; to gain a greater awareness of youth work theory and practice; to identify and realise youth leadership experiences and opportunities; to explore the opportunities for realising their youth work potential through Erasmus+.

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

The project involved participants from 12 different countries (6 from Programme Countries, 3 from MEDA and 3 from SEE): young adults, those new to youth work, ex-beneficiaries of Erasmus+ (either youth exchanges or EVS) and young people looking to step up a level.
The trainers team included, besides me, one colleague from the Netherlands and 3 from UK.
Detailed list of countries: Italy, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Egypt, Greece, Lebanon, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Palestine, Serbia, Spain, United Kingdom

Training methods used & main activities

The training implemented a range of experiential learning opportunities, non-formal educational approaches and a wealth of youth work theory and practice. We had the innovative opportunity to complete the pedagogical structure of the project with a new tool to support learning: the Erasmus+ Virtual Exchanges (EVE). As examples to mention for the purpose of this form, we developed a simulation game called "Game of Stones" based on the "Prisoner Dilemma" with 4 teams aiming to achieve more co-operative behavior between team members and teams, who are pursuing shared goals.
The objective is described as a group task to win as much as you can. The 4 teams inevitably
compete and therefore the group score is low.
We also used the "Leary’s Rose: Behavior Types" model to explore different behavior patterns in youth leadership and the "Bidibibodybibu" game to assess the importance of different roles in team work.

Outcomes of the activity

The project has been chosen as a "Good Practice Example" by the Italian National Agency for its success in involving the young participants and in supporting their leadership skills development. Having been the first one to test Erasmus+ Virtual Exchange in the non formal education field, the project has become rapidly a best practice in the use of blended mobility learning. It appeared in the RAI TV news and in several international events such as: the first edition of the "European Academy of Youth Work" in Slovenia (May 2019), a webinar hosted by UNICollaboration to promote EVE among youth organisations (11/04/19), the seminar "Building bridges between youth in the digital era" (21/02/20 in Brussels) and the conferences "Exploring the digital Dimension of Youth workers’ competences" (February 2020 in Vienna) and "MOVE IT-Youth mobility in the digitalised era" (May 2020) in Bonn.
It has also been portrayed in the publication of the 2018 results of EVE and it will appear in a next publication from the consortium on the best practices across Europe.
Last but not the least a follow up project written by some of the participants themselves has been approved in the May 2020 deadline by the German NA.

Your tasks and responsibilities within the team

In the first mobility of the 2 residential ones I took a coordinator role as the TC was hosted in my town. I delivered a few learning modules as trainer but my main role has been to coordinate the TC in general (logistics, participants travels, administration...). I was instead purely involved as trainer in the mobility in Serbia where we worked full time as a team of 4 trainers and one digital rapporteur dividing tasks and participants into groups and activities we all engaged in full time. We alternated between team leader and team member depending on the specific activity proposed or worked in parallel by dividing the participants in smaller groups. Each one of us filled all the roles and we all shared responsibility for the designing of the agenda, its implementation and the daily evaluations.
Besides the tasks in the residential mobilities I and another colleague took responsibility for planning and running all the Virtual Exchanges implemented during the project for a total of 6 Virtual Exchanges. My role in the online setting has been of facilitator of the digital dialogue and designer of the agenda's content.

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

Testimonial of the reference person

Alexandro Jan Lai is the perfect example of an exceptional trainer. His knowledge on his field is impeccable, as well as his ability to engage with the participants and encourage them to be more active and think more creatively. Apart from that he also demonstrated good organisational and time management skills. During the project he showed great levels of acceptance of each participant's cultural background and personality. One characteristic that I highly appreciated and for sure made me feel more valuable and respected as a participant, was that he was open to constructive criticism and was adapting his activities to our needs. All these characteristic helped to create a safe and comfortable environment for each one of us to speak our minds and engage better with everyone. It would be unfair, not to mention the qualities he has as a human. Both outside and inside the activities' room, he was a great active listener to our concerns, showed interest in our lives, feelings and thought and was always open for us to reach him and talk. 

back to top