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Piloting phase is progressing well in Bulgaria

Disadvantaged youth are actively engaged with the e-learning platform, where they are studying different units for financial literacy training. In the next month they will finalise the training and we will publish their testimonials.

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The project promoted during the 33rd EURASHE Conference “Stronger Together” – 22-23 May 2024, St. Polten, Austria

On 22 and 23 May 2024, in Sankt Pölten, Austria, the 33rd Annual conference by EURASHE on the theme: “Stronger together: Promoting transnational cooperation” took place. Mr. Andrean Lazarov, the CEO of the Bulgarian Inclusion Support Team was among the key panelists together with Mrs. Sophia Eriksson Waterschoot – the General Director for Youth, Education and Erasmus+ at the European Commission’s Directorate General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture as well as representatives of Šiauliai State UAS, Thomas More UAS, Burgenland UAS, under the moderation of Mr. Michal Karpišek – member of the European Alliance E³UDRES².

Mr. Andrean Lazarov with Mrs. Sophia Eriksson Waterschoot – the General Director for Youth, Education and Erasmus+ at the European Commission’s Directorate General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture

During his speech, Mr. Lazarov presented the advantages of the Erasmus+ programme towards transnational cooperation and gave particular examples with different EU projects, where BIST is involved.

Mr. Andrean Lazarov with Mr. Hannes Raffaseder – President of EURASHE

Ongoing piloting phase with youth with fewer opportunities in Bulgaria

The piloting phase already started in Bulgaria with 20 youth with fewer opportunities aged between 16 and 29 years at 94 SU “Dimitar Strashimirov” Sofia, Bulgaria.

They are very motivated to learn more about financial literacy and especially how they can manage better their income, how to make family budget and what are the pros and cons related to credits and loans.

All of them registered to the e-learning platform, where they have been instructed how to navigate with the training modules. Their trainers already conducted the pre-assessment of the financial literacy knowledge and all identified gaps will be covered in the training, which will last until end of July 2024.

 

Presentation of the project during ADAPTREF multiplier event – 17 April 2024, Sofia, Bulgaria

The FINLIT YOUTH project was presented during the ADAPTREF final multiplier event. It was held on 17 April 2024 in Sofia, Bulgaria and organised by the Bulgarian Inclusion Support Team. The reference between the inclusion of disadvantaged youth from refugee and immigrant communities was referenced to the FINLIT YOUTH project and its deliverables, because the financial literacy is important also for this target group. The event was with the participation of the 94 SU “Dimitar Strashimirov” Sofia. Discussion about possible exploitaiton of the project was discussed.

 

Induction piloting phase with disadvantaged youth was held in Plovdiv on 06-07 April 2024

The piloting with disadvantaged youth started successfully in Plovdiv. During 2-days induction training 17 disadvantaged youth (people with disabilities, immigrants and people representing ethnic minorities) have participated.

All participants registered on the e-learning platform and received dedicated guidance on how to use the project modules. On the second training day, they have implemented the pre-assessment via the e-learning platform of their existing financial literacy knowledge.

Presentation of the project during IM-PRO-MENT dissemination and exploitation multiplier event – 20 March 2024, Sofia, Bulgaria

The project was presented On 20 March, 2024 in the Great Hall “prof. Asen Zlatarov” of the Federation of Scientific and Technical Unions (FNTS) in Sofia during IM-PRO-MENT final event. It was organized by the project coordinator 94 SU “Dimitar Strashimirov” Sofia (project coordinator) in partnership with “Bulgarian Inclusive Support Team” Sofia. More than 50 people took part in the event, including principals of vocational schools, teachers, pedagogical counsellors, students (including participants in the pilot phase of the project), as well as representatives of the Union of Bulgarian teachers and academics.

Chairing the panel on inclusion of disadvantaged youth in regional agriculture, International Fair AGRA 2024, 22 February 2024, Plovdiv

Thanks to the invitation of the University of Agribusiness and Regional Development – Bulgaria, the Bulgarian Inclusion Support Team and its CEO Mr. Andrean Lazarov was invited as moderator of the event tailored to inclusion of disadvantaged youth in regional agriculture. It was held as part of International Fair AGRA 2024 on 22 February 2024, Plovdiv, Bulgaria.

During the event, the involvement of marginalised youth in urban agriculture activities was discussed. The minister of agriculutre and regional development pointed out that special financial grants are available for start ups in for these disadvantaged people. Youth workers were informed about the project and possible exploitation was negotiated.

