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A Bridge for Gaps
Date du début: 15 févr. 2016, Date de fin: 14 août 2016 PROJET  TERMINÉ 

A Bridge for Gaps was a project designed and coordinated by e.p.a. - European Playwork Association/Up4Arts and MAPP Macedonia Anti Poverty Platform, with the purpose of assisting 50 young participants between the ages of 18-30 in improving their chances of employment and increase their skills for entrepreneurship. Using non-formal education in a youth and cultural exchange setting, e.p.a. and MAPP's worked together to deliver a shared vision, helping young people combat unemployment and poverty through activities that allow individuals to improve their personal key skills, competences and realise their talents. The individuals chosen to take part on the exchange were picked on account of their diverse backgrounds. Some were students, some self employed, some in full time or part time work and some unemployed. This mix provided a wealth of shared experience, allowing participants to get a cultural cross section of the job and employment prospects in each country and from the eyes of the participants themselves. During our last exchange in Austria hosted by Art Mine we found one of the recurring issues in young people was unemployment. During that exchange we met members of MAPP a Macedonian organisation with whom we share many core principles. We found that Macedonia has one of the highest rates of youth unemployment in Europe with many young people choosing to leave the country to find work and this realisation prompted the Bridge4Gaps project and our collaboration with MAAP. Our project provided young people who might not otherwise have access to such learning the necessary skills to find sustainable work, developing their skills and confidence using non formal education, peer learning and creative skills workshops to help bring the most out of each participant. We put a focus on language and communication, presentation, time and project management, number and budgeting, team leader and team work skills, problem solving, self-esteem and confidence, promotion, flexibility and adaptability, critical thinking and self-evaluation, learning to learn and international friendship. We organised an 8 day long programme of activities with an extra day either side for arrivals and departures. These activities included creative workshops led by the parter country leaders who were of various ages and experiences. The workshop leaders were chosen to deliver these workshops on account of their experience, knowledge and skills in these areas and covered learning topics using creative tools. These workshops included business planning using a make believe market place, elevator pitch workshop using creative writing and listening skills to improve confidence and clear communication, learning to learn and improve cognitive ability through juggling, a role play workshop exploring team roles, civic responsibility and empathy in the workplace, and a discussion about gender inequality in the workplace exploring international cohesion, better understanding of gender roles in modern society and a better understanding from participants about their peers experiences. We also organised a cultural city visit where we spent time in Skopje, connecting with the Macedonian people and experiencing day to day life, sharing the news of our exchange and asking people about their own experiences. During the workshop, we encouraged participants to create their own workshop programme, essentially putting in to practice the transferrable skills that they had developed so far. We generated an extra 23 hours worth of optional participant led workshops with divers and creative themes. Participants took control of their own workshop topics, advertising their activity, creating the relevant risk assessments and managing their resources and time. We had over 20 independent and group led business models over the course of the exchange. Over 85% of participants said that they felt challenged, a sense of empowerment, and feel ready to put the things that they have learned in to practice. Over two thirds said that they feel ready to take on a more active roll in society and only 7 people from the exchange did not feel that their skills for entrepreneurship had greatly increased from the activities. During the workshop, friendships among participants and other organisations were strengthened. We started putting in to action some ideas for future workshops and exchange projects, in the same way that A Bridge 4 Gaps was developed and we made arrangements to meet each other after the exchange. The participants so far are still in contact using Facebook groups and the messenger service to keep each other updated. We had a visit from 2 Austrian participants and showed them around our city, Liverpool, to further the exchange experience. We have had 2 articles published about the exchange, one in Poland and one in Austria. We are waiting for a response to confirm an article for release in UK to share the projects results.



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