How I Became an EuroApprentice - Gecko's employee Rebecca Finn talks about her Erasmus+ Work Experience
Rebecca Finn posing next to the Austrian President, Alexander Van der Bellen
Left to right: Rebecca Finn (Gecko Programmes), Amy Yardley (Ecorys Project Manager), Doris Schmidauer (spouse of Alexander Van der Bellen), Alexander Van der Bellen (President of Austria), Fred Brant (Leicester College), Coral Henderson (Leicester College), Jamie Moore (Bolton at Home)
I have recently been successful in securing the role of EuroApprentice with the Erasmus+ National Agency in the UK, and tasked with raising awareness of Erasmus+ opportunities in the vocational education and training (VET) sector.
I applied as a participant who has previously been on a mobility project, working in another European Country through the Erasmus + Programme. I was lucky enough to be selected as one of the final 4 successful applicants in the UK and I am delighted to have been given this opportunity to share my experiences and encourage others to go ahead and gain the experience that I have.
"The role of a EuroApprentice is to enhance the visibility of the Erasmus+ programme in their home country and motivate other apprentices, enterprises and VET providers to participate in the programme by sharing their own experience of learning abroad and its benefit for personal and professional development.
EuroApprentices are members of a network of Erasmus+ funded apprentices selected by Erasmus+ National Agencies in Austria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany and Italy."
I was able to get involved with this as I completed a mobility in Seville, Spain in March 2017, where I worked in the Business Admin industry, working in an office for 3 weeks. The mobility itself has opened many opportunities for me both personally and professionally - enabling me to continue onto this new programme as well as being able to progress at work, whilst attaining new personal and professional skills.
My role as a EuroApprentice is to enhance the visibility of the Erasmus+ programme and motivate other apprentices, enterprises and VET providers to participate in the programme by illustrating my own experience of learning abroad and its benefit for personal and professional development.
The responsibilities I have under this role are to:
I was also privileged enough to attend a funded EuroApprentice Network Meeting in Vienna, Austria from 28th - 30th May 2018. There, I met with other EuroApprentices from different countries in the EU, including: Spain, Germany, Czech Republic, Italy, Malta, Spain and many others.
During my stay I was able to do sightseeing activities, I had a tour of the city and I was also lucky enough to meet and greet the Austrian President, Alexander Van der Bellen. I also participated in Social Media, Video Making, Project Planning and Presentation Skills Activities.
Overall, the whole EuroApprentice journey so far has been overwhelming and I am excited for what is to come in the future. I would recommend this programme to anyone spontaneous, looking to gain experience, looking to travel or looking to develop themselves.
GECKO to host European delegation at "Sound Technology Event" at the WCR FM studios in Wolverhampton on the 5th July
Gecko Programmes is going to host the TeBeVAT [Validation of informal learning in the professional field of event technicians] project closure event in Wolverhampton on the 5th July 2018.
We will not try to explain “TeBeVAT” in German, but suffice to say the project is about confirming the competence of sound engineers across Europe. These professionals are famous for their ability and also for their lack of qualifications. There are wonderful stories of how people came to be sound engineers. How many you ask? One ,two..One..One, Two…One
The event will feature presentations on the tools developed by the project, and how they can be used in the entertainment technology industry.
TeBeVAT is a pilot study about identification, recognition, assessment and validation of informal and non-formal competences and skills for occupations within the entertainment technology industry.
VENUE: 101.8 WCR FM | Newhampton Art Centre | Newhampton Road East | Wolverhampton | WV1 4AP, Get directions, http://wcrfm.com/
10:00 AM Opening/Get-together at WCR FM Studios – coffee/tea/finger buffet
10:30 AM Greetings to the meeting and the event (Gecko Programmes)
10:35 AM Presentation of the TeBeVAT-Recognition Process and the Lifelong-Learning-Document-Tool (Randell Greenlee - VPLT, Germany)
10:45 AM Candidate/Mentor role play Life-Long-Learning-Document-Tool candidate/Randell Greenlee (VPLT, Germany)
11:30 AM Coffee break
11:45 AM Presentation of the TeBeVAT-Recognition Process: Assessment (Chris van Goethem - STEPP, Belgium)
12:00 PM Begin role play Candidate/Assessor = Assessment
12:30PM Presentation of the TeBeVAT-SLOM = Semantic Open Learner Model (Chris van Goethem - STEPP, Belgium / Randell Greenlee - VPLT, Germany)
12:45 PM Open Discussion – Chris van Goethem - STEPP, Belgium / Randell Greenlee - VPLT, Germany)
13:00 PM End of Event/Get-together – coffee/tea/finger buffet
We invite anyone operating within the creative industry, education, events management/entertainment technology industry to come along to the event. This will be a great opportunity to find out more about recognition of prior learning within the industry and network with recognised names in the events management/sound technology sector from Germany, Belgium, Italy, Austria and Netherlands.
