Quality Report

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Quality Report
SAMIN
Innovative Approaches to migrants’ employability
Quality Report
1 Content 1. Introduction………………………………………………………………………………………………………....2 2. Project management …………………………………………………………………………………………….3 2.1 Grounding values…………………………………………………………………………………………….3 2.2 General Functioning………………………………………………………………………………………...4 2.2.1
Decision-­‐making……………………………………………………………………………….....4 2.2.2
Roles…………………………………………………………………………………………………...5 2.2.3
Communication……………………………………………………………………………………6 2.2.4
Project planning and task management…………………………………………….…..7 2.2.5
Risk management: monitoring and evaluation……………………………………....8 3. Financial management………………………………………………………………………………………......8 4. Conclusion………………………………………………………………………………………………………….....9 5. Bibliography………………………………………………………………………………………………………....10 6. List of acronyms…………………………………………………………………………………………………....11 Annex……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………...….12 2 1. Introduction Coordinating the SAMIN project has been a really interesting and formative task. In the framework of the project, we write this experience quality report from the perspective of the project coordinators. It is an experience report because it clarifies the attitude, the management approach, tools put in place and lessons learned in project coordination during the project. It is a quality report because it analyses the quality of the project management and results. As we believe that quality is defined by each project, we adopted criteria and a definition of “quality” that is proper to the project. This project is a Transfer of Innovation, financed under the Lifelong Learning Programme of the European Union. The SAMIN project aims to answer to the question “How to better take into account migrants’ needs in vocational, education and training” (henceforth, VET). The project lasted two years and it involved six organisations from six different European countries. The organisations involved are training organisations and consultancy ones. They are: Berufsförderunginstitut OÖ (BFI OÖ, AT), ESTA Bildungswerk (ESTA, DE), Centre d’Entraînement aux Méthodes d’Education Active Rhône-­‐Alpes (CEMEA, FR), Centro per lo Sviluppo Creativo Danilo Dolci (CSC, IT), European Innovation Consultancy and Network (EURICON, NL), Merseyside Expanding Horizons (MEH, UK). The aim of this report is two-­‐folds: on the one hand, it aims at providing a glimpse of the results in relation to the quality framework established at the start of the project, while on the other it aims at providing an overview of the management tools put in place to steer it. Different data concerning the management of the project were collected through the project life span through internal evaluation forms and bilateral phone calls with project partners. This report is intended to project coordinators, project officers, practitioners and in general those working on the management of a European scale project. 3 2. Project Management This section of the report aims at describing which are the values in which the management of this project is grounded as well with how relevant aspects of project management have been handled. The aspects of general management have been selected on the basis of the main activities that have been carried out to steer the project. 2.1
Grounding values The coordinator grounded the project in common values meant to guide the steering of the activities during the project life span. This part of project management is of utmost importance, because it allows to ground national experiences on a common European basis. The common values are therefore established through common definitions and shared vocabulary. One of the main challenges of a European project is to understand local and national realities in order to find the commonalities that allow for a real sharing of perspectives and solutions amongst project partners. For example, while working in one of the Work Packages the consortium agreed on a common definition about “migration”. The definition adopted needed to broad enough to be applied on a European-­‐scale and it needed to convey also the idea that migration is a right part of someone’s identity and it’s part one’s life path. In English, we therefore preferred to talk about individuals with a migration background (please refer to the Gap Analysis document on the www.saminvet.eu platform). Partners agreed furthermore on the management approach that has been used during the project. The project management approach has been based on the principle of a “steering committee”. The idea underpinning this committee is the belief that shared decision-­‐making and collective work is more accepted and more efficient in terms of commitment of the group, impact on the local level and shared expertise. 4 2.2
