“Make volunteering experiences count” - Multiplier Training in Brussels, Belgium
The training course “Make volunteering experiences count” took place in Brussels, Belgium from the 3rd to the 7th of October 2016, as the concluding part of the GRE-AT Project.
The GRE-AT Project is a European advanced tool, as its name stands for (Guidelines for Recognition: European Advanced Tool), which run from 2014 until 2016, under the partnership of AEGEE, La Ligue de l’enseignement, Lifelong Learning Platform, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, World Organisation of the Scout Movement and Youth for Exchange and Understanding. The project’s objective was providing guidelines so as to assist youth organisations build their own internal recognition tool for their volunteers’ competences. On a larger scale this will impact the validation of Non-Formal Education and Informal Learning, as well as the way employers regard volunteering in comparison to Formal Education.
Returning to the latest training, its aim was to create volunteers-multipliers, who after being informed about the framework for recognition Non-Formal Education and Informal Learning and the required steps to create an internal tool, would share the gained knowledge with their broader volunteering environment, including their organisation. Providing the necessary background was achieved after carefully planning the program of the training.
On the first day the participants learned about the role of youth organisations in empowering the learning procedure, through transmitting essential skills and competences, along with how it is possible to combine non-formal and informal education through various modes of learning. The day concluded with visitors, who clarified the basic requirements of the employers’ market and where it stands on volunteering experience. On the 5th of October the participants got introduced to the 10 guidelines, already established in a previous training. To get to know the guiding principles , initially the need for a tool was assessed and already established tools such as the “Youth Pass” were explored. Additionally, the participants were asked to implement the GRE-AT guidelines on a fictional or existing organisation and later on challenge them, to assure their quality. So as to break the routine, field visits were planned on the following day to the offices of the European Youth Forum (YFJ) and Lifelong Learning Platform (LLL-P), during which information about both umbrella organisations was given and their contribution on the recognition of volunteering experience was discussed. Last but not least, it was mapped out to the participants who the stakeholders behind the attempt to validate volunteering are and the role of politics. On the final day the team took a look into the future and discussed how to multiply the gained knowledge in an applicable way, so as to create a tool.
All in all, the training was engaging and constructive, with its biggest success being that, participants were members of youth organisations, so they had an extra incentive to strive for the outcomes of the training. As to the future, the GRE-AT project has managed to develop the theoretical part of recognition and plant the seeds for the practical one. It remains in the hands of the participants and their organisations on when and how the recognition tools will be established.
For more information on the GRE-AT Project: http://gr-eat.eu/
By Maria Savvides