At the end of November, 2018 six members of the Guild of trainers had a wonderful opportunity to join the third edition of the Bridges of Trainers event in Prague, Czech Republic. This international event gathered around 120 people who are active as trainers, work at the National Agencies of Erasmus+, SALTO-YOUTH centres and other institutions forming European and national youth policy.
Newly adopted European Youth Strategy
This year’s focus was on the newly adopted European Youth Strategy, which will guide and support youth work and training developments during the period between 2019 and 2027. Interestingly, the strategy was officially adopted just 2 days before the start of the event!
What is there in the strategy for trainers?
Corinna Robertson-Liersch, policy officer at the European Commission, DG EAC during her presentation walked us through the process of developing new European Youth Strategy and talked about its content. When addressing trainers community, Corinna emphasised the importance of trainers’ active role in implementation of this strategy in the reality of the European youth work and training field.
Yeal Ohana, an expert on youth policy from Frankly Speaking, continued on the European Youth Strategy by exploring the implications of the newly proposed EU Youth Strategy for the trainers’ community. She provided with a comprehensive analysis of the newly adopted strategy in comparison to the previous edition by focusing on the rationale, priorities, governance, accountability and values.
Anna Yeghonyan, a member of the Guild of trainers shares her view on the newly adopted strategy: “To me, in general, this strategy looks more instrumental, targeting more the grassroots level with strong focus on youth work, cooperation, technology and participation for all.”
Presence and contribution of the Guild members
During the event we were invited to host a ‘Learning island’ and offered a topic for the ‘Open agenda’ – to explore the idea of trainers shadowing scheme in Europe.
We are delighted by the interest received from other participants of the event. Around 20 people visited our ‘island’ where we introduced who we are, reasons for having the Guild of trainers and what we do to support trainers development.
Anna presented the Guild and continued talking with people who showed interest to learn about our organisation.
Mostly people were curious about the membership of the Guild: what are the main benefits for potential members, what are the possibilities to get involved in the projects and activities of the Guild, what capacity building opportunities have been realised in the past and what is planned for the future. And finally some of the visitors who consider becoming members of the Guild wanted to see how much they need to commit their time and resources as a members of the Guild.
Yulia showed yet-not-published video from the staff training of the Youtrain strategic partnership project which aims to create fresh video tutorials for non-formal learning. Anyone can follow Youtrain on Youtube channel (still in the making).
Nerijus invited visitors to test the latest version of the trainers self-assessment prototype, which is developed within the ‘Appraisers’ strategic project. People who tested the prototype shared very positive feedback and appreciation of such an online tool. Many of them expressed interest to follow up the development of trainers appraisal service by the Guild. You can have a sneak peak in this development by visiting ‘Trainers Appraisal’ platform (work in progress).
Importantly, this development was mentioned few times in other sessions by staff members of the SALTO Training and Cooperation Resource Centre who is behind the European Training Strategy. We appreciate their encouragement, support and visibility given to our efforts to develop an innovative solution for trainers appraisal.
Collecting ideas for trainers shadowing scheme
During the ‘Open agenda’ session we hosted a very useful discussion about the needs, benefits, potential and interests for trainers shadowing scheme in Europe.
Trainers who joined us in this exploration shared their powerful personal stories of how they benefited a lot from shadowing other trainers delivering training activities. Such experience is especially important when trainer is yet in the beginning of trainer’s development pathway.
We also reflected on the motivations and benefits for hosting trainer shadowing the team of trainers. Previous experience of such kind can be seen as a good investment for future partnerships and the youth work training field in general.
We also identified several needs that can be answered when developing a trainers shadowing scheme in Europe:
- filling the gap in personal and professional development in trainer’s pathway, especially practice element;
- researching and collecting good practice and success stories of trainer shadowing;
- developing guidelines for quality of trainer shadowing, both for trainers who wish to benefit and host who want to offer such opportunity;
- testing and developing practical tools and system necessary to implement trainers shadowing at the European level;
- providing with tools, guidelines and resources to other organisations, National Agencies and trainer pools to implement trainer shadowing at a quality level.
Everyone left motivated and hopeful for trainers shadowing to become the reality in the future.
“I appreciated that this time the BFT had a more open, flexible and participant-centred programme, which created space for networking, bringing to the agenda own topics and enjoying the community vibe.”, Anna shares reflection from the Bridges for Trainers event.
We would like to hear from everyone active in the field about their needs, ideas and reasoning for developing the trainers shadowing scheme in Europe. Fill in this short survey!
You know what they say: third time’s a charm! I have participated in all three recent editions of Bridges for Trainers and this one has, by far, fulfilled my personal, professional and learning needs the most! I experienced the community come together, share insights, inspiration, questions, reflections… and much more. I also felt that the Guild of trainers had a certain level of recognition within the community, which is very motivating and makes me hopefully for the steps, initiatives and activities to come. It was a good time to be a member of the Guild in the Bridges 🙂, Snežana shared her reflection.
Digital tools to support engagement and participation during event
Laimonas, a member of the Guild, was contracted to be a digital facilitator (emerging role?) to support the engagement and participation with online and digital tools.
The LineUp app was used throughout the event to provide participants with up-to-date information about the activities, rooms and resources. Actionbound facilitated getting to know and group dynamics on the first evening of the event. MentiMeter helped presenters of the keynote inputs to get responses from this large audience.
Padlet boards were used to collect reflections on key-components of the strategy: Engage, Empower, Connect. Etherphad helped to document the outcomes and contributions made during the Learning islands and Open Agenda sessions. Evaluation feedback form was created on Typeform.
You can view the digital impressions uploaded on the Bridges for Trainers Facebook group to get a glimpse into the impressions and mood of the event.