Internships abroad for young people with fewer opportunities

Organisation and country where the good practice has been implemented: Centro San Viator

Title: Internships abroad for young people with fewer opportunities ( social exclusion, mental illness, intellectual disabilities..)

Main Theme/Area of intervention: Social Inclusion

Main objectives:

  1. Offer young people with fewer opportunities the possibility of doing their non-work internships abroad thanks to the Erasmus + program.
  2. Introduce young people to the world of work and an industry by offering them an understanding of workplace culture.
  3. Improve your social skills, general and job-specific knowledge in the workplace.
  4. Improve their autonomy and ability to function in the environment in an appropriate way.
  5. Work the soft skills in a real context favoring a comprehensive training of young people.

 

Target groups addressed: All students must have the opportunity to participate in international mobility regardless of the economic or social situation of the family. The training center must be a facilitator to assist in the process of preparing for mobility.

In order to select the participants, we propose the following criteria:

o Student social skills: predisposition, motivation …

o Attitude.

o Academic level.

o Lack of assistance.

o Positive discrimination to promote gender equality, ethnicity, religion, disability and sexual orientation.

 

The tutors conduct informal interviews with all interested students to learn about their motivations, interests, etc. while also informing them individually of what their responsibilities and tasks will be in the companies in which they will do the internship abroad. It is important that students and family know the details of the trip in regards to accommodation, travel, companies etc …That is why, before the realization of mobility, we organize a meeting with families and students to answer questions and provide the maximum possible information.

The experience in student mobility has made us aware of the importance of a minimum language knowledge of the host country. However, the profile of students with disabilities or learning difficulties make the course offered by the OLS platform not the most appropriate, so our recommendation is to offer them language courses funded by each school.

Main activities necessary for its realisation: Our project Aurrerantz + has evolved, grown and adapted to the new needs that our students have demanded. As an example of that we could point that this year we have decided to include a group of students with a new profile. Since 2016 we haven teaching “professionalism certificates” to students with intellectual disability who already are working in protected companies and they need to get their training accredited. To accomplish this task we will count with our European partners, who offer our students, and now, also our teachers, the chance to extend their academic training in other countries.

We want to offer the participants European work experience that enables them to improve their professional competences and increases the opportunities to get a job. We have chosen different types of mobilities in each case:

1.- VET students who will have their work placement in companies abroad. The students will be divided according two different profiles:

a.- Young people between 16 and 21 years old, mentally handicapped enrolled in a program that combines basic training with specific training carried out in workshops of different specialities.

b.- Young people between 15 and 19 years old who have not reached the minimum goals in ESO (compulsory secondary education) in their centres of origin and attend the Centro San Viator. These students come to us with serious self-esteem issues and dragging problems (social, cognitive…) that have prevented them from getting their degree.

 

2.- VET students who will have a study period abroad, theoretical + practical. They are students who are studying VET Middle Degree (EQF3). Most of these students come from a VET education and therefore have already suffered school failure and have or have had risk of social exclusion.

CHANGES regarding the participants’ profiles:

 

  1. Students with intellectual disability who are already working in protected companies and are studying/have studied at our school to get the professional certificate (in different areas) completely accredited. They will do part of their work placement abroad and we are sure that it will help them to improve their self-esteem and autonomy.

 

  1. VET teachers who will get the chance during a week to know, via job shadowing, the best educational methodologies in schools that have years developing them.

 

The long path this project has taken, starting in 2007, has allowed us to know that the participants with special needs and the students at risk of exclusion cannot be alone during the mobilities; and we cannot forget that some of them will be minors. That’s why we need two teachers from the school to travel with each group, so they can monitor and support the participants during the whole period.

The number of carers has not been arbitrarily done, it has been analysed and carefully studied. Just a carer would not be enough, if something happened with a participant and he/she had to be accompanied ( to the hospital, doctor, etc.), the rest would be alone. But we also understand that more than two carers would be unreasonable. Experience also allows us to see that from an organisational point of view more people often cause a logistics problem, as for example, a minibus can only sit 9 people.

We are aware that this project aims to allow the participants to acquire autonomy, but we cannot ignore that some of them need a planification and supervision of daily tasks such as hygiene, feeding, means of transport…

In 2007 our project Aurrerantz started to ease the mobility of 8 intellectually handicapped students (and 2 carers) while they were doing their work placement. Through all these years the project has developed including participants from other different sections of Centro San Viator. So in this new call we apply for the mobility of 81 participants (with 12 carers) during two school years with different approaches:

 

– Work placement

– Training in VET schools + companies

-Job shadowing for teachers.

Results achieved: Every year more than 50 students with fewer opportunities have the possibility of doing their internships abroad.

When students return, teachers, tutor, and staff from the international relations department meet with them to evaluate the experience.

More than 90% of students rate mobility as good or very good. The best valued aspects are the opportunity to live semi-autonomously, the people they have met in the country, the companies in which they have carried out their internships and social relationships.

Innovation: We believe that doing their internships abroad will help them to improve their self-esteem and autonomy, both at a professional and personal level. Likewise, we have considered this is the right moment to add to this internationalization process a new dimension. We have included our teachers in our mobilities so that all this process does not finish with our students. To accomplish this task we will count with our European partners, who offer our students, and now, also our teachers, the chance to extend their academic training in other countries.

Transferability: The transferability of knowledge in students is transferred to other areas such as soft skills, technical competencies and improving employability.

As for teachers, participation in this project improves their teaching-learning tools and methodologies, especially work-based learning.

Impact: International

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