Baden-Wurttemberg’s Ministry for Education, Youth and Sport and vhs Baden Württemberg hosted in Stuttgart the second international FIER project meeting on November 8-9, 2018. This project is funded by the European Union under the EaSI PROGRESS programme, with the coordination of Region Västra Götaland, and will last until December 2019.
Almost half-way of the project duration, all international partners gathered to share their progress with the development and pilot implementation of fast-track labour market integration models for refugees, as well as to get ready for the second project year. The meeting also welcomed specially invited guest participants, such as the RIAC project coordinators (also funded by the European Union under EaSI) and Borås Municipality (Sweden) representatives.
On the first day, partner representatives met at Landesinstitut für Schulentwicklung to discuss the technical aspects of the project, such as project coordination and communications strategy. The morning programme also featured a telematic intervention by Maria Ilies (policy officer at European Commission’s DG EMPL), who highlighted the relevance of projects as FIER at European level and encouraged partners to keep up with their work.
Afterwards, partner updates followed: integrated language learning in Baden‑Württemberg, Västra Götaland and Oslo with the participation of adult education institutions and job centres, the train-the-mentor programme developed by PH Weingarten, the civic education programme by GO! onderwijs van de Vlaamse Gemeenschap, the VET courses for refugees in Turkey by YUVA and an education and migrations policy update in Austria. All partners actively took part in the presentations by means of small round table discussions and gallery walks.
The second meeting day was hosted by Baden-Württembergs Ministry for Education, Youth and Sport. Parallel working group sessions allowed participants to exchange on more specific topics, such as fast-track language/VET trainings, guidance and validation, self-empowerment of refugees, training of in-company mentors supporting language learning at the workplace and cooperation with companies. These sessions also counted on interventions by participants in FIER pilot courses, who shared their positive experiences and the challenges that learning a foreign language poses.
As an exchange activity, presentations followed by Support Group Network Stuttgart, created as a mirror organisation of the one in Västra Götaland thanks to the networking space offered by FIER kick-off meeting in Gothenburg, and SINGA Entrepreneurship Programme, which helps migrants in Baden-Württemberg develop entrepreneurial skills and empowers them to create their own business.
At the end of the event, all project partners shared a feeling of progress and being on the right track. The third project meeting will take place in May 2019 (exact dates and venue to be confirmed soon).