During 19–23 September 2011 EAEA hosted a Grundtvig In-Service training for younger staff working in the field of adult education. The 5-day training turned out to be a very fruitful meeting. Participants were young professionals working in European organizations from 11 different European countries.
The objective of the training was for the participants to learn more about the European institutions and adult education field in Europe, exchange experiences, identify challenges and share good practices on national levels across Europe. The training also focused in different aspects of work at EU level such as lobbying and advocacy and offered an excellent opportunity for the participants to network and to evolve ideas for future cooperation.
The training week´s first day consisted of information about EAEA by Secretary General Gina Ebner and an overall presentation on the functioning of the European institutions by Audrey Frith, Director of EUCIS-LLL. The second day started off with discussions in smaller working groups about adult education in the participants´ countries with an emphasis on everyone´s own experiences of the challenges and the good practices in their daily work. We also had the pleasure of having Mette Mørk Andersen, Attaché for Education and Youth from the Permanent Representation of Denmark tell us about the role and plans of the upcoming Danish presidency of the Council of the European Union during in the first half of 2012. We also had an extremely inspiring meeting and discussion at the European Commission with Alan Smith, Acting Head of Unit, Maike Koops, National expert and Ada Schäfer, Programme Manager from Directorate General Education and Culture Unit B3 (Adult Education and Grundvig). The fruitful afternoon was very much appreciated by both the young professionals and the European Commission officials. In the evening the participants attended a celebration of the 10th Anniversary of the European Day of Languages at the European Parliament.
The third day of the training focused again more in-depth in the adult education practices across Europe. We also learnt more about working with European federations and networks of non-governmental organisations active in the social sector by Project Officer Ariella de Gennaro from Social Platform. On the fourth day of the training we enjoyed a tour through the European Parliament and an introduction to the everyday work of the members of the European Parliament by MEP Mary Honeyball´s assistant George Carr. After the visit to the European Parliament the training continued with interesting discussion about lobbying and advocacy at different levels followed by a presentation on the European Civil Society Platform on Lifelong Learning by the Director Audrey Frith. We also had the pleasure of hearing more about younger staff training at the global level when EAEA board member Niamh O´Reilly joined us via Skype and introduced us to IALLA, the ICAE Academy of Lifelong Learning. On the fifth and final day of the training we had the chance to tour through the European Council and hear an entertaining and insightful presentation on the role and functioning of the European Council by Anders Kjellgren, General Secretariat of the Council of the EU for Development, Trade, Enlargement, Europe, and Foreign Affairs Council. The rest of the day was spent reflecting on the past week and thinking about ways to actively continue the very promising cooperation between EAEA and the fantastic and knowledgeable participants of the training. We are all convinced that great things will come out of the future cooperation of this talented and enthusiastic group of young adult education professionals which EAEA had the pleasure of getting to know and surely will work with in the future.
Text: Sanni Roinevirta