Presentation of the project during VISAGE4JOBS final multiplier event – 15 February 2024 – Sofia, Bulgaria

The FINLIT YOUTH project was disseminated as part of the VISAGE4JOBS final multiplier event, which was held on 15 February 2024 in Sofia, Bulgaria. The project coordinator Mrs. Latinka Kovacheva and Mrs. Penka Nikolova together with Mr. Andrean Lazarov from Bulgarian Inclusion Support Team presented the project results and the mid-term outcomes from the piloting phase for detection and prevention of possible Burnout syndrome among teachers. 40 representatives of the project’s target groups took part in it, including teachers, psychologists, pedagogical advisors, career consultants, representatives of vocational training centers.

 

Transnational dissemination of our project initiatives during INVEST Conference at University of Reims Champagne-Ardenne – 23 January 2024, Reims, France

Thanks to the kind invitation by the University of Agrobusiness and Rural Development, our CEO Mr. Andrean Lazarov participated during the INVEST Conference at the University of Reims Champagne-Ardenne. The event was held on 23 January 2024, at the Aula of the university in Reims, France. He presented all project initiatives, where the Bulgarian Inclusion Support Team is either coordinator or partner. The event was attended by academicians, staff and PhD students from universities in Greece, Finland, Spain, Italy and Bulgaria. In the informal part of the event, potential for transfer of the outputs to the context of their countries was discussed.

The CEO of the Bulgarian Inclusion Support Team (project conceptor and partner) Mr. Andrean Lazarov was welcomed by the Rector of the University, who is also the Chairman of the University of France – the union of universities in France Prof. Guillaume Gelle.

All speakers were invited on reception with the Mayor of Reims at the Reims City Hall.

Chairing the pannel on “Inclusion of people with fewer opportunities and special needs” during Annual Valorisation Conference “Active citizenship in Europe” of the Bulgarian Erasmus+ National Agency – 05.12.2023 – Sofia, Bulgaria

In its role as the National Agency for the European Programs “Erasmus+” and “European Solidarity Corps”, the Human Resources Development Centre organise the Annual Valorisation Conference 2023 on the topic “Active Citizenship in Europe”.

Special guests at the event were Acad. Prof. Nikolay Denkov (Prime Minister of the Republic of Bulgaria), Prof. PhD Galin Tsokov (Minister of Education and Science) and Dr. Vanya Kastreva (Head of Regional Educational Directorate – Sofia). During this year’s conference, five discussion panels were held, during which the reflection of European values and priorities in the two programs was discussed. Special attention was paid to the topic of inclusion of people with fewer opportunities and special needs and how they are included in the projects, and in this regard, the chair of the panel was our Chief Executive Officer Mrs. Andrean Lazarov, who is also an accredited National consultant in the vocational education and training area. In his summary, he highlighted the exceptional role of the Erasmus+ program in the formation of soft skills, a sense of belonging and the professional and social inclusion of this target group and presented as best practice current initiatives, which are managed with the participation by the Bulgarian Inclusion Support Team.

With the Minister of Education and Science of Republic of Bulgaria – prof. PhD Galin Tzokov.

Presentation of the project results during the national seminar “From Generation Z to Generation Europass, 1 December 2023, Sandanski

The national seminar was organised by the National agency of Erasmus+ in Bulgaria and the Bulgarian National VET team, where 2 representatives of the project team are national consultants (Mrs. Penka Nikolova from 94 SU “Dimitar Strashimirov” Sofia and Mr. Andrean Lazarov from Bulgarian Inclusion Support Team – Sofia). The event was focused on youth and their trainers from vocational high schools in the region within the framework of the “European Year of Skills – 2023”.

In the framework of the workshop, they consulted youth and their trainers about common mistakes and advice in career development and preparation for the labor market, as well as provided guidelines for overcoming them with a view to easier access to the labor market in Bulgaria.

Keynote speakers from project consortium during XVII International congress of the organisations working in the field of education – 08-10 November 2023, Oviedo, Spain

The project, which is coordinated by 94 SU “Dimitar Strashimirov” and partnered by the Bulgarian Inclusion Support Team and ASOCIACIÓN MADRILEÑA DE PROFESIONALES DE LA ATENCIÓN TEMPRANA, Madrid, Spain was presented during the XVII International congress of the organisations working in the field of education, which was held in the period 08-10 November 2023 in Oviedo, Spain.