General functioning In order to describe how the partnership functioned over the past two years, we will firstly refer to a definition of group structure that is “the underlying patterns of roles, norms and relations among members that organises groups” (Forsyth, 2009). The aim of this section is to describe how roles, norms and relations were shaped and built during the project. This section will therefore describe these concepts and explain the methods and tools used by the project coordinator to put them in place. 2.2.1 Decision Making According to Stéphane Safin, psychologist and professor at the University of Liege, different decision-­‐making processes occur within a group. These are: ‣ Only one person decides ‣ Unanimity, where everyone agrees ‣ Expert decision, where no agreement is reached ‣ Minority decision ‣ Majority decision, without negotiations ‣ Consensual decision, with negotiations The effects of good decision-­‐making are evident by the quality of decisions and they imply a higher commitment of the group members. It was belief of the project coordinators that the establishment of a steering committee would have been beneficial to the project, since it would have commit all partners all along the project life and in the completion of the outputs of the project. As members of the steering committee, each partner was involved in each of the WP lead by one organisation with the task of providing data and editing and validating the final output based on the feedback received during the experimentations of the output itself. Each organisation was furthermore involved in the agenda making, minutes and to do lists editing. As the experience of this project has shown, the steering committee is a way to strengthen commitment in the project and put the partners’ expertise together for a common goal, namely transferring European practices into local realities to better work on migration and VET. The graphic below, can show how each individual expertise and skills as well with group work, contributed to the accomplishment of tasks and produced the project outputs. However, as 5 negative effects, this functioning has revealed to be time consuming and, in order to properly function, tasks and responsibilities have to be detailed and clear and well planned ahead. This example of input-­‐process-­‐output model assumes that group processes mediate the relationships between input factors and outputs. The table identifies also the individual and group factors. The dotted lines represent the feedback loops (Forsyth, 2009). 2.2.2 Roles The definition of role, according to Forsyth (Forsyth, 2009), is the following: “a coherent set of behaviours expected of people who occupy a specific position within a group”. In the framework of the project, the LLP Transfer of Innovation Programme attributes different roles to project organisations. One organisation is therefore responsible of the project coordination, the other ones are responsible of achieving a certain output and consequently a certain number of outcomes (these are defined in what is called Work Package, henceforth WP). Therefore, concerning the roles, the group dynamic has been already rooted in an existing framework. Since every partner organisation involved in the project has the responsibility of leading a WP, this responsibility is based on the organisation main strengths and expertise. It is 6 possible to infer that the group already started with the attribution of tasks and definition of local and national needs of the target groups of the project during the writing of the application procedure. During the SAMIN life-­‐span, partners had different roles, tasks and responsibilities according to the project life cycle and according to the WP life cycle. After the first transnational meeting (Kick off meeting), partners have been involved in defining the Work Plan. Each organisation involved in the project had the role of WP package leader as well as the one of member of the steering committee, accordingly. The responsibilities differed according to the role the organisation had. For example, if one of the organisations had the role of WP leader, the responsibilities it had were related to the completion of the WP, leading the team members in providing data, feedback and validation. In this case the role was task and relation oriented. If the organisation had the role of member of the steering committee it had to provide support and validation to the WP leader (please refer to the table 1 and 2 in ANNEX). In this case, the role was facilitation oriented. At the beginning of the project, the coordinator put in place a Vade mecum for project partners. The Vade mecum addressed different issues, such as the sharing of common values, the definition of roles in the project management, as well with rules for financial management. In addition to the roles that each partner had to play in the project, every organisation had furthermore a role to play with the target group, mid and end users of the project and other relevant stakeholders in order to root the project on local level. 