Call for participants – “Training of Youth workers – non-formal learning and interactive methods in Youth work”


TYW process duration – from February until September 2016

Online learning - February - March 2016
Residential training - 3 - 10 April 2016 in Romania
- 24 – 30 April 2016 in Bulgaria
(The two trainings are equal – selected youth workers participate in ONLY ONE )

Follow up (online learning, mentorship practice) - April - September 2016

All expenses for participation in the training course (online learning, residential phase - transport, accommodation, food, follow up materials etc.) are covered by project budget on 100%. Participation in the training is FREE.

The Training of Youth Workers (TYW) is a long-term learning process which is part of the project “Non-formal learning for employability” – 2014-1-BG01-KA205-001743, funded by the European Erasmus + Programme under Key action 2. The project is coordinated by NC Future Now (Bulgaria), in partnership with Dreams for Life (Romania) and support of National Agency in Bulgaria - HRDC.

Application deadline - 17.01.2016

Non-formal learning for employability” project directly addresses one of the main objectives of the Erasmus + program: to provide an effective link between non-formal learning ( in the field of youth work ) and formal education in order to improve the competitiveness of young people in the labor market and combat increasing levels of youth unemployment in Europe.

The general framework of the project is based on the following steps:

  • Analysis of areas where formal education doesn’t provide practical skills but young people need such skills for employability or social sufficiency.
  • Development of methodologies, manuals and training programs based on non-formal learning to provide relevant competences for the areas identified in the previous step.
  • Preparation of expert trainers to train and support youth workers in their direct work with young people – (Training of Trainers)
  • Preparing youth workers to provide training programs for young people interested in the field – (Training of youth workers)
  • Providing support processes at each level by methodologies, manuals and guidelines concerning non-formal learning, modern pedagogy and interactive teaching.

The Training of Youth Workers (TYW at step 4) aims at preparing 40 youth workers (20 from Romania and 20 from Bulgaria) who wish to apply methods of non-formal learning and interactive teaching in order to provide learning opportunities for young people who are in need of competences development for their realization on the labor market and social cohesion.

What skills, attitudes, actions and experience are developed during the TOT process?

Through the TOT process we aim at:

  • Improving the knowledge and skills about the empowerment process of young people;
  • Improving the knowledge about the developmental stages of young people;
  • Improving the knowledge about the general and specific situation of young people connected with employability and labour market;
  • Developing skills for assessing the needs of young people;
  • Developing competences for planning and delivering educational activities/programs related to employability of young people, based on non-formal learning principles;
  • Developing skills for facilitating young people’s learning and their personal and social development;
  • Developing the capacity of building authentic relationships with young people;
  • Developing skills to accompany young people in their intercultural learning process;
  • Developing skills of coaching, mentoring and supporting young people to facilitate their personal, social and educational growth;
  • Developing competences for using evaluative practices;
  • Improving the capacity of contributing to the development of youth organisations.

What knowledge, skills and attitudes are essential to be transferred and exercised in the learning process?

The participants will gain the following competences:

  • Theories of the learning process
  • Principles of non-formal learning
  • Principles of empowerment
  • Learning styles
  • Experiential learning
  • Socio- cognitive learning
  • Motivation and self- efficacy
  • Multiple intelligences
  • Methods for reflection and debriefing
  • Learning environment
  • Assessment of learning outcomes
  • Skills for self-directed learning
  • Key Competences
  • Roles of the youth workers
  • Group processes
  • Methods and techniques of the non-formal learning
  • Peer-to-peer learning
  • Youth developmental stages
  • Cultural elements
  • Situation of young people on the labor market
  • Assessment of youth needs
  • Design of educational programs
  • Setting learning goals
  • Assessment of learning outcomes
  • Implementation of interactive learning methods
  • Giving instructions
  • Active listening
  • Effective communication
  • Effective teamwork
  • Mentoring and Coaching
  • Description and documenting of educational programs
  • Facilitating and conducting of discussions and debriefing
  • Giving and receiving effective feedback
  • Creating an environment for reflection and self-evaluation
  • Creating and adapting activities and implementing them in different contexts
  • To serve as a role model
  • To inspire future achievements
  • To communicate positively and encourage learners
  • To follow timetable
  • To handle emergencies
  • To resist stress
  • To radiate dedication
  • To encourage participation and involvement of learners
  • To show responsibility at work
  • To improvise and be flexible in activities/sessions delivery
  • To empathize and understand the individual needs of learners

For which target groups is the training process suitable?

