Posts Tagged leonardo,

Bavarian Hospitality

Project Partners meeting in Bavarian Guesthouse

Bavarian Hospitality at its Best

A week ago we experienced Bavarian hospitality at its best in guesthouse Zehmerhof where Ingrid and her family looked after our project meeting from the 6th to 8th April 2011.  We were treated to two beautiful days weather and our hosts organised lunch in the garden on both days which helped us all to concentrate on our project. 

Bavarian case study of rural tourism accommodation:

Our host Mrs Ingrid Eisenmann provided us with a presentation on how their 9 hectare family farm developed since 1973 in to a 25 room guesthouse & apartments today. Mrs Eisenmann married in to the family farm business in 1996 and came from a background of working in the financial sector.  The majority of employees are members of the farm family and Mr. Eisenmann farms a poultry unit with 8,000 chickens.  In 2003 they built the apartments for self-catering guest accommodation and to their dissappointment visitor numbers was low. 

In 2008, the local Therme was built near Erding which brought a new type of tourist to the area who required accommodation for shorter stays (the Therme is one of Europes largest water based spa facilities which caters for all the family).  The family then experienced an increase in demand for accommodation with breakfast and their self-catering apartments.  They upgraded and expanded their reception area to make their accommodation more comfortable for their guests.  In order to increase their guest numbers further they developed their website and began offering packages which included entrance tickets for the Therme.  Since then their business has taken off and they are happy with their income from the tourism enterprise.

I will not forget the friendliness of our host and the high standards of their accommodation & food.

Spring Sunshine in Bavaria

Partnership agrees that sunshine has helped project to progress!

Partnership Meeting:

Personally for me, this was perhaps one of the most enjoyable meetings of our project todate.  All the remaining tasks for our project have fallen in to place through the dedication and hard work of all the partners equally.  Our partners from Babes-Bolyai clarified that their accreditation has been officially approved and how they are preparing to deliver the course next autumn.

Dr. Anja Hensel-Lieberth from the State Leadership Academy for Nutrition, Agriculture and Forestry provided an insightful presentation on how our project syllabus has been adapted for delivery on a pilot basis.  This course will be presented to a working group who have been working on Europes first Certificate for European Consultants in Rural Areas (CECRA).

This was followed by a presentation by Mr. Wein a colleague of Dr. Hensel-Lieberth and also a senior member of the International Academy of Rural Advisors (IALB) who have been instrumental in developing CECRA.  He clearly highlighted the main objective of CECRA as being the development of a standardised training for agriculture advisors and related stakeholders throughout Europe. 

Our project partners received these presentations enthusiastically and we are going to explore opportunities for the implementation of our train the trainer programme in rural entrepreneurship through CECRA and IALB.  In addition, we are organising a meeting to bring together a number of key European stakeholders in the fields of rural tourism / entrepreneurship, certification and agriculture advisory to a meeting on the 27th May 2011 in the Netherlands. 

We  have developed a worthwhile training programme and are interested in hearing from organisations that we can collaborate with in the future.  I will add more details about our plans in the coming days and we welcome your feedback.

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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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Project Dissemination?

What does project dissemination mean? For others who work in the commercial world and not funded through EU cooperation projects would call it marketing or promotion or publicity.  For me it is all of these and perhaps a little more in the case of our Leonardo Partnership Project.

We have been lucky of enough to be supported through the EU Leonardo Programme and for me it is important to inform others of the work that has been undertaken as a part of our project.  Dissemination is an important element of any project and it is essential to ensure that as wide an audience as possible knows about our work, Leonardo opportunities and potential for future collaborations.

Sometimes, project partners are not familiar with the need to communicate beyond the realms of the immediate project partnership.  This blog has provided a platform for our project partners to communicate and as means of showing others the benefits of our project.  Sometimes each partner needs encouragement to conduct their own dissemination activities, in their own languages. 

Our Romanian colleagues have added details to there own website in the Hungarian language and also had an article publicished in a local newspaper in the Romanian language. The collective efforts of the partners ensures that our project is widely disseminated throughout the EU and within each partners countries. See some of our partner dissemination activity links below which are related to the recent launch of our ‘train the trainer’ programme:

In Romania: ‘Train the Trainer’ in Antreprenoriatul Rural a fost lansat

In Romania:  newspaper article regarding Tourism Training Centre.

In English: Local newspaper in Ireland: Rural Entrepreneurship in AIT

National Rural Network blog article in Ireland

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Invitation to Launch of Train the Trainer

Our plans have come together for the launch our ‘Train the Trainer’ (Rural Entrepreneurship) programme in Athlone on Thursday 27th May at 15.00 hours.  We have colleagues from a number of tourism organisations and training institutions from eight European countries and Canada coming to the launch and other related events.  We have invited Ambassadors from each of the countries, Fáilte Ireland, Leargas and Government to our launch.

