The fourth EAEA Younger Staff Training brought ten young adult education professionals from all over Europe to Brussels. In presentations, workshops and meetings with representatives of European institutions, the participants were provided an opportunity to learn from each other and about civil society at the European level.
In a workshop which was spread over three days of the training, the participants exchanged their expertise on adult education in their countries. "I am very surprised how different adult education in structured in European countries", said one of the participants after the workshop. "There is so much that we can learn from each other!"
Getting to know European policy making at close range
The participants were introduced to the European Civil Society Platform on Lifelong Learning (EUCIS-LLL) and SOLIDAR. The participants were also invited to the SOLIDAR round-table discussion at the European Parliament on the topic “Building Learning Societies – Investing in Education and Lifelong Learning”.
The discussion was hosted by MEP Momchil Nekov (S&D, BG). "We see a need for active inclusion for underprivileged groups of our society. We have to invest in people, and we have to find systems for the recognition of non-formal and informal learning," Mr. Nekov stated in his opening remarks.
Familiarising with the European institutions
In a meeting with Mr. Graham Nequest from the Council of the European Union, the younger staff learned more about the work of the Council of the European Union and how it is interlinked with other EU institutions. Mr. Nequest, who has work experience as an adult educator himself, also explained the main EU policies on education and training.
Ms. Martina Ni'Chellaigh from the European Commission’s Adult Education Unit gave a presentation on her work. "The civil society has a very important role in advocating adult education," she emphasised when explaining the structures of the new European Commission.
Connecting theory and practice
This year’s Younger Staff Training included a training session on Erasmus+ applications in which the participants learned how to design and improve their project applications. To illustrate practical project work, Tania Berman, the EAEA Policy Officer, presented the main steps in the three year project AE-PRO. Advocacy work and raising awareness for adult education was the main topic discussed in a session on the practical political work of adult education organisations.
During the common lunch and dinner on the days of the training, the participants had the possibility to share their own experience as adult education professionals in their countries in a more informal atmosphere.
"Now I really feel able to explain to my colleagues at home how European adult education works," said one participant at the end of the four days training.
The 4th EAEA Younger Staff Training took place in Brussels between 2 and 5 December 2014.
Text: Raffaela Kihrer
Photo: Valentina Chanina