Drinks and refreshments will be provided. Please confirm attendance by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 01902 837 416
ABOUT THE DELEGATES
The Business Management Research Center for questions of the SME sector (BF / M) at the University of Bayreuth is a non-profit association which was founded in 1979 and has set itself the goal of science and industry to interlock with each other by economic research results in business be transferred and can be held empirical studies. The main focus is clearly on small and medium enterprises.
STEPP is the professional association of producers, designers and technicians of the arts and event sector. The association represents stage technicians, scenographers, producers and architects throughout the entire cultural spectrum.
STUDIO CENTRO VENETO, Italy
Established in 1968, the ‚Atelier Studio Centro Veneto‘ is an Italian organisation that offers specialized services in Consulting, Research and Education institutions, entrepreneurs and professionals. Since 1983 they’ve worked on the theme of Intergenerational Transfer and have since developed a wide range of tools to better address the process.
The SV-wtu event technology company is an Austrian organisation, which provides premium-class event services. The company consists of a team of four, specialising in setting up events such as galas, balls, concerts, theatres and company parties.
The VPLT is a technical orientated industrial association. Its members are developers, manufacturers, distributors, installers, services and production-companies of the media and event-technology-industry.
OSAT stands for Overleg Scholing Arbeidsmarkt Theatertechniek. It was founded in 2000 and coordinates the consultation between the field of work and the stage education.
For further details on the TeBeVAT project, please visit the project website at: https://tebevat.eu/
Join our focus group on the development of an innovative "Storytelling and Pitching for Start-up" training path for disadvantaged adult learners
We require your feedback for the design of an innovative training pathway for disadvantaged adult learners who are looking to start-up a business.
The focus group is part of a larger project (YouBrand) which will help disadvantaged adult learners move into self-employment. The final training materials will be freely accessible to anyone interested in using our methodology (given appropriate credentials are given!). The aim of the study is to gather opinions on the methodology of YouBrand, its effectiveness, sustainable development and its adaptation to the public policies.
The methodology proposed by the YouBrand project aims to define a guided and homogeneous learning process that, through 6 steps (training modules), leads the aspiring startuppers towards the definition of their business idea, so that they can come to the market more aware and equipped to withstand the impact of external factors which can affect a new business.
If you are interested, we are inviting you to have a look at the YouBrand methodology draft below, and drop us an email at email@example.com to learn more about the time and location of the focus group. Altrnatively, you can ring us on 01902 837 416.
Gecko receives funding to implement project that supports the development of key competences (digital skills, intitiative and entrepreneurship and creativity) in adult learners: the YouBrand Project
Funder: European Commission, Erasmus+ Programme, Key action 2 Adult Education
Project number: 2017-1-PL01-KA204-038849
Implementation timeline: 01 Dec 2017 - 30 Nov 2019
Project coordinator: Centrum Ksztalcenia Ustawicznego nr 2 w Lublinie, Poland
Project partners: AGENFAP Società cooperativa (IT), INERCIA DIGITAL SL (ES), GECKO PROGRAMMES LIMITED (UK), HELLENIC OPEN UNIVERSITY (GR)
Project website: http://www.youbrand.cku2.pl/
Since 2016 entrepreneurship has been defined as one of the 8 key competences by the EP (18.12.2006) in the lifelong learning process. School education faced a lot of pression and changes in terms of teaching entrepreneurship programmes within a basic education context. All national activities were mainly focused on the development of suitable training material, supporting tools for teachers in secondary, high VET schools as well as universities. A lot of activities were preformed at national and international level (also in EU projects) - such as online games, online training programmes etc. to enhance the entrepreneurial spirit of youngsters.
What is missing now is new educational approach to adults and their entrepreneurship skills.
Adult learners are often unemployed, part of groups at risk of social exclusion, and are lacking the skills required to live in a digital era. Even if they are ready to run their own bussiness they do not have as good ICT and social skills as the younger EU citizens.
The YouBrand project will support the above-mentioned priorities by:
- defining and testing an innovative training model/curriculum for the development of disadvantaged adults (unenployed, NEETs, at risk of social exclusion) in the following key competences: initiative and entrepreneurship, digital skills and creativity;
- defining and testing a train-the-trainer path aimed at introducing an innovative digital and web-based training model for the support of aspiring entrepreneurs in their start-up path;
- designing and implementing an online community for trainers aimed at sharing and implementing resources and information.
