Almond Vocational Link Ltd, as a host organization, received fifteen trainees from a vocational school in Italy for an Erasmus Plus mobility placement in Plymouth, United Kingdom. The Italian sending organisation provided the students with a tutor – Teresa Ancona, who stayed with the group during for the duration of the project. She met all the students at their work placements and had the opportunity to speak with their mentors. Teresa also attended all events and cultural trips organised by Almond Vocational Link Ltd.
The aim of this project was to give the students invaluable practical experience within the Tourism specialisation. The students we received had a vast array of skills and our company provided them with placements as room stewards in National Trust Properties, event organisers and receptionists.
During their stay in the UK, the beneficiaries had the opportunity to put in practice all the competences, skills and knowledge that they acquired during the time of their studies. After preparatory 7 days of language training, the students started practical work experience in reputable Plymouth companies. The participants achieved international professional competences, learned how to behave and respect the internal rules of an organization, improved their skills concerning working in a team as well as social and intercultural skills.
First days in Plymouth
The group arrived in Plymouth on the 20.07.2015 at around midnight at City Business Park in Plymouth. They received their welcome packs and were introduced to their host families. The welcome meeting was scheduled for Tuesday, 21.07.2015 at 2:00 pm in order to give the participants some time to recover from the long travel.
After the welcome meeting, we treated the group to a tour around Plymouth and its historical waterfront. We also visited the City Bus Travel Shop where the students received the appropriate bus timetables and route maps.
During their stay, the students were living with host families. They shared their rooms and choose the full board option, which meant receiving breakfast, packed lunch and a cooked dinner in the evening.
“Our accommodation is the best! The house is very tidy, we have two bathrooms so one is always available. I like my room and the house, my bed is really comfortable, the bed sheets are very clean. Our host family’s home is equipped to cover all our needs. The food quality is good, our host father is a chef and I like everything he cooks.”
By Gian Paolo
“The quality of food in my host family is very good. The meals are wholesome, fresh, delicious and very rich. The breakfast is very good for me because it’s very similar to my Italian breakfast. The staff in my work placement were very friendly. I want to work again for this great organisation. All the tasks met my expectations.”
All accommodation was as close to the work placement as possible and the students could travel easily by local transport. Unfortunately, the National Trust properties were situated on the outskirts of town which meant extended travel period.
To prepare them for their practical experience, the students took part in 21 hours of English Language training with one of our qualified teachers. The students were divided into 2 groups of 7 & 8 to maximise their potential progress and prepare a course tailored to their level of English.
The language training was better than I expected! I liked the lessons because I felt involved thanks to my knowledgeable teacher. Before coming to England, I didn’t use English much because I was scared of making mistakes and now I am overcoming my fears!
Monitoring and sociocultural activities
Once a week our students took part in their one-to-one meetings with a designated Almond Cocational Link representative. The aim of the meetings was to track the student’s progress and satisfaction with the services provided to them. The weekly sessions allow us to catch up with our participants and make sure everything is running smoothly.
Every Thursday, Almond Vocational Link organises a weekly sociocultural event called Plymouth Language Café. We encourage all of our student to take part as it is a great opportunity for them to socialise, integrate, improve English, practice conversational skills, and learn more about the British culture. Each week, we try to plan a different activity that would be of interest to our students.
Erasmus Plus Mobility Work Experience in Tourism
“I like my work placement and the team us very friendly and helpful. It has met my expectations. I’m improving my English and communication skills. I’m working together with the other volunteers helping with craft activities and working as a room guide. All the people I met here were lovely and helpful. I would work for this organisation again, but would like to have the possibility to stay much longer. “
My experience in Plymouth was very good and important to me. The accommodation was good and clean, and my host family friendly and patient. I liked my work (..) I met many friendly people. My work experience was fantastic because I learnt how to organise events for children and how to interact with children, it was important to me.
On Monday, 24.08.2015 we had the final one-to-one meeting with the group to evaluate the group’s progress and receive feedback in regards to the services we provided. Afterwards we held a certificate ceremony to award the participants for taking part in English Language Training and Erasmus Plus Work Experience Mobility.