OPEN : OPportunities through European Networking

Welcome to the OPEN website, an Erasmus + strategic partnership for adult education

A 36-month project : From September 1st 2015 to August 31st 2018

The project aims to promote EMPLOYMENT, SELF EMPLOYMENT and the use of international NETWORKS, to foster employment in SMEs across Europe. LANGUAGE and IT SKILLS are vital, as are self confidence and a spirit of entrepreneurship.

Bearing in mind the current economical environment, all the centres have pointed out the lack of support in this area  and have decided there is a common need to provide information and encouragement to help their students GAIN ACCESS TO EMPLOYMENT either at home or abroad, or aid their students in SETTING UP THEIR OWN BUSINESS and creating self employment.

Six training centres or language schools will work together in six different European countries (France, Spain, Ireland, Italy, Germany and The Netherlands) so that their language teachers and adult learners can study and compare :

  • how and why people have successfully found a job through conversations with students they have trained who have been recently employed
  • how to set up one's own business : exchange of creative and special ideas, or best practice for getting a foot in the door in another member country (what is promising, what is not working), through talks with successful entrepreneurs
  • how to reduce obstacles (inhibition thresholds and real challenges),

in order to provide their students with help and support.

Over the 3 years this project will run they will meet in turn in each country. Two or three teachers and six learners from the other participating countries will get together over 5 days and interview key speakers from local SMEs and organisations connected to employment. They will also be in contact with the local Chambers of Commerce (and/or Chambers of industry and Craft, Chambers of Agriculture, local authorities), special organisations providing support to young people, job seekers, women, and/or any people desiring to set up their own business.

The format of the visits consists in:

  • having language activities so that people can feel confident with a foreign language in real situations,
  • performing and filming interviews from former students who have found employment (in their country or abroad), people who have set up their own business and managers of companies talking about what skills they are looking for,
  • writing the transcripts of the interviews and have them translated into the other national languages by the students,
  • creating and maintaining a website with the help of a professional, in English, with translations in the other 5 languages gathering all the information collected, the contacts of the participants, advice and reports on good practices, and enabling interactive sessions.

The learners will be in charge of filming the interviews and writing up the transcriptions and translations. Each national coordinator (a teacher) will monitor the workload for his/her country and ensure that everything is carried out in their national language. The general coordinator (a teacher) will monitor the total project, ensuring that, for each visit, the corresponding tasks have been carried out and uploaded on the website.

The expected impact of such a project is :

For teachers :

  • The website and social networks used will be kept alive beyond the lifetime of the project to be part of their teaching tools,
  • the videos and the website will be used in class, and will help them to answer calls for special training sessions, highlighting the further use of the tools they have created,
  • they will get a better knowledge of different local backgrounds throughout Europe,
  • they will have the opportunity to teach a foreign language in real situations and bring their students not only to the country of the language they study but also to a professional environment with real job or business creation opportunities.
  • they will be in a position to bring information about the European job market through real examples in different European countries,
  • they will enlarge their personal and professional contacts networks throughout Europe.

For learners :

  • Their confidence in language and IT skills is increased
  • The business aspects of language skills will be enhanced
  • People will be encouraged to think about starting their own business, thery will have the chance to use their skills (in their own or a European member country), they will be aware of the opportunities offered by the European market which facilitates the free movement of people
  • They will make genuine contacts and friendships which will enable them to consider of the opportunity of really moving to work abroad.

For stakeholders :

  • Professional organisations will benefit from a direct link with teachers and learners, they have a better knowledge of the way people are trained in the framework of further education and vocational training.
  • They will develop a network of contacts abroad with schools and students, as well as with other SMEs, sometimes sharing the same type of activity.

Once the project is over, students and teachers will go on working on the website created, they will go on consulting it and interacting with in order to share their own experience, their decision to go abroad for professional purposes...