Preparation for Professional Training and Education for Citizenship – A European Experience

Almond Vocational Link Plymouth Erasmus Plus Partner UK

Almond Vocational Link Ltd, as host organization, received eight trainees from Portugal for a mobility placement programme in Plymouth,United Kingdom in the framework of the European Lifelong Learning Programme Leonardo Da Vinci. Two teachers of the Escola Tecnológica visited the students during the programme. They met the students at their workplaces and had the opportunity to speak with their mentors.

The pedagogical aim of the project was to advance the mobility of the students in the European Community and to increase the attractiveness, quality and efficiency of vocational educational systems and future chances of employability in the European Labour Market.

During the 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 a week of language training to prepare them for their work experience, they learned about working life by doing practices in companies located in Plymouth. They also achieved international professional competences. They learned how to behave and respect the internal rules of an organization, working in a team and social and intercultural skills.

It is more and more important to raise the awareness of the young generation for the importance of technical professions in the context of the European Labour Market. With the vocational training in the UK, the students had the opportunity to combine the theoretical knowledge gained at the School with the practical experience in a working environment.


Students who took part in European Lifelong Learning Programme Leonardo Da Vinci Mobility Work Experience in Plymouth, UK :

Eduardo Marques Bessa Web Design
Cátia Margarida Simões Felício IT and Information Systems
André Filipe Carreira da Graça IT Management
Ana Filipa Antunes Rosa IT Management
Sofia Kalidás Correia Barreto Management Technician
Accommodation

During their stay, the students were living in self-catering accommodation, in a shared student house and in bedsits in a host family. They were responsible for preparing their own meals and keeping their rooms tidy. They shared the kitchen and bathrooms with other students or family members. This accommodation type was chosen to give the students the opportunity to live independently, taking responsibility for themselves. All accommodation was in a close proximity to the work placements and the students could travel by local transport or walk.

Program

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESThe group arrived in Plymouth on the 24.10.2015 at 5:50 am at the Bretonside Bus Station. They received their welcome packs and were introduced to their accommodation providers. The welcome meeting was scheduled for 2:00 pm in order to give the participants some time to recover from the long travel. The accommodation providers brought the students to the City Business Park. After the meeting, in which we went through the student handbook with them, we took the group to a tour around Plymouth. We also went to the Travel Shop with them where they received the appropriate bus timetables and route maps for their travel to Almond and to their workplaces.

In the first week of their stay, the students had English lessons at Almond Vocational Link Ltd. Their teacher was Miroslava Short. The lessons took place from Monday, 27.10.2014, to Friday, 31.10.2014, from 09:00 am till noon. In the afternoons, the students had time to do their homework.On Monday, the 03.11.2014 at 09:00 am we took the students to their work placements and introduced them to their tutors.

From Monday, 03.11.2014 till Thursday, 20.08.2015, the students spent the weekdays at their work placements during the specified hours. Over Christmas, the students were allowed to travel home to Portugal in order to celebrate Christmas and New Year with their families. We organised the bus and flight tickets for the girls and they paid for them. Andre and Eduardo stayed in the U.K. and went to London instead for a few days.

Halloween Language Cafe

Every week on Thursdays between 16:00 and 17:00 hours all students came to our office for their one-to-one meetings. They completed evaluation forms and Almond staff went through the completed forms together with each of them. Afterwards, they had the opportunity to take part in our Language Café. In these events, they could socialise with students from other countries. Each week we are preparing something for these events. All activities in the Language Café are set up according the Montessori Methodology.

On Thursday, 20.10.2015 we had the group the office for a final one-to-one meeting and to complete the final evaluation. This was followed by the certificate ceremony. Each student received 2 certificates: one for the language course and one for the overall programme.

Summary

During their stay, the students learned a different work culture which certainly increases their chances on the European job market. They will be able to evidence with the Europasses that they are able to adapt themselves to foreign conditions. They managed to communicate with work colleagues, line managers, customers and their accommodation providers on a daily basis. They improved their speaking abilities and got used to different English accents.

Some of the students had 2 work placements, most of the time one after the other when one job was done, they moved on to the next. Apart from Ana, who did 2 websites at the same time. She did not want to give up her placement at Plymouth Play Association and stayed there during the morning and went to her other placement in the afternoon. She enjoyed creating both websites a lot and both employers appreciated her work for them.

All host companies were happy about the hard work and effort of the students put into their internships. All students left many positive impressions behind because of their knowledge, positive attitude and polite manners.We at Almond Vocational Link Ltd. are amazed by the personal development some of the students went through during their stay with us. We think that this project was very successful and that all parties, host companies, host families and students gained a great deal of positive experience.

We would like to thank the participants for their hard work and we wish them all the best for their future career and that they can accomplish all their expectations. The students integrated