It was organised by the University of Oviedo and included more than 200 participants from Europe and Latin America (academicians, business representatives, teachers, lecturers, NGO representatives, policy makers). During the first congress day, the team of Bulgarian Inclusion Support Team presented the key outcomes of the project, especially appreciated by the giant name in the didactics of Spain – prof. Antonio Medina Rivilla from UNED | Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia and the key organiser prof. Emilio Álvarez Arregui – President of UNESCO Spain . Possibilities for exploitation of the key project results in Spain and in Latin America were discussed.

More information at: https://www.cioie2023.org/es/programa.php 

The role of the financial literacy training discussed during INVEST WINTER SCHOOL 2023 – “AN INTRODUCTION TO NATURE-INCLUSIVE AGRICULTURE”

Thanks to the kind invitation of the UARD – Bulgaria, the Bulgarian Inclusion Support Team was invited as keynote speaker at the INVEST WINTER SCHOOL 2023 – “AN INTRODUCTION TO NATURE-INCLUSIVE AGRICULTURE”, which was held in the period 08-15 October 2023 in Heerenveen and Leeuwarden in The Netherlands. The financial literacy was discussed as a matter of high importance toward the topic was “The inclusive urban agriculture as an approach towards social entrepreneurship”. Students (including those with disabilities) from Slovakia, Bulgaria, Greece and Finland took part in the school. Major point of interest for them was the existing policies and good practices into financial literacy and social entrepreneurship in Bulgaria. The initial version of the project training material was presented, where the opportunities for social entrepreneurship are dully explained.

Presentation of the project to youth trainers at University of Plovdiv “Paisii Hilendarski”

On 05 September 2023, a meeting with youth trainers was organised at the University of Plovdiv “Paisii Hilendarski”. Mrs. Nevena Apostolova from the team of 94 SU “Dimitar Strashimirov” Sofia presented the project concept and the draft version of the project deliverables meant to contribute to further financial literacy trainings of youth with fewer opportunities. During the session was gathered feedback and suggestions for modifications, which will be reported to the project consortium and will be taken into account.

Considerable project progress reached during the international partners meeting in Samsun, Turkiye

The team of HAVZA İLÇE MİLLİ EĞİTİM MÜDÜRLÜĞÜ together with the other Turkish partners ATLAS Academy welcomed the partnership during the 2nd international partners meeting held in the lovely Samsun, Turkiye. The meeting was opened by the Sayit Ahmet Dikmen – as coordinator of EU projects on behalf of the regional educational directorate.

Then the project coordinator Mrs. Latinka Kovacheva from 94 SU Dimitar Strashimirov Sofia and the President of AMPAT Prof. PhD Pilar Gutiez Cuevas presented the status of the project activities.

Intensive discussion was held in terms of the finalisation of the content of the modular content for delivery of financial literacy training for youth with fewer opportunities aged 16-29.

The project coordinator gave an appreciation plaquette to the partners for their successful work so far and encouraged them to keep the same power in the future.

Special session during the meeting was dedicated to the financial clinics with regards to the first progress report.

Participation and dissemination at EURASHE Annual conference – 8-9 June 2023, Bucharest, Romania

The CEO of the Bulgarian Inclusion Support Team – Mr. Andrean Lazarov was invited to participate together in a Breakout session about the INVEST Fellow programme during the 32nd Annual EURASHE conference. The event took place on 8-9 June 2023 and was hosted by the University POLITEHNICA of Bucharest (UPB). During the event series discussions were held about the inclusive Higher education together with the new EURASHE President, Mr. Hannes Raffaseder, CEO of the St. Pölten University of Applied Science and the Rector of UPB Prof. Mihnea Costoiu. Both of them expressed interest towards the project and it was agreed to invite them for one of the project multiplier events.

Successful kick off meeting was held in Sofia on 23 May 2023

The first physical meeting of the project was held on 23 May 2023 in Sofia, Bulgaria. It was organised after series of online meetings, which were organised since the project start on 01 March 2023. The purpose of the meeting was to conclude on the curriculum for the development of handbook and educative videos for youth with fewer opportunities.

Each of the partners presented their contribution to the handbook and the partners concluded on the final version. The curriculum is based on the European framework for financial literacy training as adopted by the Bulgarian and Spanish governments. The next step will be the development of the units. The partners discussed also the initial content of the storyboards of the planned educative videos.