The target group of the training process is represented by professional youth workers, education professionals working in the field of non-formal learning and youth work, youth leaders and volunteers’ coordinators. The program is aimed at people who are using interactive teaching methods for the development of competences, who are involved in youth projects’ activities and are active in the process of personal and social development of young people.

The program is addressed for: youth workers, social workers, teachers, educators, youth leaders and volunteers’ coordinators.

What specific criteria the participants should accomplish?

Necessary prior experience of the participants:

  • To know the principles of non-formal learning;
  • To have participated at least twice in teams of preparation, implementation and evaluation of youth projects/programs based on non-formal learning methods;
  • To have experience in the youth field and youth work as - organizers of youth projects and initiatives, youth leaders, mentors, coordinators, trainers;
  • To have the potential and desire to develop competences of youth workers;
  • To have the capacity of working actively as youth workers;
  • To have the possibility and desire to conduct workshops for young people during the project implementation;
  • To show initiative and willingness to deliberately run a process of self-improvement and learning;
  • To be prepared to critically reflect on their skills, values and qualities as youth workers;

Before enrolling in the training process, the candidates must pass the application process and evaluation to verify the above mentioned requirements. Applicants are asked to describe themselves according to above mentioned criteria, to self-evaluate their experience and competencies and to express their motivation to participate in this educational process.

The process of training of youth workers is complex and demanding venture. The youth worker is the person responsible for the young people and for the consequences of his/her work. For this reason, we believe that the process of training and assessment of youth workers should follow a complex pattern. The process covers 2 months preparatory period, 7 day residential training and a minimum of 5 months of follow-up.

After being selected by applications, all future candidates will be evaluated by “Entry level test” related to topics and competences included in the learning goals. After this, during the preparation phase, the candidates will be provided with theoretical information (by online course) that will give them opportunities gain new knowledge and insights about the TOYW goals. Through this process a sequence of practical tasks will facilitate the learning. The progress and performance of the participants will be monitored and evaluated throughout the phase and based on the results performed through the tasks the final selection of participants will be completed. All candidates will be tested again with the same “Entry level test” which will define the level of development during preparation phase.

During the preparation online-based learning tools (ICT) are used. This will provide background information to the learners, creating contact between participants and trainers and starting the process of personal preparation.

Key elements of preparation phase are:

  • Forming the initial group of participants.
  • Sending a questionnaire to assess the entry level of each participant;
  • Provision of training materials – video, audio, books, publications;
  • Passing through a series of practical tasks to assess progress;
  • Final selection of participants.

The process of residential training starts with Assessment center (based on European Portfolio for youth leaders and youth workers) to assess skills and behaviors and identifies starting level of each participant. During the training a wide range of tools that accompany the learning process are used. First of all residential training gives possibility for elaboration of theoretical knowledge developed during preparation phase. Second it is the moment to deliver and develop specific set of practical skills related to youth work (e.g. development of learning activities, capacity to empower, facilitation of debriefing, communication skills etc). The process is based on logical flow of competency development – attitude, knowledge and skills. It starts with creating needed attitudes towards youth work and NFL, accompanied by ethics of the youth worker and perception of self-development. Then knowledge about methods, practices and processes is elaborated. Finally, practical tasks are given to be performed in the social environment (in teams) and to be analyzed and refined. In order to become competent professional youth workers, the learners/participants will develop real educational programs. The programs are based on target groups needs and learning objectives.

