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A deeper look at new opportunities for international adult learning initiatives with Erasmus+

The deadline for submitting proposals is 11 May 2021.

A deeper look at new opportunities for international adult learning initiatives with Erasmus+

For the last seven years, many adult and vocational education providers have openly asked for a revision of the Erasmus+ rules and actions for the active participation of adult learners at international mobility programmes. Indeed, all those who had the chance to be involved in the former Lifelong Learning Programme remembered the impact and benefits of actions such as the Grundtvig Senior Volunteering Projects and the Leonardo Mobility Projects for People in the Labour Market!

The former gave any organisation working in the field of adult education the chance to apply for a 2 year long volunteering project aimed at providing an exchange opportunity for volunteers aged over 50. The exchanges were for 3-8 weeks at a time and enabled the volunteers to learn and to share knowledge and experience in a European country other than their own. It was a very special initiative of the LLP that also allowed for a lasting partnership to be created between the host and sending organisations around specific topics or a target group. It also enabled the local communities involved in the exchanges to draw on the potential of senior citizens as a source of knowledge, competence and experience.

On another level, vocational centres active in continuous vocational education and training, largely exploited the so-called PLM (People in the Labour Market) action of the Leonardo programme to organise work-based learning activities for many different target groups especially from disadvantaged backgrounds, who had the opportunity to spend short term periods abroad and be reskilled or upskilled so that they could keep an active role in the labour market.

With the new Erasmus+ programme of the European Union, it is now possible to submit KA1 project proposals that include activities similar to those described above and many others. The deadline for submitting proposals is the 11th of May. You can find a list of all the types of activities that can be supported by Erasmus+ funds below, both as part of short-term projects and accredited projects. (More information available through the Erasmus+ National Agencies or the official Programme Guide)

MOBILITY FOR LEARNERS AND STAFF IN ADULT EDUCATION 

Staff Mobility:

  • Job shadowing (2 to 60 days)
  • Teaching or training assignments (2 to 365 days)
  • Courses and training (2 to 30 days)

Learner Mobility:

  • Group mobility of adult learners (2 to 30 days, at least two learners per group)
  • Individual learning mobility of adult learners (2 to 30 days)

Other supported activities:

  • Invited experts (2 to 60 days)
  • Hosting teachers and educators in training (10 to 365 days)
  • Preparatory visits

MOBILITY FOR LEARNERS AND STAFF IN VOCATIONAL EDUCATION AND TRAINING (Including C-VET)

Staff Mobility:

  • Job shadowing (2 to 60days)
  • Teaching or training assignments (2 to 365 days)
  • Courses and training (2 to 30 days)

Learner Mobility:

  • Participation in skills competitions (1 to 10 days)
  • Short-term learning mobility of VET learners (10 to 89 days)
  • Long-term learning mobility of VET learners (ErasmusPro) (90 to 365 days)

Other supported activities:

  • Invited experts (2 to 60 days)
  • Hosting teachers and educators in training (10 to 365 days)
  • Preparatory visits

Most types of activities available are outgoing mobility activities. This means that the applicant organisation will act as a sending organisation: it will select participants and send them to a hosting organisation abroad. In addition, there are special types of activities that allow applicant organisations to invite experts, teachers and educators in training to their organisation. The purpose of incoming activities is not to create two-way exchanges, but rather to bring in people who can help develop and internationalise the applicant organisation. To make the process of finding partners easier, you can use the partner search tool of EPALE.

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It is a great step forward that adult learners are now allowed to participate in KA1 mobility projects, but access is limited to those adult learners "with fewer opportunities, in particular low-skilled adult learners". The 2021 guide gives a general principle regarding the term "low-skilled adult learners" which is "persons that have not completed at least an upper secondary education programme". NA are adopting this principle as rule, and therefore not any adult person enrolled in an adult education programme at the sending organisation will be eligible to participate.

Adult Education organisations should go on asking for equitable and open access to the programme for adult learners. This is more coherent with the fact that longlifelearning is a potential tool for sustainable development of our society. Fortunately, the group of adult learners with post secondary studies is bigger than the one of those who have not completed at least un upper secondary education and, being a positive aspect the fact that the low-skilled are invited to participate, it is a discrimination that the programme limits the access to the bigger group of adult learners in Europe. 

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