Posts Tagged train the trainer

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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Andragogy in Practice; half day workshop.

We have been discussing various teaching strategies, course syllabus and accreditation as part of our Leonardo funded project for nearly a year now.  We have trainers from several countries accross Europe involved in our project and from our network.  As a result, we thought that we would use our next project meeting and network General Assembly as an opportunity to share some of our learning strategies with you.

We would like to invite you to a half-day workshop entitled ‘Andragogy in Practice’ on Thursday 27th May 2010 in Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT), Athlone, County Westmeath, Ireland. Our trainers will demonstrate examples of learning strategies based on the theme of rural tourism ‘train the trainer’ program.  This interactive workshop will be delivered in English by experienced trainers from Bulgaria, Ireland, Romania and Switzerland using a range of adult learning strategies. 

This workshop is targeted at all trainers involved in delivering programmes to adults and particularly to those in the tourism sector.  We want to use this workshop to explore the best case examples of learning strategies which are used by colleagues throughout the EU.  This is also an opportunity for trainers to meet likeminded colleagues from different organisations and countries in the field of tourism training.

The workshop will be delivered between 9.00 & 13.00 in AIT and will form part of our RTITN General Assembly and Partnership Project meeting. We are also planning a networking activity in the afternoon for all trainers in the the afternoon and further details will be confirmed here in the coming weeks.  There will be no fee for RTITN members and a booking fee will be required from non-members.  If you are interested, please in the first instance contact us by commenting on this blog and we will keep you updated about our plans as they are confirmed.

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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  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 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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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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Partners meeting in Cluj Napoca, Romania

I am delighted to inform you all that we had a sucessful preparatory meeting in the Babes-Bolyai University (BBU), Cluj-Napoca last week and are now busy preparing our Leonardo Partnership Application which needs to be submitted by the 20th February.

 The meeting was productive and positive, with some very good proposals coming forward.  Essentially we have kept the project simple and that we would use this opportunity to work closer together to develop more ambitious plans in the future.  I have outlined the core outcomes and actions which were agreed at the meeting below:

  1. we will submit a Leonardo Partnership Application by 20th February
  2. Project name: ‘Programme for Accreditation of Rural Tourism ‘Train the Trainer’ (Acronym: PART – RTI)
  3. Main Aim of Partnership Project: ‘Accreditation of RTITN Train the Trainer programme in each of the partner countries to meet national standards and to achieve international recognition’
  4. Cavan Monaghan Rural Development (CMRD – Ireland) will be coordinating partner and that the European Centre for Ecological and Agricultural Tourism (ECEAT – Netherlands) will act as supporting partner
  5. the Working language of the partnership is English
  6. We currently have two partners from Ireland and Romania, one from Bulgaria, Germany and the Netherlands

We were treated to wonderful hospitality by all that we met in Romania and also had an opportunity to visit some excellent rural development projects in Transylvania.

I would like to extend my particular thanks to Dr. Silvia Irimiea, Mr. Zoltan Pal from BBU and Ms. Teodora Borghoff for their hospitality and professionalism in organising our meeting.

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Accreditation of RTI-TN Train the Trainer Programme



Following RTITN Board meeting held on the 17th and 18th November in the Netherlands, the following proposal was drafted with a view to making an application for grant assistance.  This project idea has arisen as a result of work which has been ongoing since 2003 to develop training materials appropriate for the rural farming/tourism sector.  It is a logical next step to have this material accredited and continue to deliver ‘train the trainer’ programmes.


We wish to attract further interest from RTITN members to become involved in this project and/or feed in to new projects which are yet to be developed.


In addition to this draft proposal a more detailed proposal is currently being developed in advance of a partners meeting planned for early February in Romania.  We would welcome your comments or interest in becoming a partner with this project by commenting on this blog.


Draft Project Proposal for discussion with potential partners:


A number of partners throughout Europe have expressed an interest in working with RTITN to progress this project proposal.  The planned meeting in February would be used to agree upon an action plan for the delivery of a proposal to organise ‘train the trainer’ programmes and to have the same programme accredited in a number of EU countries.  We are examining the possibility of either submitting an application to Leonardo (2009) under the ‘Transfer of Innovation’ and/or ‘Partnership’ funding programme.  We would use this partners meeting to become familiar with the accreditation systems in each partner country and formulate an action plan. 



i.                    A number of RTITN members will instigate a process of accreditation in each of there countries to have the RTITN – ‘Train the Trainer’ programme officially accredited by their nationally recognised system.

ii.                 The principles of RTITN experience in developing training material for farmers/rural entrepreneurs and delivering the ‘Train the Trainers’ programme[1] will set the minimal standards[2] for this accreditation process

iii.               As part of the project we would envisage that the RTITN – ‘Train the Trainer’ programme would be delivered in each of the partner countries

iv.                We will develop linkages and work with European bodies charged with cooperation in respect of accreditation across Europe

v.                  The project will focus on the following outputs;

a.      an accredited rural tourism train the trainer programme

b.     shared learning in respect of accreditation among partners 

c.      accreditation process been developed, whilst working in tandem with EU bodies responsible for a common approach on training accreditation

d.      it is imperative that all those trained will be available to deliver training programmes to rural communities and farmers throughout their own country and indeed Europe

e.      we will agree minimal standards for a quality trainer in this sector

f.      increase the number of RTITN trained trainers across EU and internationally


vi.                The lead partner for this project is anticipated to be RTITN (Netherlands based) or Cavan Monaghan Rural Development and todate we have partners confirmed from Romania, Germany and Ireland.  Other interested groups are welcome to become involved, although it will be a requirement that all project participants are members of RTITN.

vii.             This initial proposal will be developed in more detail following greater communication between the partners.


We are working towards the submission of a Leonardo application deadline of the 20th February and it is important that you communicate with us immediately if interested.  We are also open to other project ideas and funding opportunities, for example to work with partners outside of the EU.


Please respond with your initial comments or questions to John Toland, Chairperson RTITN on this blog.



[1] ‘Train the Trainer’ has been delivered and tested in Austria (2007.) for Western Europe, Hungary (2008.) for Central Europe and Georgia (2008.) for Eastern Europe.

[2] Minimal Standards will have to be agreed between partners in advance of the commencement of the application process for funding and this will form the basis for a ‘memorandum of understanding’ which will have to be agreed between all parties.

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