iMove: join the network!

“I have great news to give today: Erasmus will be in all vocational schools and training centres in Europe. How does it sound? Brave? Absurd? To me it sounds like the future and I’ll share with you why and how I believe that’s going to happen sooner than we imagine.”

What is iMove? It is a project started in 2014 that officially gave birth to a network on the 17th and the 18th of November 2016. The iMove network is formed by public and private organisations interested in making the Erasmus culture not only an experience accessible to everyone, but also an integral part of everybody’s learning path. Today, iMove links together organisations from different European countries which work energetically in the field of vocational training mobility.

Just few days left until you can become a member of iMove Network. The project was designed to make a model out of the positive mobility experiences organised through a systemic approach: a public or private centralised service working on a territory, aiming to support mobility, and equipped to meet the needs of many training centres. In 2014, these services, based on the partnership of different actors involved in planning and realising mobility experiences, were defined as mobility consortia by the Erasmus+ programme.

iMove has always pursued an ambitious aim: linking together many mobility consortia in order to create a ‘consortium of consortia’. Different organisations working together can achieve the clear goal defined by the European Strategy ET2020: within 2020, the rate of students from vocational training courses who have undertaken a mobility experience during their study must reach 6%.
In 2010, the European average rate was 0,7% only, but we hope that our dream of making Erasmus mobility accessible to everyone will soon turn into reality.

iMove is definitely a big step ahead towards that goal. We believe in it, and you? #Makemobilityareality


iMove Launch Conference – a quick sum up

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On 16th-18th November 2016 a group of members and employees of Semper Avanti from Wrocław, Poland took a part in iMove Launch Conference in Bolonia, Italy. Mentioned event summed up all the development of the network since it creation in 2014 and was also an opportunity to talk about its future. It was an amazing experience that helped to gather lots of organizations from across Europe and made us realized what kind of opportunities but also obstacles (that we need to overcome) are waiting for network’s members in the future.

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

From the opening speech from Francesca Bergamini to the lunch buffet during which networking magic was happening you could see and hear that phrase „Culture of mobility” (which was used to sum up the aim of iMove) has a really deep meaning to the participants.

Welcome desk_IMN.jpgDuring many important presentations and lectures all participants (already belonging to the network and ones that are interested in joining it) were able to learn what results iMove project already achieved and what to do to start amazing adventure that being a member of iMove network can be.

Many of speakers – from representatives of Emilia Romagna Region to members of invited organizations from whole Europe – believed that mobility can be a key to resolve many issues that currently our continent needs to face. It was inspiring to hear so many people with such strong motivation and faith in projects conducted by them.

From the really detailed speech done by Gianluca Calzolari participants could learn that known to many of us Europass format is going to change. The approach is to change it from document based to service based so it will be more useful for future candidates and employers.

Uniser staff_IMN.jpgWe also get to know the winners of Learning Mobility Video Contest. The winner was Blanca from Spain with her short movie about project in Cyprus that she participated in. She won an iPad but also an amazing experience and a prestige opportunity to share her story with us. Her movie is a good example of the impact that our projects have on young people’s life. We were also able to see movies of Francesco and Anna that won second and third place.

This wonderful event took place in marvelous auditorium of Palazzo d’Accursio and gave many partners to meet and talk about the future of the network and their projects. Let’s hope that they will keep up Energy that they have shown during the official and not-so-official discussions and will really work to help young European people to get new skills and change the world.

We should never forget about hashtag #Makemobilityareality created for this conference and tasty polish sweets that help many of us to raise sugar level on the last day of conference.

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.

The iMove effect

It’s always difficult to explain iMove in few words and how it changed our way to work with IVET mobility. That’s because of the many technical aspects involved. So I though I could give readers a quick picture of the “iMove effect” just describing what actually happened in our context during the last few years.

I am from in Emilia-Romagna, one of the biggest regions of Italy with around 5 millions inhabitants. I work for Uniser, an organisation specialized in development and management of learning mobility.
Requests of support from VET schools for providing their students with internships experiences abroad through the Leonardo Programme were becoming more and more frequent.
So in 2011 we started researching how we could offer them the technical assistance they needed. At that time very few schools all over Emilia-Romagna were developing mobility projects and those who did were relying on voluntary work from their teachers. At the same time the workload required was consistent and hard to be covered with the management costs foreseen by the LLP programme. Of course we couldn’t take for granted that all schools would have seen their project approved, while it was pretty clear that many costs would have raised proportionally to the number of schools (applications management, accounting, reporting, etc.). As a result planning was difficult and the activity quite risky in terms of sustainability, but most of all a huge work had to be done to give mobility opportunities to only 10 schools while hundreds of them were sharing the same needs. It was early 2012 when that maybe another way was possible…

Between 2012 and 2014 in Emilia-Romagna just 2 projects for IVET mobility were approved involving some schools mainly from only one city in the whole region.
In February 2014 there’s the iMove kickoff meeting in Bologna. In late 2015, not even two years later we have a regional network with nearly 90 schools and training centers that we provided already with more than 500 mobilities, and it is only the beginning…

This is the “iMove effect” and Emilia-Romagna is not the only example of it. You’ll see more of them during the iMove conference in Hamburg, Germany, next 27th of November 2015.
Hope to see you there!