We are excited about this launch as it is a cumulation of work that has been ongoing for the last two to three years.  Within the context of our current Leonardo project this is an important milestone and we are working towards accreditation in a further three EU countries.  This module is ideally targeted at either 1. rural entrepreneurs who wish to offer training to their wider local communities in the skills of rural tourism/entrepreneurship or 2. trainers who currently operate in the public/private sector to become proficient in training adults in rural areas.

As a network of organisations from a wider variation of bodies internationally we are focussed on developing training to meet the needs of communities specifically within the rural tourism sector.  During our planned meeting we will also be endeavouring to develop initial plans for new projects.  Some ideas include online learning, training for ecotourism and accreditation of training modules which be delivered by our trainers.  With this in mind, we are interested in welcoming new members who wish to become in developing these ideas in to projects for the future.

Since this programme of events is happening in Ireland, we welcome anyone who is involved in delivery of tourism related training or involved in delivery of the LEADER Rural Development Programme to come along to our launch.  Equally you may be interested in attending our training workshop, which will be delivered by trainers from Bulgaria, Ireland and Romania on the morning of the 27th May.

If interested in attending, it is essential that you email John Toland from Cavan-Monaghan LEADER immediately. There are limited places left for the workshop.

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RTITN submits Leonardo TOI application

In the frame of the Leonardo da Vinci LLP program call 2010 a proposal for a Transfer of Innovation project has been submitted. It is called TRANS RTI – Transfer of RTI-TN’s training methodology in rural tourism to Turkey, Romania and the Netherlands. With this proposal RTI-TN aims to export its training methodology and experience.

 The project proposal encompasses the following activities in Turkey, Romania and the Netherlands:

  1. Needs analysis; a description of the state-of-the-art of the rural tourism (training) sector in importing partner countries. What kind of training is given, which methodologies are being used. What is requested? In the Netherlands there will also be an investigation to the competences of entrepreneurs.
  2. Presentation of RTI-TN methodology; best practices and project results
  3. Adaptation and translation of training materials
  4. RTI-TN Train-the-Trainers course: training of local, regional or national trainers in rural tourism
  5. Training for entrepreneurs according the RTI-TN methodology with the new training materials
  6. Evaluation

Partners are: from Turkey – the Menderes town national education directorate, from Romania – the Centre for Tourism Training, Faculty of Geography, Babes-Bolyai University, from the Netherlands there are 3 partners, 2 vocational schools Helicon Opleidingen and AOC Friesland and project coordinator ECEAT Netherlands. 

Partners who will have advisory roles in the project are: from Germany the Bavarian State Research Center of Agriculture, from Austria Landesfachschule Groebming and from Switzerland AGRIDEA.

We hope for positive result of this application and we can’t wait to start with the proposed activities. Our colleague Carolien van der Laan has put alot of hard work in to preparing this application.  RTITN continues to seek to deliver projects which can enhance rural tourism training.

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Partners Meeting 3 – Bavaria

Our project had its third partners meeting on the 26th and 27th January 2010 in Freising, Munich, Germany.  Our meeting was hosted by our colleagues from the Bavarian State Research Centre of Agriculture and the meeting was held in the most wonderful setting of Kardinal-Dopfner-Haus in the town of Freising.

Our Bavarian colleagues provided us with an insight in to the operations of the Bavarian State Research Center of Agriculture and how their training systems are implimented.  Their Director Dr. Viktoria Lofner-Meir presented an overview of the Research Centers work on the first day of our meeting. This was complimented by a workshop facilitated by Mr. Pablo Asensio the following day on how the ‘train the trainer’ course could be intergrated into their training systems.

"Pablo Asensio gets everyones attention"

Now I have your attention!

It is a rewarding experience to work on a Leonardo project and step outside of your normal comfort zone to work with colleagues on a EU wide basis.  The project has jumped forward with a more defined timeframe of what will be achieved by certain dates thoughout 2010.  Alot of work was undertaken by each of the partners since our last meeting with a view to seeking accreditation for our train the trainers programme.  Each of the partners filled in the gaps in respect of how the accreditation system for vocational education training is managed in their countries. 

Athlone Institute of Technology led the majority of the interactions at this meeting and focussed all partners on the agreement of Irish accreditation template.  Indepth discussions on this topic issued and a rough draft was agreed.  It was clear that this accreditation template was a work in progress document and further input will be required from all partners before the end of March 2010.  Our aim for May 2010 is to have our train the trainers course gain accreditation through the Higher Education & Training Awards Council in Ireland.  This will require significant effort from all partners and we are confident of achiving this aim.

As the lead partner, I was looking for ways to improve our partners communication and maintain an up-to-date record of all partners contributions to our work in progress.  Thanks to Sean Connell from AIT we have brought all partners in to the 21st century through Google.docs.  His workshop which was held during our meeting was a challenge, espeicially as the google default kept bringing some of us to the German version.  Everybody enjoyed it and found it worthwhile.  Its just a case of getting everyone to use it now.

Partners are introduced to Google.docs by Sean

Clear timeframes for delivery of our project aims have been established by 3 of the possible 4 partners involved in seeking accreditation.  In summary, the project is progressing at a pace which is much faster than I would have envisaged after the first meeting held last October!

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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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