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Mobility project for young people and youth workers

The Actions supported by the Erasmus+ Programme in the field of youth provide many opportunities for young people to acquire competences and grow as individuals, through non-formal and informal learning.

Non-formal learning refers to the learning which takes place outside formal educational curriculum. It has a participative and learner-centred approach; it is carried out by learners on a voluntary basis and therefore is closely linked to young people's needs, aspirations and interests. By providing an additional source and new forms of learning, such activities are also important means to improve the attainment in formal education and training as well as to address young NEETs (i.e. young people not in employment, education or training) or young people with fewer opportunities and combat social exclusion.

Informal learning refers to the learning in daily life activities, in work, with peers, etc. It is mainly learning by doing. In the youth sector, informal learning can take place in youth initiatives, in peer group discussions, through voluntary activities and in a variety of other situations.

Non-formal and informal learning enable young people to acquire essential competences that contribute to their personal and socio-educational development and foster their active participation in society, thereby improving their employment prospects. Learning activities within the youth field are meant to have a significantly positive impact on young people as well as on the organisations involved, the communities in which these activities take place, the youth field itself and the European economic and societal sectors at large.

A high-quality non-formal and informal learning dimension is a key aspect of all youth projects supported under the Erasmus+ Programme. Youth projects funded by the Erasmus+ Programme must adhere to the following non-formal and informal learning principles:

  • learning in non-formal contexts is intended and voluntary;
  • young people and youth workers are actively participating in the planning, preparation, implementation and evaluation of the project;
  • learning activities take place in a diverse range of environments and situations;
  • the activities are carried out with the support of professional facilitators (such as trainers, youth workers, experts in the youth field) or volunteers (such as youth leaders, youth trainers, etc.);
  • the activities usually document learning in a specific, field-oriented way.

The activities must also be planned in advance and be based on participatory methods that:

  • offer space for interaction of participants, sharing of ideas, avoiding passive listening;
  • allow participants to contribute to the activities with their own knowledge and skills, reversing the traditional roles of outside "experts" (a reversal of learning, from extracting to empowering);
  • allow participants to undertake their own analyses, including reflections on competences acquired during the activity (i.e. their own learning outcomes);
  • ensure that participants have influence over project decisions, not simply involvement.

Finally, the activities should have an intercultural/European dimension and:

  • encourage participants to reflect on European topics and to involve them in the construction of Europe;
  • offer participants the opportunity to identify common values with persons from different countries in spite of their cultural differences;
  • challenge viewpoints that perpetuate inequality, discrimination;
  • promote the respect of cultural diversity and fight against racism or xenophobia.

1. Before Mobility

A: Agreement between project partners

All participating organisations involved in a youth mobility project are strongly recommended to sign an internal agreement between them. Such an agreement has the purpose of clearly defining responsibilities, tasks and financial contribution for all parties involved in the project. It is up to the participating organisations to jointly decide on how the EU grant will be distributed and which costs it will cover.

An internal agreement constitutes a key instrument for ensuring a solid and smooth cooperation among partners in a youth mobility project as well as to avoid or manage potential conflicts. Indicatively, it should contain at least the following information:

  • project title and reference of the grant agreement between the applicant participating organisation and the granting Agency;
  • names and contacts of all the participating organisations involved in the project;
  • role and responsibilities of each participating organisation; division of the EU grant (according to the above responsibilities);
  • modalities of payments and budget transfers among participating organisations.

Although this practice is strongly recommended to safeguard the interests of each partner in a project, such an agreement remains an internal document among partners; it will not be requested by the granting National Agency.

 

B: Accreditation of organisations participating in Erasmus+ Volunteering Activities

Accreditation serves to gain access to Erasmus+ volunteering activities and to ensure that the principles and minimum quality standards are met. These standards are set in the Erasmus+ volunteering Charter and in the Accreditation Guidelines that are published on the website of the European Commission1.

Any organisation from a Programme Country, a Western Balkan country, a Southern Mediterranean country, an Eastern Partnership country or from the Territory of Russia as recognised by international law wishing to send or receive volunteers or to coordinate a volunteering project must be accredited.

