Archive for Accreditation,

Conclusion for Project Partners

We are currently discussing the acheivements of our Leonardo Partnership Project and looking to the future on a farm guesthouse in Katwoude, Netherlands.  It is interesting to receive feedback from our partners in respect of what they have acheived personally and as an organisation from our project.  We have achieved our primary stated project goals and everyone has benefited in many ways from being involved in EU cooperation project.

I have asked each of the partners to share their thoughts on what they have gained from the project here and I will update later with more concrete outcomes of this project. We are continuing now with our preparation for our dissemination event which has been planned for tomorrow.

Meeting was held on farm B&B in Katwoude, Netherlands

The burning question now is to identify a way forward for our network and how our rural tourism training network can support its members.  This is our main objective for our meeting tomorrow.

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Focusing on the future of our project:

There is nothing better to focus the mind more than an imminent presentation to a room full of tourism experts tomorrow in the Netherlands.  I have my presentation prepared and I am looking forward to sharing our network and project work with the participants of the meeting tomorrow in Van Hall Larenstein – University of Applied Sciences.

This opportunity has arisen as our project partner; Europees Centrum voor Eco en Agro Toerisme Nederland (ECEAT) has been proactive is seeking to develop a common approach to rural tourism training within the Netherlands. 

De Barendonk estate near Beers

Project partners experience the best of rural tourism in the Netherlands

Our last Leonardo partnership project meeting was held in early December 2010 and I am glad to report that our project has acheived another milestone.  Our Romanian partners confirmed that our ‘train the trainers’ programme has been their national accreditation body.  This is the third country in the EU which has accreditated our training programme which has been jointly developed by all the partners in accordance with the European Qualifications Framework. 

The Romanian partners from the Centre for Tourism Training, Babes-Bolyai University of Cluj have taken the process a whole step further.  They have used the common sylabus we have agreed upon within the project and developed the module for implementation in the Romanian language this year.  This is beyond the expectations of what we aimed to acheive and is testament to the commitment of all partners who have worked on this project.

We have been fortunate to work with partners who understand the ethos of rural tourism and the importance of highlighting examples of best practice in this sector.  At each of our project meetings we experienced excellent standards of service, food and hospitality within the rural tourism facilities that we stayed.  This was particularly evident at our last meeting “Landgoed de Barendonk” farm where we well looked after by our host Elisabeth Hermanussen and her family.

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Accreditation of VET in Bulgaria

At our last project meeting in Bulgaria there was a sense of acheivement from all our project partners.  This sense of acheivement is the result of the efforts of all the partners collectively over the last year.  The partners are now comfortable with each other and feel confident of their roles within the project.

Our project partners BARET organised for Mr. Nikolov from NAVET National Agency for Vocational and Education Training to come along and speak to us about their role in accreditation of training in Bulgaria.  He explained how BARET is licensed by NAVET to deliver VET training and that our ‘train the trainer’ was viewed as a module within the field of Rural Tourism.  A Rural Tourism training programme in Bulgaria would encompass 900 hours of training and our proposed module would encompass about 100 hours of training.  The accreditation was granted in the form of a letter from NAVET to BARET.

We were intrigued to learn that Bulgaria does not have a credit system in place and at a national level they are working with colleagues in France to develop a credit system.  Mr. Nikolov was accommodating of all the questions which were asked by our project partners and was enthusiastic about the work undertaken as part of our project. 

Our meeting continued with a workshop which was jointly facilitated by partners from Romania & Ireland.  Whilst we had touched on this important subject during other meetings, this was the first time where we reached a consensus of the content of the ‘Train the Trainer’ in Rural Entreprenuership syllabus. 

We finished our meeting with a tour of some wonderful walking trails which have been developed by our host BARET and we learned a few lessons about European Integration Bulgarian style!

Bulgarian approach to EU Integration

Why carry four tools when one will do!

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Successful Meeting in Bulgaria

It is almost one week ago since we had our 5th partners meeting in Gurguliat, Bulgaria.  We stayed in a rural hotel in Gurguliat village which is approximately 60 kilometres north west of Sofia where we were treated to excellent hospitality and array of locally grown food produce.

In brief, I would like to report the success of our meeting which has resulted in our Bulgarian partners acheiving accreditation through their national certification agency NAVET and as a team we agreed a common syllabus for the delivery of our ‘train the trainer’ programme in rural entrepreneurship.

Successful meeting for Leonardo Partnership Project

Partnership achieves Accreditation in Bulgaria

This was our 5th meeting as a Leonardo Partnership project. As a cumulation of acheiving accreditation in Ireland at the last meeting and in Bulgaria at this meeting our project team left with a positive feeling.  More details about our meeting will follow in my next blog post.

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Train the Trainer in Rural Entrepreneurship Launched

Professor O' Cathain acknowledges support of Leonardo & contribution of all project partners

Train the Train in rural entrepreneurship is launched

The ‘Train the Trainer’ module in rural entrepreneurship was launched in Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT), Ireland on the 27th May 2010.  At an international gathering of the Rural Tourism International Training Network the module was launched by the President of Athlone Institute of Technology, Professor Ciarán Ó Catháin.

