Partners were asked to describe the approaches and methods they used for recruitment of participants to the e-learning programme from February to June 2014.
Germany sent out over 100 Employer Information and Mentor Training leaflet to projects, schools and employers. They also sent out translated pathways to the NESSIE programme in German. They recognised early on how important the role of the mentor would be in this process. Youth Agency Heidelberg worked with job seekers between 20 – 27 years old with a mentor. They held a workshop for 10 mentors to work with further job seekers and support employers. The feedback from mentors on materials was positive. More workshops are planned for the future.
Greece held a successful network meeting and dissemination event, after which 80 people expressed an interest in participating. The prospect of certification helped to stimulate interest. Roll out started within the school labs with four staff acting as mentors and went well. They found the roll-out process and accompanying mentoring was a good vehicle for Project dissemination. 60% of students worked through the materials on their own, after attending dissemination events. Mentors were available to respond to questions by email or telephone.
The other 40% of participants worked together in computer labs in the vocational school complex, with mentors present and able to help on the spot both technically and with the content or any other questions that arose. These workshops tool place over three different evenings, lasting 3-4 hours each.
Working with students and mentors all together at the same time and place, was the most effective and directly rewarding experience. As a result they exceeded their target numbers.
Italy reported that it was difficult to find employers to join courses. They disseminated information through the employers leaflet and delivered communication/information about NESSIE during seminars and classes. Employers seemed to be interested in courses, but did not want their employees to do them during working time. The reflection of the coordinator states, “The Italians are always very hard to involve in online training and training in general. They do only when is compulsory and not always also in this case. They are more likely involved in traditional classes.” Mentoring was managed with face to face interviews or via Skype.
Netherlands talked about the programme to stimulate curiosity among employers. They worked with volunteers in the workplace and use a coach with job seekers. They sent out the Mentor Information and the Employer Information leaflets. Everything worked and they experienced few technical problems. They considered this as an improvement compared with the technical testing period.
Romania created a Google forum with over 60 people expressing an interest in becoming mentors. They created a tutorial to present the NESSIE platform (including librarians who will be on hand in libraries for those who did not have computers at home). They encountered some problems with Yahoo addresses as they interpreted the mail as spam. They were advised to try other email provider.
E-learning material was delivered during structured classes in different Romanian educational institutions. Teachers organized face to face sessions to show students the NESSIE programme including the enrollment process and how the site worked. Users then worked through materials on their own and their mentor met with them on a regular basis to discuss progress. When required, mentors worked through materials with users on a one-to-one or small group basis – mostly after structured courses with tutor teachers in Vocational High Schools and Staff at University level.
Interest in the resources was high, and most of people who were made aware of NESSIE were interested in following the programme as NESSIE students. Those who initially trained as NESSIE mentors, also wanted to become NESSIE students and gain all the benefices related to it.
As the consequence of getting people involved in the NESSIE course by Facebook, most of Romanian users worked through the materials on own without a mentor. Some of them are teachers and received some guidance on the whole approach of NESSIE courses. The Teacher Training Centre created an additional tutorial for them and answered their questions by phone and mail. The team explained the enrollment procedure, the NESSIE vision, and how to work through the NESSIE material. They recommended that NESSIE participants received the support of a mentor (their headmaster or a more experienced colleague). However, at this stage they found that it was necessary for mentors to complete the NESSIE programme in order to become aware and be experienced enough to act as a mentor. And to complete the course they needed mentors. Overall the mentor’s role has been a big issue for Romania, also as a dissemination and a motivation issue.
Sweden Bollnas met with some employers to disseminate information and to convince them to recruit their employees to join the roll out. They gave information and told employees how to register and start, and then followed up with leaflets etc. They worked with own staff to a great extent to disseminate and inform and motivate people to join the NESSIE platform. They received support from their job coaches to create accounts. Bollnas found it hard to attract interest, just by sending out leaflets etc to employers. Employers tended to say that it is “interesting”, but when it came to providing time for testing they could not commit. It is considered important to talk to the employers whom you would like to “use” as pilot testers.
Job coaches worked through the mentors’ training materials and they then recruited and supported job seekers. It was clarified that based on the feedback from the technical testing, it was very likely that all participants would need some guidance or mentoring. Job coaches and participants worked together discussing materials and working through on a big screen in a kind of regular class approach. It was easier with jobseekers, when they were already taking part in existing activities (e.g. “Youth Portal”, a programme to motivate, stimulate and orientate jobseekers). There is a risk though, that users run through the materials too fast, so they have to be monitored, as time is needed for reflection.
Sweden Sandvikens adopted the same approach as Bollnas. Through the board of the entrepreneurs association, Sandvikens reached other employed people. Every person worked at their own pace, working on the e-learning material when there was spare time. However, that proved problematic, as spring was a hectic time for many of the staff. On reflection, they felt they should have provided a scheme and with a clear deadline. Momentum was not good, and led to gathering employees together during working time to see whether or not they could complete the course. The general feeling was that planning and support is really necessary – even with already employed people undertaking a course in an area they should have great interest in.
UK met with some factory employers and a variety of staff members at Dundee and Angus College. They delivered more motivating, coaching and advising sessions rather than training sessions. They had to chase the pilot group to keep the momentum of the courses. It was felt that with any distant learning experience, some would have lost motivation without support. For that reason, a mix of mentor and self study approaches was adopted.