The YouBrand project directly responds to EU policy documents and programmes fostering:
- entrepreneurship and start-up as means to reduce unemployment and increase EU competitiveness;
- the improvement of entrepreneurial education;
- the development of ICT competences.
Start-up businesses and SMEs (EC on Eurostat data '14) are the main source of employment. The Entrepreneurship Action Plan 2020 underlines that in order to foster economic growth, employment and competitiveness in Europe there is a need for "more entrepreneurs and start-ups". The Council invites the Member States to "provide more services to support business start-up and promote the opportunities and perspectives of self-employment".
The Action Plan 2020 and the Small Business Act strongly focus on the need to promote the entrepreneurial spirit and the business culture, supporting the business creation training and raising new generations of entrepreneurs. The Council suggests that the Member States should "encourage schools, VET providers and employment services to actively promote entrepreneurship providing guidance, support on entrepreneurship and self-employment also through entrepreneurship training courses".
The Eurydice survery (2014) "Entrepreneurial education" highlighted the following gaps in terms of competences, skills and knowledge: communication, presentation, planning, definition and creation of a business plan and idea.
In 2013, European Commission (EC) Memo stated that 'Entrepreneurship education needs to be boosted'. The communication then comments that, 'Investing in education for entrepreneurship is one of the highest return investments policy-makers in Europe can make to support economic growth and business creation'.
Quoting again from the EC, education should be brought to life through practical experiential learning models, real-world experience and the participation of entrepreneurs. Defined entrepreneurial learning outcomes for all educators are needed, to introduce effective entrepreneurial learning methodologies into the classroom.
The YouBrand project will design, test and spread the utilisation of an innovative training methodology/curriculum with the objective of supporting aspiring adult entrepreneurs in their start-up path.
To develop and test this curriculum the project will update the competences of trainers through a tran-the-trainer path providing them skills and resources developed by a partnership of six organisations from Poland, Italy, Spain, UK, Grece and Poland, involving education, research and innovation activities.
The delivery of ICT competencies will be strongly embedded in the training promoting the use of ICT to increase the efficacy and impact of training paths for entrepreneurship and start-up.
This curriculum will thus support the development of the following key competences:
- digital skills,
- initiative and entrepreneurship
The project will also develop a web community platform as a reference point for trainers active in entrepreneurship and business start-up training to share resources, follow-up projects and discussions.
Gecko awarded approved status by the Education and Skills Funding Council to support Adult Education
As adults we are entitled to a range of benefits at various times of our lives, pension when we retire, child benefit and paid leave when we become parents and support if we have a disability or illness, But did you also know that you also have a legal entitlement to some specific educational courses, for free!
Gecko are delighted to have recently been awarded approved status by the Education and Skills Funding Council. Therefore, we are now a recipient of funding known as the Adult Education Budget. This grant will enable us to provide a programme of courses for adults across the Black Country and Birmingham, meeting your needs and supporting your ambitions.
For all adults over 19 – employed or unemployed, you are legally entitled to attend courses which will support you in gaining a level 2* math and English qualification, if you don’t already have one. So if you missed out on your GCSE math and English at grade C or above, and are finding that this is holding you back in getting into work or progressing at work, then we can offer you free courses to support your achievement. We will assess your current level of ability and find the right starting point for you. The course, registration, and exam fees will all be free, even if you start your study at entry level and work your way up to a full level 2 qualification – every course on your journey is free.
If you are unemployed and over 19, then there are additional courses available to you for free. This could be a course and qualification in customer service, employability skills, business, or a trade such as plumbing, carpentry, accounting, IT. If you are aged 19-23, and you have not achieved a level 3# qualification then you are entitled to attend a course for free. If you are aged over 24 then level 3 courses are available through a learning loan. Courses providing small steps to learning a larger qualification, or assist you in getting into work are also free.
Employed and over 19? The Adult Skills Budget can still support your learning needs. If you have not achieved a level 2 qualification, or you wish to achieve a different level 2 course for a career change, then 50% of your fees will be paid, and for study at level 3, a learning loan will be available. Many employers will pay the 50% of the fees if the course of study is something they need you to achieve, for example an accountancy qualification.
So, check out the courses we have on offer and ensure you use your entitlements.
* Level 2 is equivalent to a GCSE standard
# Level 3 is equivalent to A level standard
INVENT - developing new approaches to strengthen the education and training paths of vocational educators and aspiring event managers
October 2017 has seen the start of a new Key Action 2 (KA2) European project for Gecko. Named “InVent”, the project aims to develop a new approach to strengthen the education and training paths of vocational educators and aspiring event managers, in the event management sector.