2.2.3 Communication According to Stéphane Safin, there are different ways of communicating. They can be visually summed up as follows: According to the different needs, the project partnership used different communication channels. Every month, the project consortium held online meetings. The agenda and the minute were sent to other project partners by the project coordinator. The minute contained as well to do lists. 7 The online meetings took place on Skype and as well on the project Moodle platform on the saminvet.eu website. The advantage of the meetings on the platform, were related to some functions that are absent on Skype, such as the possibility of uploading a document and pointing at it during the conversation. This type of communication was therefore integrated and centralised. Besides online meetings, bilateral and group e-­‐mails and phone calls regularly took place during the project. One lesson learned concerning communication is related to the fact that communication is smoother if there is a code to name e-­‐mails and files. For example, one code chosen could be SAMIN_WP2_EURICON. The name label can therefore indicate the project, the activity and the organisation working on the file; this strategy can be furthermore necessary to prove who-­‐did-­‐what and can track collective work. However coding is more effective if it is established at the beginning of the project. The feedback expressed about communication during the second transnational meeting in Liverpool concerning communication was extremely satisfying. 2.2.4 Project planning and task management The work plan along with the risk analysis (table 3 in the Annex) are the two documents which clarify deadlines. As results from the risk analysis and of online meetings, deadlines agreed at the beginning of the project needed to be reviewed and changed along with the results of the experimentation of the products. Having used the risk analysis during this project, I believe that it is an extremely useful tool to ensure the respect of deadlines and to reinforce the sense of responsibility and involvement of each organisation involved in the delivery of an outcome. In order to ameliorate the task management to track, plan and coordinate tasks, several tools were experimented to tailor the project management on partners’ expectations as well on the needs of efficiency and simplicity. Azendoo and Trello are two of the software tried during the project life-­‐span; the advantages of using this type of applications are several and diverse. Firstly, having online to do lists is useful to give an overview to all partners about the tasks that each person is executing; notifications are useful to be on track with deadlines; reducing e-­‐mail traffic with chats and messages; adding documents and checklists amongst other. However, these tools were not used during the whole project cycle. In this experience as project coordinator, I firstly put in place to do lists on word documents and shared them among the project partnership. Since using the above-­‐ mentioned software means to be acquainted with online applications or learning to use them, which might be time consuming, it has been easier for project partners to use word to do lists and e-­‐mails. 8 2.3.5 Risk Management: Monitoring and Evaluation At the beginning of the SAMIN project, the coordinator addressed the issues related to the management of risks, the establishment of the quality of the results and monitoring and evaluation. Therefore, a plan was elaborated within a document shared and approved by the partnership. The goal of this document was to establish quality criteria for the project’ outputs and products. In addition to these criteria, partners involved the mid and end users of the products since its start. The “quality” of the products indeed refers to the several adaptations made to the products in order to meet the needs of the end users (please refer to the table 4 in the Annex). The methodology used to assess quality strategy serves furthermore the scope of monitoring and evaluating the project. Monitoring and evaluating allows to identify strengths and weaknesses and, accordingly, taking corrective measures in the case of lack of compliance with the quality benchmarks. Therefore, the main strategy for the quality report is the Plan, Do, Check, Act (PDCA): Plan: is our work plan and strategy Do: this phase relates to data collection through evaluation forms and risk tables Check: this stage relates to the analysis of data retrieved Act: relates to the elaboration of corrective measures to tackle weaknesses and eventual pitfalls of the project. Each partner organisation planned the potential risks that they might have incurred in during the WP life cycle they were responsible of. The risk assessment was then explained in a document and shared it with the whole partnership; each organisation therefore analysed how to solve or minimise the risks, elaborated possible solutions, and put them in practice. During an evaluation session during the Liverpool transnational meeting the partnership agreed that the risk assessment allowed to minimise the risks. 