To be accredited, an organisation must submit an application for accreditation. This form must be submitted to the relevant bodies responsible for accreditation (see below). The same organisation may request to be accredited for one or more purposes (as sending, as receiving and/or as coordinating organisation). If the organisation has more than one role in a project application, it must have a valid accreditation for all those roles. The organisation submitting the project must be accredited as a Coordinating Organisation.

The applications for accreditation can be submitted at any time (no deadline). However, these requests must be submitted within reasonable time before the submission of the project application including volunteering activities (at least 6 weeks before the submission) in order to avoid that the activity is rejected due to the fact that some of the organisations involved are not yet accredited.

The accreditation of organisations is carried out by:

  • the National Agency of the country where the organisation is located, for organisations located in Programme Countries;
  • SALTO SEE for organisations located in Western Balkans countries;
  • SALTO EECA for organisations located in Eastern Partnership countries and the Territory of Russia as recognised by international law;
  • SALTO Euromed for organisations located in Southern Mediterranean countries.

Once approved, the accreditation is valid for the entire duration of the Erasmus+ Programme. The bodies in charge of accreditation may carry out regular or punctual controls to verify that the accredited organisations still meet the Erasmus+ volunteering quality standards. Following these controls, the accreditation may be temporarily suspended or withdrawn.

In order to facilitate partner-finding profiles of all accredited organisations are published in a database of Erasmus+ volunteering organisations (Volunteering Database)2. Accredited organisations are invited to use the Volunteering Database to advertise when they are looking for volunteers for Erasmus+ projects. The database can be consulted on the European Youth Portal.

Note: An organisation awarded a Quality Label within the context of the European Solidarity Corps Programme for volunteering activities does not need to apply for an accreditation under Erasmus+ to participate in volunteering activities. Such European Solidarity Corps Quality Label is valid in the context of the Erasmus + volunteering activities.

 

C: Safety and Protection of participants

European Health Insurance Card

If applicable, it is strongly recommended that young people and youth workers taking part in youth mobility projects are in possession of a European Health Insurance Card. This is a free card that gives access to medically necessary, state-provided healthcare during a temporary stay in any of the 28 EU countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, under the same conditions and at the same cost (free in some countries) as people insured in that country. More information on the card and on how to obtain it is available at http://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=559.

 

Youth Exchanges

All participants in a Youth Exchange must be insured against the risks linked to their participation in these activities. The Erasmus+ Programme does not define a unique format of insurance, nor does it recommend specific insurance companies. The Programme leaves it up to participating organisations to seek the most suitable insurance policy according to the type of activity carried out and to the insurance formats available at national level.

Furthermore, it is not necessary to stipulate a project-specific insurance, if the participants are already covered by insurance policies previously stipulated by themselves or the participating organisations. In any circumstances, the following areas must be covered:

  • third party liability for youth leaders (including, wherever appropriate, professional indemnity or insurance for responsibility);
  • accident and serious illness (including permanent or temporary incapacity);
  • death (including repatriation in case of activities carried out abroad);
  • wherever relevant, medical assistance, including after care and special insurance for particular circumstances such as outdoor activities.

Erasmus+ Volunteering Insurance

Every volunteer must be enrolled in the Erasmus+ Volunteering Insurance3 foreseen by the Erasmus+ Programme, which complements the coverage by the European Health Insurance Card and/or national social security systems.

Those volunteers who are not be eligible for the European Health Insurance Card shall be entitled to receive a full coverage through the Insurance provided by the European Commission.

The coordinating organisation, in cooperation with the sending and receiving organisations, is responsible for the enrolment of the volunteer(s). This enrolment must be done before the departure of the volunteer(s) and cover the duration of the activity.

Information about the coverage and support available through the insurance for volunteers, as well as instructions for enrolment, is available on the website of the Executive Agency.

 

D: Visa requirements

Young people and youth workers taking part in youth mobility projects may need to obtain a visa for staying abroad in the Programme or Partner Country hosting the activity.