This training module is unique in a number of different ways, mostly because the team that developed the module are from various organisational backgrounds and countries.  This team of academics and rural development agencies have worked together to improve the standard of training available in rural areas for enterprise development beyond the remit their normal daily duties.  It was also unique to have the experience of defending this training module in front of an academic council in Athlone Institute of Technology.  This was done in the spirit of partnership and as a team which worked well together. 

This accredited ‘train the trainer’ rural entrepreneurship module will provide a vocational education training which will embody the competences of rural entrepreneurship and establishes clear guidelines on the competences of an effective rural entrepreneur trainer.  We will continue to seek accreditation in the remaining partner countries and will endeavour to raise awareness about this course as tool for rural development accross the EU and beyond.

AIT highlights support for the Train the Trainer in rural entrepreneurship module

Project Partnership acheives accreditation for training module

Professor Ciarán Ó Catháin complimented the work of the partnership and highlighted the core thinking behind this module by saying that; ‘At the heart of this Train the Trainer module is recognition of the needs of rural entrepreneurs for short, focused training programmes to develop the knowledge, capabilities and skills of their staff. By equipping rural entrepreneurs to offer training to their own local communities it invokes a powerful model of peer-to-peer learning. Such an approach is cognisant of the learning which people do everyday in their jobs and builds on that experiential process.’

We are interested in attracting further interest from potential partners whom may wish to have this course delivered in their area.  Initially we hope that this training may prove to be attractive to LEADER companies.  We will add some case study examples of how rural entrepreneurs in Ireland and Quebec, Canada have benefited from pilot versions of this programme todate.

International RTITN member from Quebec, Canada delighted with module launch

At the launch, the speakers included John Toland and Mary Mullen from Cavan-Monaghan LEADER and Professor Ciarán Ó Catháin from AIT.  All speakers acknowledged the valuable support of the Leonardo Da Vinci Programme in this project.

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Project Partners second meeting in Romania

The second meeting of the PART-RTi Leonardo Partnership Project was held on the 10th and 11th of December 2009 in rural Translyvania, Romania.  Our meeting was held in the beautiful rural location of Sâncraiu (Kalotaszentkirály) village, approximately 50 kilometres West of the Cluj-Napoca city.  We were well looked after by our host Mr. István Vincze-Kecskés who offered us excellent hospitality in the village. 

During the festive holiday period time is devoted to family and other activites are forgotten for a few weeks and that included this blog!  It is the begining of a new decade and within our project partnership we are fast approaching our next project meeting in Bavaria.  So the time has come to update this blog and I am delighted to report that our 2nd meeting was a success.  Collectively all of our project partners have become familiar with the project objectives and are working towards our agreed goals.

Rural Tourism Partners meet in Translyvania, Romania

Partners discussing national accreditation systems in Europe

Whilst this was our second meeting we were still getting to know each other and were clarifying the project objectives.  It is a priviledge to have the opportuity to work with a diverse group of professionals from accross Europe in the field of rural tourism.  At each meeting there are always new challenges and it is not easy to come to an agreement on certain tasks.  These challenges are presented in the form of communication difficulties through the language of our project which is English.  Those of us for whom English is our first language have to keep reminding ourselves to slow down and ensure our points are being understood.  There are always a few new faces at each meeting and this presents another challenge in trying to maintain the focus of the project on track.

During the meeting, we gained knowledge from each other on how the accreditation systems of each of the partner country operates.  There are many similarities and some obstacles to overcome, but we all agreed that we would work as a team towards the development of a common syllabi.  Our aim is to have our rural tourism ‘train the trainer’ programme acheiving national accreditation standard in each of the partner countries. 

The main priority for the partners for the next meeting is to reach a consensus on the Irish accreditation template which has been led by Kevin McLoughlin from Athlone Institute of Technology.  In addition, we will be agreeing the timeframe for accreditation delivery in each of the partner countries over the coming year and half of our project.

2nd Meeting Group Picture of Partners in Romania

Project Partner Countries include Bulgaria, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands and Romania

We are now at the stage where we will be inviting national and international silent partners to participate in our project.  We are seeking further guidance from international experts and wish to raise awareness about our project among those involved in Vocational Education Training and organisations who promote high standards in tourism training.  We will be sending out emails over the coming weeks, but if you have an interest in our work please post a comment here.

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Programme for Accreditation of Rural Tourism ‘Train the Trainer’ (PART-RTI)

I am pleased to announce that as a result of all our hard work at the beginning of this year that our application for a Leonardo da Vinci Partnership Project has been successful. This Partnership Project includes members from across the EU with partners from the Netherlands, Bulgaria, Germany, Romania and two partners from Ireland.

The awarding of this project from Leonardo da Vinci is welcome and will enable our Network to offer additional benefits to our members through accredited training.  We will be a good position to commence our project immediately because the majority of project partners are familar with each other through our network of Rural Tourism Trainers.  The aim of our Partnership Project is the ‘Accreditation of Rural Tourism International Training Network (RTITN) rural tourism ‘train the trainer’ programme in each of the partner countries to meet national standards and to achieve international recognition’.

Final details are currently being agreed with Leonardo, but tentatively we are planning to hold our first meeting in Cavan / Monaghan, Ireland on the 1st and 2nd October 2009.  We are looking forward to progressing this project, developing our network and offering further rural training initiatives to interested parties in the near future.  We will make further information available through this blog in the coming weeks and months.

With the support of the Life Long Learning Programme of the European Union

With the support of the Life Long Learning Programme of the European Union

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