3. Financial management This section aims to provide an overview of how, CEMEA as coordinators, ensured a sound financial coordination of the project. The first need I encountered as project coordinator was to ensure that the financial rules as defined by the French National Agency were clear even if within the partnership, all the organisations were experienced and familiar with European Union financing rules. 9 As project coordinator we put in place a Vade Mecum which clarified: which supporting documents exist from the French National Agency, the dates of bank transfers, financial reporting calendar, eligible costs and conditions for eligibility. Each partner furthermore received indications on how filling the documents for financial reporting, since, as coordinators CEMEA had the responsibility of guiding project partners in providing financial documents. 4. Conclusion One of the most challenging tasks in the coordination of this project, has been working on finding a common ground for action between the diversity of European realities. This challenge allowed me to reflect upon the need of linking the European dimension to local realities and vice versa. In addition to this, as the coordination organisation stands up for the values of progressive education and the use of active methods, an effort was made to use these methods in the steering of the project. Furthermore, the project allowed the experimentation of several approaches and tools for project management, which has revealed to be useful in the other international and European projects carried by CEMEA. 10 5. Bibliography L’éducation interculturelle Martine A. Pretceille, Puf, 2013. Leonardo da Vinci TRANSFER OF INNOVATION Project Handbook 2013 (Annex III – Guidelines for Administrative and Financial Management and Reporting), AGENCE EUROPE-­‐EDUCATION-­‐FORMATION France Tous différents tous égaux, Kit pédagogique : Idées, ressources, méthodes et activités pour l’éducation interculturelle informelle avec des adultes et des jeunes, Conseil de l’Europe 1995 L’interculturel Montage de documents utiles à la réflexion et à l’action, Enjeu de politique éducative, Sommaire/CD/CEMEA 2009 A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide) Project Management Institute, Fourth Edition, 2008 Edition Analysing Qualitative Data Ellen Taylor-­‐Powell, Marcus Renner University of Wisconsin-­‐
Extension Cooperative Extension Madison, Wisconsin, 2003. Web source. Guide pour remplir les rapports Ateliers Thématiques Programme Leonardo Da Vinci Projets de Transfert d’Innovation 2012 et 2013, Agence Europe Education Formation France, June 2014. La dynamique des groupes, Introduction et concept Stéphane Safin Psychologue – Ergonome Lucid Group -­‐ Université de Liège Forsyth, D. (2009). Group dynamics. Cengage Learning. Frontiers in Group Dynamics: Concept, Method and Reality in Social Science; Social Equilibria and Social Change, Kurt Lewin, Human Relations 1947 1: 5 11 6. List of acronyms BFI OÖ: Berufsförderungsinstitut Oberösterreich CEMEA: Centres d`entraînement aux méthodes d`éducation active CSC: Centro per lo Sviluppo Creativo Danilo Dolci EURICON: European Innovation Consultancy and Network FIBA: Förderung in Berufswahl Und Ausbildung MEH: Merseyside Expanding Horizons Ltd SAMIN: Supporting Vocational and Educational Training by approaching ethnic minorities ToI: Transfer of Innovation VET: Vocational Educational and Training WP: Work Package 12 ANNEX All the documents present in this Annex are retrieved from the tools and internal documents used to steer the project. Table 1. All partner organisations responsibilities WP1 Name Core Partner WP3 N3 WP3 N4 WP3 N5 WP4 Project Gap Management Analysis Methodological Handbook Learning Website Institutional Capacity Building Dissemination and Exploitation CEMEA ESTA EURICON BFI OÖ MEH CSC (2) Questionn
aires for 3 projects (3) Gap Analysis of 18 Projects (2) Questionnaires for 3 projects (6) Methodological Handbook (2) Questionna
ires for 3 projects (4) Moodle Platform for the consortium and other communica
tion tools (logo) (8) Moodle Platform for VET Providers (11) Manageme
nt of the website and of the learning contents (2) Questionnaires for 3 projects (7) Stakeholder approach strategy and first roundtable meeting and networking lunch in Liverpool (13) Stakeholder approach and second roundtable meeting and networking lunch in Austria (2) Questionnaires for 3 projects (5) Dissemination Work Plan (9) Newsletter and other communication tools (12) Managing stakeholder communication (14) Other To Be Added. 1) Vademecum Outcomes of the project and (2) Deliverables Questionnaires for 3 projects (10) Interim Report (15) Final Report (16) Quality Report WP2 13 Table 2. Example of one partner organisation responsibilities WP1 WP2 WP3 N3 WP3 N4 WP3 N5 WP4 Partner Contribution P1 Contributin
