Last week was the third study visit organised as part of the AdEIGuS project. The visit lasted a week and took place in Vienna. We were joined by Marcus Burton, an advisor from the National Careers Service in Leeds on the trip, as well as our partners from Slovenia, Belgium, Lithuania and Finland.
The week was hosted by our Austrian partners, BEST, who provide training and guidance across Vienna and Lower Austria. Much of BEST’s work is supported by the Austrian Employment Service (AMS), both in terms of financial support and referrals. Indeed one of the most noticeable differences between the Austrian and UK systems was the level of support available for the employed and unemployed to further their careers.
Much of the group was surprised, for example, to hear that the state offered generous funding to help people looking to change careers so that they can take a break from work to retrain. Often it is the financial cost of further training which prevents people from making this change in the UK and we were impressed by the completely different approach taken in Austria.
Throughout the week we visited different training centres. Most were geared towards unemployed people, but one memorable experience came at Golden Goal, a project aimed at marginalised young people, particularly those with problems which prevent them from taking part in mainstream education. The project takes a holistic approach, offering sport and art classes, alongside more tradition counselling and guidance. This approach seemed to be working well, as it both improves the young people’s self-esteem and provides them with vital basic skills which they can use to begin to reintegrate into the labour market.
Alongside the study visit we had some time to explore the city. The architecture in Vienna is stunning and it was lovely (if a little cold!) to spend a few hours in the evening wandering the streets. We also managed to find time to sample the famous Viennese patisseries. Indeed one thing that brings all of the partners together is a love of cake and we shared a fantastic final afternoon in the traditional Café Central coffee house.
The next study visit is planned for May and will take place in Slovenia. We have already been promised good wine, lots of interesting guidance projects and a trip to some caves!
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