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The Euroguidance Network

October 2009

In this edition:

Quality framework for mobility providers in Flanders

One of the outcomes of the conference ‘De grote trek’ in 2008 was that there was a need for a quality framework for mobility providers. It should be practical and user friendly, so that different players in the field of mobility can use it in their own context, amongst their own target groups. In addition, it must be adaptable to different pedagogical approaches.

Creation of the quality framework

Euroguidance Flanders is an active member of cooperation platform ‘Colourful Flanders’. In Colourful Flanders working groups were formed with volunteers from different mobility providers, and several charters and documents on quality in mobility were analysed and discussed.

This work resulted in a new conference ‘De grote trek 2’ on the 4th of March 2009 in Brussels, where the quality framework was presented and accepted by the 150 participants.

How can the quality framework be used?

The quality framework can be used both by mobility providers and by young people as a checklist for choosing the right opportunity. It will also inspire local, regional and national authorities in financing and organising mobility for young people.

Furthermore it has the aim to inform the general public on what a quality mobility experience really means, and what the added value can be. Therefore 10 cartoons are designed by the Flemish artist Stijn Gisquière to get the message through.

The Flemish quality framework contains 10 fundamental values and principles:
  1. Accessibility meaning that motivated young people should get an opportunity to go abroad. This is achieved by adapting communication, content and financial contributions.
  2. Participation of the young people in the design and implementation of the project will foster its accessibility and positive long term effects.
  3. All stages of the mobility experience, including the preparation, stay and the follow-up are equally important and enhance the quality and the learning opportunities for all partners involved.
  4. Cooperation and good communication between partners in Belgium and the linking country at all stages of mobility is important.
  5. It is important to outline the goals of the project, the expectations of everyone involved, the role which they play and their responsibilities. An open dialogue with respect for everyone’s individuality. A certain degree of flexibility is also necessary, as practise can be more complicated than what is outlined on paper initially.
  6. Mobility will have an impact on local communities which can be positive or negative. It can have a socio-cultural impact on behaviour, clothing and technologies. It can support the local economy. The way the young people travel and consume can have an ecological impact. In organising mobility, one should always look for the most durable solutions and take potential negative effects into account. The partners abroad play the most important role in assessing the impact.
  7. A stay abroad can be at the base of a learning process where the young person develops competences which are important for personal and/or professional development. Mobility forms a fruitful ground for the development of world citizenship. Young people should be motivated to look behind stereotypes and prejudices. As a world citizen, a young person can spread a more positive approach on foreign cultures with his friends, family and community. (S)he can illustrate this more positive message while abroad.
  8. Research has shown that young people undertaking mobility require practical information linked to food, health, housing, travelling. The providers of mobility have to create a safe environment for the young person and provide all practical information for the stay abroad. Also the young person has to observe the safety rules and engagements.
  9. In order to provide quality guidance to a young person, qualified staff is necessary. Quality guidance will bring added value to the stay abroad and contribute to a positive impact. The staff must get the opportunity to continuously undertake further training, and to meet each other in order to exchange experiences and good practices across sectors and organisational boundaries.
  10. A system for monitoring and evaluation is necessary to know whether goals have been reached, to react quickly when problems arise and to assess the impact of the mobility. Generally speaking monitoring during the stay and evaluation after the stay abroad is seldom used to learn how to adapt and improve the mobility experience of other youngsters. It is also important here to involve the partners at the destination side.
This quality framework can however not help when external factors like natural disasters disturb the mobility process. There are many obstacles, for example social security laws and complex procedures in acquiring a grant which can have a negative impact on mobility.

It is also important to pinpoint certain obstacles young people originating from outside the EU may experience when they want to come to Europe, e.g. visas and financial problems. This quality framework is also a call for action directed to all competent authorities to address these obstacles.

Jef Vanraepenbusch
Euroguidance Flanders