Key elements of residential training are:

  • Assessment center – to identify youth workers skills and behaviors;
  • Learning the values and principles of youth work and learning activity delivery through social learning;
  • Performing practical tasks related to training tools such as facilitation, session design etc;
  • Refining the performed tasks through analysis and feedback;
  • Developing and demonstrating in practice a learning activity;
  • As a final task the group will demonstrate what they have learned through designing a whole intervention process (identification of needs and target groups, preparation and design, conduct activities, evaluation of the results and follow-up);

During the period after training some of the practical tasks are repeating but in real situations at the workplace and/or in the youth workers’ community. An important learning experience for the youth workers is the creation and implementation of workshops for young people, addressing the main areas of interventions identified through the initial research. In order to prepare properly for the workshops, to continue the learning process and increase the application of the competencies gained during the course, each youth worker will have one trainer as a support partner. The youth workers will be coached and mentored by the trainers from the team developed as part of the Intervention Model activity (Training of trainers). This is a mutual relationship, in which the youth workers are strengthening their own competences while the trainers are gaining experience as coaches and mentors. External experts will be available to offer support for the youth workers as well as for the trainers. Besides this process the youth workers will form support groups among themselves in order to practice peer-to-peer learning and support, throughout the follow-up phase.

Key elements of follow-up are:

  • Design and implementation of learning process – the steps described above, but in a real environment;
  • Online learning – additional materials;
  • Webinars – to increase qualifications;
  • Mentoring, coaching and online support – provided by trainers and external experts;
  • Support groups - the learners form groups to keep in touch and participate in solving real cases from their educational activities/programs.

Conducting the program is based entirely on interactive learning and the principles of NFL. Behind the methods selected for the training are the following principles:

  • Active involvement of the participants – stimulating their initiative;
  • Flexibility of the learning process – to meet their specific training needs;
  • Sharing best practices and experience;
  • Creating practical dimension of the learning process.

The participants in the program are placed in an environment that requires their active involvement and high level of participation and expression. They have to cope with challenges and tasks using limited resources to make decisions and to track the results of their actions. Trainers guide participants to effectively interpret lessons from experiences and turn them into skills and attitudes needed for future work.

The principle of “Learning by doing” helps participants to develop and exercise real skills that will be useful to them in the future.

All activities and working methods contribute to the process of non-formal learning and they are games, debates, simulations, energizers, icebreakers, communication games, get to know each other activities, group discussions, guided practice, coaching sessions, creativity activities, reflection activities, open space and many more. The training is focused on the personal and professional development of the participants. The selected activities and methods will empower the youth workers and make them more confident, more motivated and more competent. Thus they will contribute to social development, by transferring the experiences and the knowledge to their everyday work.

Besides the Experiential learning principles, which are familiar to many youth workers, in the training are included new principles and instruments, such as Socio-cognitive learning, Self-efficacy, Multiple intelligences, Learning styles - concepts that will enrich non-formal education.

The participants should be actively involved in every stage of the training. During the preparation stage the candidates should be active in creating the online learning materials, passing tests and completing tasks. During the residential training course they have to create their sessions and have chance to make workshops and receive feedback. After the residential training the participants become part of the mentoring process, they share information with other participants, participate in online learning process. Besides this, each youth worker has to create and facilitate a learning activity (workshop) for the youth in his/hers organization and/or community. They also participate in the next project activities –multipliers events, dissemination activities etc.

What are the follow-up activities after the residential training?

Based on the theories and psychology of learning process every new competence has to be practiced in order to become sustainable and useful. Social learning and support play major roles in the empowerment process when new skills have to be implemented in practice. To provide this element we will create a support frame based on mentorship, coaching and peer-to-peer learning. To ensure long-lasting results of learning in this process the follow up has to be based on two main principles:

To continue development of competencies related to training delivery. This gives motivation for further improvement of the learners and creates sustainable habits for self-directed and life-long learning. The learning activities have to be practical tasks which can be implemented in real life situations. The situations have to be strengthen by theoretical inputs for deepening knowledge. The tools that can provide this are - online learning, mentoring and coaching from peers, experts and support groups.

Involving the learners in the wide framework of the project (from which training of youth workers is only one part) creates a deeper understanding about their role as educators in the youth field. To achieve this it is important to create a space for practicing and improving the competencies gained during the training. Thus each youth worker who participated in the training course will develop and implement a learning activity/workshop for young people, aiming at developing their employability. Besides this practical task, the participants from the Training of Youth Workers can be involved in different activities such as – job shadowing within local youth organizations (working as interns), conducting on-line learning events for local young people, assessment of learning outcomes of youth involved in the workshops, support groups for youth workers from the same community to stimulate peer-to-peer learning, support and guidance. All these activities can be supported and guided by peers and experts involved in the implementation. +359 (0) 896 756 267 +40 (0) 745 585415

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