The meeting continued with discussion on internal quality assurance and dissemination activities. The partners prepared a future calendar with planned presentations including Inclusive education congresses in Mexico, Paraguay, Brasil as well as in Brussels, Belgium and Bucharest, Romania.

Our key participation at the panel sessions of the International Knowledge Week on Inclusion, Diversity, Equity & Access, 8-11.05.2023, at Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Erasmus University Rotterdam (a key partner of the Bulgarian Inclusion Support Team) has been working on the fundamental topics of inclusion, diversity, equity and access for more than seven years. Their dedicated and institutionalized IDEA Center now consists of more than 20 specialists that develop and execute our institutional and integral approach on inclusion, diversity, equity and access. The IDEA Center has taken on a pioneering role, nationally and in Europe helping initiate IDEA-structures at universities, disseminating our knowledge and expertise.

During the week, various national and international speakers – including Prof. Lina Gálvez Muñoz (European Parliament), Alfred Herrera (University of California, Los Angeles), Prof. Eveline Crone (Erasmus University Rotterdam – EUR), Fanny Passeport (Education Development Officer at Erasmus X, EUR) & Dr. Dirk Deichmann (Associate Professor, EUR) and our CEO Mr. Andrean Lazarov – together with academicians, researchers, PhD students and disability organisation representing participants shared practical insights and knowledge on topics such as (academic) outreach, student engagement, inclusive education & Universal Design for Learning, inclusive HR, inclusive communication and monitoring & research.

During the panel workshop “Integrating Universal Design for Learning into your course” we have presented the recent development in the field of Universal Design for Learning (UDL). UDL is an approach that allows instructors to proactively design their course content and pedagogical strategies to anticipate a wide range of needs. Rather than seeing students as ‘average’, they are considered as ‘variable’. By acknowledging and welcoming diversity, instructors adopt a pluralistic approach that honors learning differences. When applying UDL, the instructor provides multiple ways of engagement, representation, and action & expression. Concrete examples from EUR applications (and reflections) in a ‘Design Thinking’ course at RSM (in fall 2022) and contributions from the Bulgarian inclusion support team recent and past development were presented. The concept and expected results of the project were disseminated to the audience.

More information and detailed programme is available here: https://www.eur.nl/en/research/information-form-idea-international-knowledge-week/idea-international-knowledge-week-wednesday

Our participation at TRANSVAL-EU European conference in Paris, France

Our team was invited to participate as key speaker during the plenary sessions at the European conference “Transversal Skills for Work and Life: Strengthening Guidance and Validation” which was held between 18-19 April 2023 in Paris, France

The main aim of the conference was to build bridges between research, policy and practice for guidance and validation of transversal competences in Europe. Both in work settings and in daily life, there is a growing need for individuals to develop high-level competences to address complex challenges. Transversal competences set the foundation for personal development, resilience, the ability to communicate and work constructively with others, problem-solving, and the ability to manage one’s learning and career. Yet transversal competences are not always valued or made visible in guidance and validation processes for disadvantaged learners.

The ongoing TRANSVAL-EU project — co-financed by Erasmus+ KA3 Policy Reform – Policy Experiments coordinated by OeAD, Austrian Agency for Education and Internationalization (Austrian National Agency of Erasmus+ programme) – one of the largest policy experimentations in Europe — aimed to bridge this gap in guidance and assessment in validation of non-formal and informal learning (VNFIL). The TRANSVAL-EU research conference  provided opportunities for researchers to share and discuss state-of-the-art research in the field of validation of non-formal and informal learning (VNFIL) of transversal skills, including in conference panels, workshops, and a networking reception.

 

Dissemination of the project during youth training on the topic: “Career guidance and presentation of knowledge and skills for success – a step forward to a successful career” – 4-5 April 2023, Plovdiv, Bulgaria

On 04-05/04/2023, our team was invited as key trainers during the training workshop named: “Career guidance and presentation of knowledge and skills for success – a step forward to a successful career”. The event is part of the European year of skills events, organised by the Human resource development centre, Europass Bulgaria, Euroguidance Bulgaria and the National Expert Team on VET in Bulgaria.

The training was opened by Mrs. Antoineta Pakova, head of the Regional educational directorate – city of Plovdiv.  Our team presented the project concept and advised youth with fewer opportunities to ensure their successful transition between the school and independent living.