It is a collective responsibility of all the participating organisations to ensure that the authorisations required (short/long stay visas or residence permits) are in order before the planned activity takes place. It is strongly recommended that the authorisations are requested from the competent authorities well in advance, since the process may take several weeks. National Agencies and the Executive Agency may give further advice and support concerning visas, residence permits, social security, etc.

 

E: Conditions of participation of volunteers

Selection

The selection of volunteers can be carried out by any of the organisations involved in the project (usually this task is carried out by the sending or coordinating organisation).

The Erasmus+ Volunteering activities are open to all young people, including people with fewer opportunities. Volunteers are to be selected in a fair, transparent and objective way, regardless of their ethnic group, religion, sexual orientation, political opinion, etc. No previous qualifications, educational level, specific experience or language knowledge should be required. A more specific profile of the volunteer might be drawn up if justified by the nature of the tasks of the activity or by the project context.

In the case of volunteering activities within Programme Countries, organisations must carry out the selection of the volunteers among the pool of young people registered in the European Solidarity Corps. An online tool called PASS enables organisations to search and contact those young people. Organisations holding either an Erasmus+ volunteering accreditation or a European Solidarity Corps Quality Label have automatic access to the tool4 along with their access to the European Youth Portal's volunteering database.

The selection process should be always in compliance with the principles and quality standards of the Erasmus+ Volunteering activities.

 

Agreement with the volunteer

Prior to their departure, each volunteer must sign a Volunteering Agreement with the coordinating organisation. This agreement defines the tasks s/he will carry out during the volunteering activity, the intended learning outcomes, etc. As part of the agreement, the coordinating organisation will provide the volunteer with the Erasmus+ volunteering Info-kit, which contains information about what to expect from the experience and on how to use Youthpass and receive a certificate at the end of the activity. The Volunteering Agreement remains an internal document among partners and volunteers; however it may be requested by the granting National Agency.

 

Mobility Tool

When the volunteers are selected, the beneficiary organisation must encode general information regarding the volunteer and the type of activity s/he will carry out (e.g. participant name, destination, duration of the activity, etc.) into Mobility Tool+ as soon as possible. Mobility Tool+ will support the beneficiary in the management of the Erasmus+ mobility activities. The beneficiary organisation is also responsible for updating Mobility Tool+ with any change occurred to participants or activities during the lifetime of the mobility project. Beneficiaries will be able to generate prefilled reports from Mobility Tool based on the information they have provided. Mobility Tool+ will also generate reports to be filled in by the participants in mobility activities.

More information about Mobility Tool+ and how to access it will be provided in the grant agreement between the National Agency and the beneficiary.

 

Linguistic support

Young volunteers undertaking a volunteering activity lasting two months or longer are eligible to receive linguistic support prior to departure or during the activity.

For languages that are available through the Online Linguistic Support:

The Commission makes available an online tool for volunteers with a view to assess their competence in the language they will use to carry out their volunteering abroad. This tool offers them, where necessary, the possibility to improve the knowledge of the language before and/or during the mobility. Participants with a level of at least B2 in the main language of volunteering may choose to follow an OLS course in the language of the receiving country, if available. Such an online service will be gradually implemented in the course of the Programme. The linguistic support is provided as follows:

  • at the time of applying, the applicant organisation will estimate the need for linguistic support for their participants - in the main language that volunteers will use to carry out their tasks or in the language of the receiving country, if applicable;
  • National Agencies allocate online licences to beneficiary organisations according to general criteria specified by the European Commission;
  • once selected, all volunteers (except native speakers and in duly justified cases) benefiting from the online service must carry out an online language test to assess their competences in the foreign language they will use during their mobility abroad or in the language of the receiving country, if applicable. The results of this assessment will be communicated to the volunteers and will not have any influence on their possibility to go abroad;
  • based on the number of online licences available for language courses, the volunteers who need linguistic support may be offered the possibility to follow an online language course;
  • at the end of their mobility, volunteers will carry out a second online language assessment to measure the progress made in the selected language. The results will be communicated to the volunteer, to the coordinating organisation upon request, and could thereafter be integrated in the Youthpass certificate.

