North West Regional College, based in Derry, Limavady & Strabane, has been bucking the trend of distancing ourselves from the rest of Europe. The College is a partner in the Erasmus backed Incluvet project along with educational establishments from Italy, France, Poland, Austria and Spain. We had the pleasure of hosting one of the meetings in Derry in February of this year – other meetings took place in Suresnes near Paris and in Campobasso in southern Italy.
The project focuses on training staff working with the target group to make WBL experiences more fruitful by
• developing flexible pathways which connect the school curriculum to the workplace for students with learning disabilities;
• fostering the implementation of European wide principles and tools to encourage an innovative approach to foreign exchange programmes to facilitate access for students with learning disabilities;
• increasing the possibility of students with learning disabilities participating in an EU Mobility Experience;
• supporting mentors and staff in businesses and host organizations during the work placement.
Margaret Welsh-Rush and Jonathan Moore have been representing the college in the two-year project working with the other partners to produce the following publications:
- INCLUVET Didactical Guidelines for training VET staff working with students with learning disabilities;
- INCLUVET Training Curriculum for VET staff working with students with learning disabilities in WBL programmes;
- INCLUVET in-company Mentors Vademecum - a very practical handbook to be distributed to mentors in order to support students with learning disabilities throughout their internship;
- INCLUVET Mobility Vademecum for accompanying persons. The aim of this handbook is to provide support to the person accompanying the student and to the host organization.
For more details of these publications click here
As part of the project Margaret attended a training session in Graz in Austria hosed by one of the partners Jugend am Werk which provides training and employment opportunities, care, leisure and living services for students with learning needs.
She visited a number of business ventures facilitated by JaW –such as a café, shop and an organic farm – where all the staff have learning needs and was most impressed by the level of involvement and inclusion.
We held a dissemination event in November to publicise the materials to college staff and invited guests - representatives of local agencies whose role is to support students with learning difficulties such as Disability Action, Cedar Foundation, RNIB, MENCAP etc
As well as disseminating the project outcomes guest speakers also included NWRC staff members Willie O’Donnell and Danny Lyttle who have had practical experience of taking students with learning needs on European trips.
Star of the show was Claire McMahon (pictured above during her presentation) who spoke about her experience on a project in Denmark and how it had increased her confidence, her independence, her workskills and her employability.
North West Regional College
North West Regional College is a further and higher education college in the North-West region of Northern Ireland. Over the past 100 years, NWRC has provided both school leavers and adults in the region with a wide range of educational courses and learning opportunities. The College has a strong ethos on diversity and inclusion, championing the belief that learning should be accessible to all.
"We have set our sights on a future where learning will become truly international while also being individual to each learner - a future where we continue to be at the heart of the community by playing a role to enhance the ambitions of young people and adults. No matter who you are, we are ready to enable you to reach your full potential." - Leo Murphy, Principle of NWRC
Margaret has worked at NWRC for over 20 years and her current role is Curriculum Manager with responsibility for Essential Skills
Jonathan Moore has worked in Student Services at NWRC for over 20 years
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