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EVS in Euromed as a Self-Directed Learning experience
Date du début: 1 août 2015, Date de fin: 31 déc. 2015 PROJET  TERMINÉ 

In a world that is rapidly changing one of the most crucial key competences to develop is learning to learn – you could call it a ‘meta competence’ meaning that once we know how to learn we can easily acquire other competences. Nowadays people, and especially young people, have to adopt a life-long learning approach. Very often young people who do or did not well in school (the formal education system) feel they cannot learn or don’t have the learning skills they need to learn what they would like or need. They don’t know what their talents and passions are, what their life mission is, what learning goals they want to set for themselves, let alone how to achieve those goals. In order for young people to develop their learning to learn competence they need a great deal of support from non-formal educators so they can fully develop their potential, experience joy and challenge in learning situations and have complete ownership over the learning process. The high levels of youth employment are a big problem on both sides of the Mediterranean Sea. In EU, high school drop-out rates reduce the boost that young people and economies need from education to stand up to internationally competitive markets. One of the reasons for high levels of unemployment for youth and the educated in the MEDA countries is the persistent gap between the skills acquired at university and the requirements of business. Enterprises often cite lack of suitable skills as an important constraint to hiring. There is a high degree of skills mismatches between formal education and the labour market in Euromed in general. European Voluntary Service or EVS is a complex and challenging self-directed learning experience in which the volunteers improve and acquire competences for their personal, educational and professional development. EVS gives young people the chance to move to & live in a different country in order to learn, which for many reasons is not always easy in a Euromed context. One of the most important aspects of this “learning service” is that the volunteers become aware of their own learning and learn how to take responsibility for it. It is, at the same time, an empowerment and entrepreneurship experience. A quality EVS experience is a Self Directed Learning (SDL) experience meaning that the volunteers define their own learning needs and how to fulfill them, which volunteers generally aren't prepared for. Neither are many mentors or the organizations supporting them. Guiding and supporting this new process requires a specific approach from mentors and trainers in EVS cycle, as well as other actors that are directly involved in this process. We felt there is a need to train the different actors in EVS (coordinators from sending and hosting organisations who are responsible for training mentors, mentors, trainers, …) in supporting EVS as a (self-directed) learning proces. Therefore we organized a 8 day training course from 17 till 24 November 2015 in Essaouira (Morocco) to train 20 EVS actors (coordinators of hosting and sending organisations, mentors, trainers,...) from 4 different countries (Belgium, Greece, Morocco and Jordan) on the topic of EVS as a self-directed learning experience in Euromed. By experiencing a self-directed learning experience, the participants explored the power of SDL, they were introduced to the Youthpass process and learned coaching techniques to support the (self-directed) learning process of EVS volunteers in the Euromed context. We tried to establish an international network of EVS actors in Euromed and raised awareness on the self-development opportunities that European and Euromed voluntary service offers for young people to improve their chances in life, especially to get better access to the labour market. The result of this training that we spread and will be used further is a draft summary of what self-directed learning is and what tools can be used by EVS-mentors in the different phases of an EVS-project in Euromed context.



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