The rationale behind this project grew from a needs analysis conducted by Gecko, in which we examined the profiles of successful cultural events manager already prominent in the industry. The needs analysis found that despite many Higher Education and Vocational Education Training institutions delivering courses in Event management, many successful professionals in this field did not necessarily acquire their skills and competencies through any kind of formal training. In contrast, once established, these professionals had managed to stay successful by continuing to add and update their skills through short training courses delivered by sector- led organisations such as EVCOM, the Institute of Event Management, and the Television and Radio Club in the UK. This is what is known in the UK as Continuing Professional Development.
With this in mind, the Invent project aims to develop the learner centred skills and competences for educators and professionals who develop new-entrants and recently appointed event managers. It will do this through a process of identifying current skills and skills gaps (the identification of prior learning), the expression of an Individual Development Plan, the coaching of individuals, and facilitation of group learning. By doing so we aim to build capacity of educators in the sector, and in turn contribute towards bridging the skill gaps of new entrants to, as well as those economically active in, the sector of events management.
The project will welcome joint efforts from 10 partners within 5 EU partner countries (UK, Spain, Germany, Latvia, and Slovenia). With each country being represented by an organisation in the teaching sector and an organisation in the events management sector, we will be able to draw on the expertise, best practices, of industry and teaching professionals across differing national standards to ensure a dynamic and quality outcome.
We look forward to welcoming representatives of all partners to the projects Kick-Off meeting in Wolverhampton on the 27th and 28th November 2017.
Gecko is appointed by Calderdale College as a Black Country partner bringing transformational skills support to local enterprises
This fund offers free of charge training to enterprises in the Black Country. Gecko is appointed to address the training needs of the Business Services sector across the region. We are pleased that our expertise and engagement has been recognised by also appointing us as the provider to work with the Creative Industries in Wolverhampton and the Visitor Economy in Dudley.
For a business to be eligible, it needs to be a SME. The self-employed and sole traders are also eligible.
Any member of staff aged 16+ who meets UK residency rules is eligible to participate.
Click HERE for more about Skills Support for the Workforce
BIRMINGHAM / BLACK COUNTRY YOUNG GAIN FROM THE EU. GECKO PROGRAMMES HAS SECURED FURTHER £685,000 FUNDING TO SEND 150 YOUNG PEOPLE TO SPAIN, ITALY AND GERMANY FOR WORK PLACEMENTS, TO KICK-START THEIR CAREERS.
The European Union has awarded a Wolverhampton-based training group a further £685,000 sending 150 young people to Spain, Italy and Germany for work placements, to kick-start their careers.
The project, led by Gecko Programmes, aims to provide work experience and boost job skills so that local young people can gain employment locally.
This builds on the success of a current project, which has already been awarded £1.3m by the European Union. Gecko Programmes leads a consortium of colleges in Birmingham and the Black Country. To take part in the project you need to have been a student at one of the colleges in the last 12 months.
The partner colleges are City of Wolverhampton, Walsall, Dudley, Birmingham Metropolitan, and South and City College Birmingham.
All the costs of the flights, accommodation and pocket-money for food and travel are provided by the EU. Those who take part will find themselves working in a company in Florence, La Coruna, Seville, Lanciano or Berlin for a period between two and eight weeks.
Gecko is recruiting now for groups that start in January 2017. For more information visit www.geckoprogrammes.co.uk or call 01902 837416.
Have you just finished a course at College?
If so, you can give your career a boost by taking part in an EU funded project that is being run by Gecko Programmes.
Gecko Programmes is working in partnership with colleges from Birmingham and our own City of Wolverhampton College.
Gecko has been awarded €1.25 million to fund training and work experience in Spain, Italy and Germany. If you are selected, your flights, accommodation, training and pocket money (about €90 a week) are all provided.
Gecko is looking to recruit 60 people to go to Italy and Spain for either three or eight weeks.
To be eligible you need to have completed a vocational course with either South and City College Birmingham, Birmingham Metropolitan College, City of Wolverhampton College, Dudley College, Walsall College or Gecko in the last 12 months. Attendance at a vocational course with Gecko makes you eligible to apply for a work-based learning programme.
Pat Cross, the Director of Gecko said, “we have been offering programmes like these for five years now, but gaining this size of contract, and working in partnership with so many colleges, provides a fantastic opportunity to young people that want to give their careers a boost. Employers value the confidence and sparkle that young people gain from this experience. We have so many success stories of young people getting jobs and getting their careers on track when they return to the UK.”
If you want to apply or to get more information, you can contact Gecko on 01902 837416, or send an email with your CV and a cover letter to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click here to find out more about the "Birmingham and Black Country Creative Consortium" Project!