It’s been a busy but rewarding year for the aspire-international team, and we are really proud of all we have accomplished!
Our main function is to deliver transnational projects in the fields of post-16 education and career guidance, but we also promote the benefits of international work, study and volunteering at career events across the country. To summarise our main achievements of 2019: we have finished 2 projects (DECODE and NT4S) and started another 3 (Mental Health+, Career Skills and Global Local), bringing our total number of projects to 14! We have also visited 14 countries (and many more airports!), written 13 Brexit briefings, attended 16 careers events, hosted 6 events/study visits and published 16 blog posts.
All of the team can agree that our 5 highlights of the year are (in no particular order):
Stand Out in a Global Market
We were really proud to host such a successful 7th Stand Out in a Global Market event in Leeds, welcoming over 60 attendees and 10 exhibitors. This was one of our most popular SOGM events, with 94% of attendees rating it as excellent or very good and 90% saying that the event has helped increase their confidence in pursuing international opportunities. The highlights of the day were the workshops (most popular of which was the Polish language taster session facilitated by a member of aspire-igen’s staff) and the employer talk delivered by Mantra Media, as well as the exhibitor podcast on international travel and opportunities.
The SMART LMI web app
After a year and a half, we are proud to have developed the first version of the SMART LMI web app! This app aims to help jobseekers locate employment across Europe in the easiest way possible by bringing together large LMI data sources with a skills assessment tool. This will allow jobseekers to identify areas where they can re/up-skill, according to their desired job, further reducing the skills gap and helping people find fulfilling and successful careers.
Le Salon de l’education
As part of Euroguidance, we promote international work and study to young people across Europe, and we were very pleased to have been invited once again to France’s largest careers event, Le Salon de l’éducation. At this fast-paced, 3-day event, we spoke to hundreds of young people and answered their questions about applying to British universities, as well as the realities of studying and living in the UK. It is always very rewarding to hear that we have reassured young people and provided them with more confidence about pursuing international opportunities and coming to the UK to study.
The ACCEnT Curricular Framework
The ACCEnT project is developing an online course for careers guidance practitioners on how to better support hard-to-reach groups such as asylum seekers, early school leavers and NEETs. As part of this project, aspire-international has been in charge of creating the course curriculum. We are now in the content development phase and it is really encouraging to see how well the curriculum is developing and to fully understand the ways that it will benefit careers practitioners across Europe. Keep an eye out for the finished course!
For the Metropolis project, we are developing a Pokémon-GO style app where young people can explore their local post-industrial areas and learn about how the industrial past links to jobs of the future, to inspire them to remain in their local area when looking for employment. We have completed the first stage of this project which has seen each partner map their local industrial heritage sites, research the ways their decline has impacted the area and predicted labour market growth related to these industries. As a result, we have collaborated on a European wide research paper linking together the past, present and future of post-industrial labour markets – we have all found this to be a very interesting exercise.
Although these have been our top 5, we have had many more achievements throughout the year and hopefully 2020 will be just as successful, if not better than 2019. With an exciting array of new projects in development, we can certainly look forward to more diverse and challenging projects!