In the initial stages of the Programme, the online assessment and courses will not be provided in all EU languages and language courses may not be available for all participants requesting them. Further details are made available on the websites of the Commission and National Agencies.

The existence of Online Linguistic Support should not prevent organisations from providing other types of language support to volunteers.

For languages that are not available through the Online Linguistic Support:

For languages not covered by the online service, support for language learning must be arranged by the participating organisations in the youth mobility project. A specific grant for "linguistic support" may be provided for that purpose. Beneficiaries of this grant should encourage participants to start learning the language before their activity. Furthermore, organisations involved in a youth mobility project can use the "organisational support" grant to address the needs of participants in terms of pedagogical, task-related, intercultural or specific linguistic preparation (see the "funding rules" section in Part B of this Guide).

 

Pre-departure training

The quality of the preparation of the participants is a key element to implement a successful project. In this regard, a pre-departure training is to be provided to the volunteers. Pre-departure training is the responsibility of the participating organisations (usually the sending organisation or the coordinating organisation) and gives volunteers an opportunity to talk about their expectations, develop their motivation and learning objectives, and obtain information on their host country and on the Erasmus+ Programme. In addition, a one-day pre-departure training aimed at establishing contacts with the outgoing volunteers may be organised by the National Agencies.

2. During Mobility

Erasmus+ Volunteering Training and Evaluation Cycle

Volunteers have the right and obligation to participate in the following training and evaluation sessions, organised in line with the document "EVS Volunteer Training and Evaluation Cycle: Guidelines and Minimum Quality Standards of the European Commission", available on the website.

 

Who organises the Training and Evaluation cycle?

The responsibility for organising the Training and Evaluation Cycle depends on where the events are to take place:

  • in Programme Countries: the training/evaluation is organised by the National Agencies;
  • in Partner Countries neighbouring the EU (region 1-4): the training/evaluation is organised respectively by SALTO SEE, SALTO EECA and SALTO Euromed Resource Centres5 in the countries covered by each of the centres respectively;
  • in other Partner Countries: training and evaluation sessions are not organised by National Agencies or SALTOs. It is responsibility of the participating organisations to ensure that the volunteers receive on-arrival training and that they are provided a space for carrying out a mid-term evaluation of their experience. In this regard, for activities organised within the framework of Capacity Building in the youth field, the costs linked to such preparation can be covered under the item "activity costs".

As soon as the contract is signed by both parties, the coordinating organisations should immediately fill out the information about the volunteer(s) in Mobility Tool+ and contact the relevant National Agency or the SALTO Resource Centre in order to allow those structures to organise the Training and Evaluation sessions for the volunteers involved in their project.

In any case, beneficiaries are always encouraged to provide additional training and evaluation opportunities to the volunteers, even if no specific funds are allocated for that purpose within the project grant. All relevant providers of training and evaluation activities in should provide information about Youthpass.

For projects lasting less than 2 months, participating organisations are responsible for organising preparation sessions that are adapted to the needs of the volunteers and/or to the type of activity. In addition, in cases of justified needs, an on-arrival training for short-term activities involving young people with fewer opportunities may be organised by the participating organisations. Within the framework of mobility projects, the costs linked to such sessions can be covered under the item "exceptional costs" for activities involving young people with fewer opportunities (see "funding rules" section in Part B of this Guide).

3. After Mobility

Recognition of learning outcomes - Youthpass

Every young person, volunteer or youth worker taking part in a youth mobility project is entitled to receive a Youthpass certificate. Youthpass describes and validates the non-formal and informal learning experience acquired during the project (learning outcomes). Youthpass can also be used during the project activities as a tool to help participants to become more aware of their learning process. For support and more information on Youthpass, please consult the Youthpass guide and other relevant material at www.youthpass.eu.

4. Mobility of young people and youth workers outside mobility projects

Beyond the mobility projects under Key Action 1, the Erasmus+ Programme supports mobility of young people and youth workers also under Strategic Partnerships and Capacity Building in the field of youth. In these cases, if applicable, the participating organisations must follow the same principles and quality standards set for the activities funded within the framework of mobility projects.

 

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