Cultural Preparation in Mobilities


Semper Avanti is sending, almost monthly, groups of young polish students of the Lower Silesia Region abroad for short-term internship experiences.

This action is the pivot of the “Youth and Labour market” project, one of the three pillars of Semper Avanti work, together with “Youth and Democracy” and “Youth and Tolerance” projects. The aim of this is to prepare students at their last year of school to the challenge of finding their first jobs and obtaining work experience.

In this framework the partnership with other organizations and political institutions (such as ‘EuPQua ECVET – European Partnership for Quality and Implementation of the European Credit System in VET’ or ‘IMOVE – Innovation for Mobility in VET: Public and Private Partnerships for sustainable mobility’) is increasing the opportunities of international exchanges.


Especially remarkable is the collaboration with the Emilia Romagna region in Italy. Indeed Semper Avanti, in the last months, sent different groups of young people in the most important cities of the area, such as Bologna and Parma. The project is not limited only to the action of “sending” people but it involves also other activities. Between them it is crucial the pre-departure preparation which provides the essential tools that students will need. Usually the preparation includes around ten meetings of six hours each or generally a total of sixty hours. Here the main activity is English because every intern need to be able to communicate abroad using an international language focusing on the technical vocabulary interns will need on the working place. The second part of pre-departure meetings concerns the cultural preparation in order to make the cultural shock softer.


Cultural shock is something to don’t underestimate. Indeed for young students that are sometimes at their first experience abroad it is not easy to deal suddenly with the distance from home and with a new environment with different customs and traditions with unknown people. For this reason a cultural presentation of the hosting country is necessary, describing the habits of the area, the rules and most of all the beauties to discover and visit, the food to taste and the situations to enjoy. Also a basic introduction to local language is necessary in order to let the students be able to ask information and get what they need. Last but not the list, is to create before the departure a friendly and cooperative environment between participants.

 This is not only a working experience but it influences all the aspects of daily life creating new friendships, new bounds with places, opening minds and giving analytical and practical tools that will be useful in every situation of the future life.14328955_10210943835060122_2125423943_n


iMove – Making Mobility a Reality

iMove_LOGO e PAY OFFCreated as an idea to develop innovative solution to enhance learning mobility all around Europe, Imove’s project development stage is coming to an end. During these three years, all members show utmost effort to create a solution to answer the  demands of all parties in a learning mobility. Members of a learning mobility usually consist in young people, schools, companies and associations. Since all parties have different demands due to their nature, a need was growing to answer them all hence Imove was born.

iMove is an umbrella organisation bringing together stakeholders involved in the co-ordination of transnational learning mobility of students and staff vocational education (VET). It is a network promoting sustainable models to make learning mobility an opportunity provided by all vocational schools and training centres in Europe.

iMove’s legal status is an Association of Organisations founded under the Italian law. All iMove members must be organisations with a recognised legal status. The network is based in Bologna, where iMove originally started as a Leonardo project leaded by Emilia-Romagna Regional Government.

iMove supports the setting up of ‘mobility consortia’ to allow all VET providers in a local, regional or sectoral context to offer to their learners and staff mobility opportunities. iMove members are private and public organizations which have developed or wish to develop a mobility consortium within a specific context (eg. local, regional or sectoral level).

Thanks to iMove for VET schools in the local and regional communities involved it will become a usual practice the possibility to offer to interested students the opportunity of a training experience in Europe as part of their qualification. Such experience, particularly for youngsters, has a very strong impact on their personal development, flexibility and to open their mind towards the European labour market.


Vocational education training nowdays

Vocational Education & Training (VET), as its own name says, is addressed to those who want to keep educating themselves but in a field where they really feel like learning, vocationally. In the European Union this education is offered in multiple paths, so that everyone can find some studies in relation to their passion. When finishing secondary school, students can continue studying either for having a university degree or having some VET studies. All over the EU, an average of 50.4% decides to choose VET, and around a 0.68% of the EU’s PIB is invested in it through public funds (data from 2011). So, the scope of VET in the EU could be considered quite wide.

This data shows that more than the 50% of the students all over the EU would rather “work with their hands” (blue-collar). Here comes the issue; in general terms, society still considers there is more value in white-collars than in blue-collars. Moreover, blue-collar work is considered as a lower status. Mark Phillips, a teacher and Educational Journalist wrote about it in 2012 for the George Lucas Educational Foundation (we encourage you to read it). In his article, he wrote about the destroying effect that this way of thinking has on kids and on society; Kids would be coerced to choose university studies rather than VET, which would set aside the kid’s natural gifts. Meanwhile, nowadays in society technical skills are crucial, the ones which usually are developed in VETs. If we do not have those professionals, the future of the civilization and economy we are working for may be in danger.

There are varied types of intelligence and all deserve the respect of the people. Furthermore, if we want a healthy economy and society, we need to learn how to take advantage of all these intelligences without underestimating any of them because of their learning path. Each person has its own natural gifts and preferences, and as a society, we need to accept them and ensure that we are working on exploiting that potential.


In a previous post has been shown the importance and the benefits of cooperation, and a great example of it was the “i-Move program”. Today we’ll talk about “how to create a network” or how to organize in order work collaboratively.

A network implies the participation of at least 3 members, and many times happens to be a lot more. In case of i-Move, at first there are 11 members getting together but the network will probably grow up as it is opened to get more entities in. When so many organizations want to cooperate, at first it can be quite difficult. Although the main aim of the network will be the same for all the members, the “smaller objectives” can be different for everyone. Every member is different from each other and has its own needs, but when cooperating is important to “give and take” and to have clear what the aim of gathering together is.

Furthermore, an effective and well-defined organization is needed; the definition and division of tasks and workload, creating a good communication system, creating procedures for achieving the aim, defining procedures for assessing the whole process, etc.

Finally, the network needs to have a defined legal structure in order to proceed legally. The selection of such legal structure is often complicated; having a well defined aim of the network is helpful to begin, but there are multiple other aspects to take into account; number of employees, the selection and location of the headquarters, the seed capital required, the financial sources, and so on. Nevertheless, once again cooperating could be a “solution”; the collaboration of all the members when defining all those aspects is really helpful, as it enables to identify the legal structure that suits best for the network.blog_header