“EVS – A Bridge to Employability?!” -Lisabona, 4-9 februarie 2016

“EVS – A Bridge to Employability?!” este numele seminarului la care am participat intre 4-9 februarie, reprezentand A.C.T.O.R. si reteaua internationala „Drums for Peace”. Proiectul a fost organizat in Lisabona de catre Agentia Nationala pentru Sport si Tineret din Portugalia fiind finantat prin programul Erasmus + al CE si implementat cu ocazia implinirii a 20 de ani de serviciu european de voluntariat, intalnirea avand loc in sediul centrului municipal de tineret.

Prezenti au fost participanti din 13 tari: Cipru, Spania, Portugalia, Franta, Romania, Germania, Bulgaria, Austria, Croatia, Ungaria, Polonia, Turcia si Estonia.

Scopul seminarului a fost sa ofere acestora ocazia de a se intalni si a discuta aspecte ce tin de serviciul european de voluntariat prin prisma factorilor pietei muncii, iar in final crearea unei brosuri SEV. Reprezentantii tarilor de mai sus au participat la seminar in calitatile de leaderi de organizatii, coordonatori de proiecte in cadrul Erasmus+, in special SEV, angajatori, mentori  in SEV, voluntari, reprezentanti de departamente de tineret constituite in cadrul municipalitatilor, fosti voluntari SEV, etc.

Metodele seminarului s-au axat pe educatia non-formala si au inclus sesiuni de grup, individuale, munca pe echipe, treasure-hunt, „targ de organizatii”, seara interculturala, story-telling, reflectie de grup, auto evaluare etc.

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Prin organizarea seminarului s-a dorit, mai exact, explorarea domeniului SEV, din perspectiva persoanelor implicate activ in aceasta activitate. La aceasta s-a contribuit prin organizarea schimbului de bune practici intre participanti, prezentarea propriilor noastre experiente in cadrul SEV, obstacolelor intalnite, mijloace eficiente de promovarea a SEV, recomandari pentru partile implicate in SEV etc. Pe langa toate acestea, asa cum numele seminarului o spune, s-a urmarit analizarea programului SEV in stransa legatura cu avantajele pe care acesta le ofera beneficiarilor, in campul muncii, dupa finalizarea stagiului de voluntariat. Astfel, de-a lungul proiectului au fost invitati reprezentanti ai agentiei nationale E+, ai centrului de tineret din Lisabona, precum si directorul departamentului de tineret din cadrul municipalitatii. Impreuna cu acestia am abordat diferite subiecte importante, precum rolul educatiei non-formale in viata tinerilor, integrarea acesteia in scoli, imbunatatirea comunicarii si cooperarii dintre societatea civila si institutiile private, publice si politicieni, promovarea SEV in randul persoanelor cu oportunitati reduse etc. Un subiect mult dezbatut a fost recunoasterea competentelor fostilor voluntari SEV pe piata muncii, cum ar trebui organizatiile de trimitere si de gazduire sa faciliteze identificarea si dezvoltarea acestor competente atat pe parcursul stagiului, cat si dupa, dar si promovarea SEV in randul angajatorilor. De asemenea, s-a discutat foarte activ despre calitatea competentelor obtinute de voluntarii SEV pe perioada plecarii, mai exact cum acestea sunt vazute mai mult ca „soft skills” si cum pot fi folosite in cadrul interviului de angajare.

Participarea la seminar mi-a oferit si posibilitatea de a reflecta asupra situatiei lucratorilor de tineret, obstacolelor cu care se confrunta, intrucat aceasta profesie este relativ noua chiar si la nivelul tarilor vestice, cat si asupra diferentelor si asemanarilor multiple de implementare a SEV de la o tara la alta.

In ultimele doua zile ale intalnirii am lucrat mai intens la crearea brosurii SEV in care am urmarit sa inglobam, intr-un format structurat pe echipe, rezultatele obtinute in urma dezbaterilor: bune practici in SEV, relatia ONG-uri – voluntar – angajatori, suportul voluntarilor in gasirea unui loc de munca, promovarea si recunoasterea educatiei non-formale prin prisma SEV, recomandari pentru viitor etc. Aceasta brosura va deveni disponibila dupa autentificarea facuta de catre AN din Portugalia.

Experienta din Lisabona a insemnat si vizitarea Lisabonei, descoperirea culturii locale, vizitarea obiectivelor turistice, petrecerea unei seri la un restaurant traditional cu muzica si dans Fado, dar si cunoasterea de noi oameni interesanti si potentiali parteneri pentru proiecte de tineret. (text scris de Raul Drăgan)

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“EVS – A Bridge to Employability?!” is the name of the seminar that I attended between 4-9th of February and during which I represented A.C.T.O.R. and “Drums for Peace” international network. The project was organized in Lisbon by the National Agency for Youth and Sports in Portugal with financial support from Erasmus + programme of EC, and implemented in the 20th year of European voluntary service, with the meeting having taken place at the municipal youth centre.

There were present participants from 13 countries: Cyprus, Spain, Portugal, France, Romania, Germany, Bulgaria, Austria, Croatia, Hungary, Poland, Turkey and Estonia.

The seminar aimed at providing them with the opportunity of meeting and discussing issues related to European voluntary service in the context of labour market, and eventually creating an EVS brochure. The representatives of the above countries were leaders of organizations, project coordinators in the Erasmus +, especially EVS workers, employers, mentors, volunteers, representatives of youth departments under the municipalities, former EVS volunteers and other youth workers.

As for the involved working methods, the seminar focused on non-formal education which included group sessions, individual and team work, treasure-hunt, “NGO fair”, intercultural evening, story-telling, group reflection, self-evaluation etc.

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Through this seminar the participants sought to explore the topic of EVS from different perspectives provided by their own occupations/roles, and active involvement in the activities. This was done through exchange of good practices among participants, presentations of our own experiences with EVS, obstacles and challenges, effective ways of promoting EVS, recommendations for the actors involved in EVS etc. Besides all this, as the seminar name says it, an important objective was to offer a close focus to the EVS program in relation to the benefits EVS provides its beneficiaries with regard to employment after completing the voluntary service. Thus, throughout the project there were invited representatives of the PT National Agency in E +, of the youth centre of Lisbon and also the director for youth matters at the municipality. Together with them we approached various important topics such as the role of non-formal education in the lives of young people, ways of integrating it in schools, improving communication and cooperation between civil society and private and public institutions and politicians, promoting EVS among people with fewer opportunities etc. Another strongly debated topic was recognition of competences of former EVS volunteers in the labour market, how should the sending and hosting organizations help out the volunteer to identify and develop these skills, both during the training period and after, and also to promote EVS among employers. Likewise, we discussed very actively about the quality of skills EVS volunteers acquire during departure, exactly how they are perceived as “soft skills” and how they can be used in the employment interview.

The participation in the seminar offered me the possibility to reflect a little bit more on the situation of youth workers, obstacles they face (as this profession is relatively new even in the western societies), and the various differences and similarities encountered by them during EVS implementation from one country to another.

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In the last two days of the meeting we worked intensively on creating the EVS brochure in which we tried to add -by using a structured format worked out by our teams- the results from during the seminar, as for example: good practices in EVS, relationships between NGOs, volunteers and employers, support for volunteers in finding a job, promotion and recognition of non-formal education through the EVS, further recommendations for future projects etc. This brochure will become available after checkout and authentication done by the NA in Portugal.

My experience in Lisbon meant also the city visit, discovering local culture, sightseeing, having dinner at a traditional restaurant with Fado music and dance, but also discovering new interesting people and potential partners for future youth projects. (by Raul Drăgan)

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