European Agenda for Adult Learning admitted that adult participation in learning continues to be low. In order to achieve higher participation rate in lifelong learning the Agenda focuses on: increasing the possibilities for all adults to access flexible, high-quality learning at any time in their lives; developing new approaches to adult education focusing on learning outcomes; raising awareness that learning is a lifelong endeavour; developing effective lifelong guidance systems and systems for validating non-formal and informal learning. On the other hand, adult participation at voluntary work as well as engagement in community development is considered to be a powerful and growing trend. Adults working on a voluntary basis in local community projects, several activities concerning environmental protection, youth, healthcare, sports or cultural activities and so on. Volunteering is considered to be also a very important pillar in many EU level policies and activities, because it can bring people together to share common goals and values. For instance European Culture Capitals have engaged thousands of volunteers to contribute to the success of events. Matera, culture capital in 2019 highlighted that 1540 registered volunteers worked over 22 000 hours in total (https://opendata.matera-basilicata2019.it/en/stories/volounteers/). Besides the necessity of voluntary work it is also an example of strong community commitment, shared knowledge and personal development. Even more, voluntary work is also a learning process where volunteers obtain new knowledge and skills in an informal learning process. Volunteering at culture or sport events can improve in a very practical way (foreign) language skills or increase competences in communication, problem solving, client service, guiding, using IT-tools or platforms. Thus voluntary work can be also an informal learning as a part of an individual learning path. The project aims to promote civic engagement and participation in voluntary work as well as to build the capacity of the volunteer community by developing quality training programme, guidelines for volunteer leaders in partnership with the European Capitals of Culture 2024 in Tartu (Estonia), Bodö (Norway) and Bad-Ischl and Salzkammergut (Austria). By these activities the project creates and promotes learning opportunities among citizens and generations. Secondly the project will develop methods to assess the knowledge obtained during voluntary work and e-tool that helps to validate these knowledge. The project links non-formal education to the adult education system and increases the flexibility of opportunities in education and training. Specifically the project is targeted to promote informal learning and validate it as a part of an individual learning path.
In the beautiful city of Tartu, Estonia, under the #VOLUGRAM project, our partner Tartu2024 has hosted a very productive training meeting from 15-17 November 2022. During the meeting, the VOLUGRAM project partners from #Estonia (Tartu2024 and VOCO), Norway (BODØ2024), and Austria (VAEV and Bad Ischl – Salzkammergut 2024) identified the roles of volunteers, team leaders, and coordinators. Also, they defined key competencies of the team leaders and coordinators necessary for the successful work with volunteers. In the final stage of the meeting, the partners planned and discussed further steps and the overall development of the VOLUGRAM project.
Photos are taken by Liliia Fadeev.