Counsellors on the move
Vocational and educational counsellors have been both motivated and dedicated when it comes to experiencing first hand what their colleagues in other countries are doing and how they manage their daily work. Grants from the EU’s Leonardo da Vinci (LdV) programme for vocational training have proven extremely useful for this purpose.
Academia is one of many LdV supported projects in guidance, involving over 20 European countries, it’s the main objective being making it easier for counsellors to visits other countries, thus enhancing their skills through professional experience. Each of the participating country organises at least one course (several countries offer more) of a weeks duration where they introduce their system of education and training, the situation on the labour market and how guidance fits into both of these.
More often than not, each course has a different main theme (e.g. adult guidance, the transition from school to work, multicultural guidance, lifelong guidance and partnerships between schools and the labour market). Most of the courses are offered in English but French, German and Spanish courses are also on offer.
The host country is not the only one getting some attention at the course. Participants are obliged to make a short presentation about their own systems and how they fit into them. This gives them a valuable exercise in seeing their background from an outsider’s perspective and gives focus to new possible angles of their work.
The Academia programme has its own website http://www.academia-europe.eu/
, where a catalogue of all offers can be found, along with information about the coordinators in each country, application forms and information about deadlines and procedures. The next deadline for applications will be on the 15th of November and all offers will be on line on the 30th of September.
Counsellors apply for grants in their home countries and list their preferred place to visit (three options). Each coordinator selects those who get a grant and sends the relevant information to the hosting country.
In many member states, additional options of mobility grants for counsellors are on offer. These are either national (e.g. from their labour unions) or international (e.g. other LdV grants). No complete overview of such grants exists, but by contacting their Euroguidance centres, counsellors should be able to get the relevant information.
Dóra Stefánsdóttir, Euroguidance Iceland