g to an efficient manageme
nt of the project. Supporting the package leader in providing requested documents, invoices and other documents as required in order to ensure that all legal and financial constraints are respected. As package leader ESTA will develop comparative indicators in order to conduct a comparative analysis of 18 projects developed on the single partners’ countries. ESTA furthermore provided the partners a guideline for data collection for the project which has the form of a questionnaire
. ESTA collaborated with EURICON to elaborate a methodologica
l guideline for the rest of the consortium in order to receive support in data collection for the methodologica
l handbook. ESTA contributes to the institutional capacity building in identifying stakeholder
s in Germany and they provide support in events organising. Collaboration for the dissemination activities. Support and contribution in the dissemination of results in order to enhance both the methodologica
l sustainability of European actors cooperation and of the sustainable impact of the results on VET oriented policies and integration policies. ESTA Cooperation and support activities for the running of the website. Managing internal communication
. 14 Table 3. Example of the completed Risk Analysis to deliver the methodology handbook only of the author, and the Commision cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the
15 Table 4. Quality Criteria Input Tools and Techniques Output Quality standards and benchmarks Monitoring: Project Quality Report 1. Risk Analysis Evaluating: 1. Evaluation form to assess the partnership and the consortium meetings 2. Evaluation form to assess the single Work Packages 3. Reporting documents and other internal documents e.g. minutes Input: Quality Standards and Benchmarks Pertinence. The project answers to defined needs and priorities 1.
2.
3.
4.
The project supports EU priorities in the field of vocational, education and training The objectives are clear and pertinent Links to previous or current projects are taken into account Problems and needs were correctly analysed and addressed Feasibility. The project is well conceived and it creates advantages in the long term 1. The project is financially sustainable 2. Clear financial and administrative constraints 3. Coordination guidelines are clear and they favour the creation of connections between partners 4. The project deadlines give enough time to partners to complete the tasks Efficiency and good management1. The project answers to the expectations in the long term 1. Collaboration between partners 2. Package leaders lead and manage the WP 3. The project respects its goals in terms of delivering of the expected outputs Sustainability2. The project continues to deliver benefits also after that European Commission’s financial support has been terminated. 1. Diversity and intensity of activities/outputs maintained or developed after the end of the funding 2. Intensity and enlargement of the cooperation 1
For these three criteria please refer to: DG Development, Lignes directrices de la gestion du cycle de projet,
2004. Information retrieved here.
2
For this description of the sustainability criterion please refer to: Handbook on Sustainability, European
Commission DG Education and Culture, 2007.
only of the author, and the Commision cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the
16 Transparency3. The project is clear on several aspects 1. Clarity of aims for partners and participants 2. Clarity of rationale of the learning approach used 3. Clarity of achievements Table 5. Extract of the evaluation form Each evaluation form aimed to evaluate either the partnership meetings, either the partnership work in general. Each question is meant to evaluate the logistics, agenda, implication and programmes of the meeting or communication amongst other. NO PERFORMANCE INDICATOR THEMES 4 3 2 1 1.1 Organisation of the partnership Evidence of a defined planning meeting Reasonable schedules Collaboration in agenda writing and establishment of priorities Partners received enough information in advance on the agenda, the schedule, the venue 1.2 Balance of activities Relevant mixture of activities e.g. roundtables to discuss previous and next steps, social activities and public events 3
For this description please refer to the Validation of Volunteers – ValidVol Grundtvig, 539302-LLP-ITGrundtvig-GMP
only of the author, and the Commision cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the
17 PARTNERS
Berufsförderungsinstitut Oberösterreich Centro per lo Sviluppo Creativo “Danilo Dolci” Gabriele Einsiedler | Project Manager Dario Ferrante | Project Manager Bulgariplatz 13 4020 Linz Austria 94 Via Roma 90040 Palermo Italy E-­‐mail: [email protected]­‐ooe.at E-­‐mail: [email protected] CEMEA Rhône-­Alpes Alessandra Santoianni | Project Manager 3, Cours Saint André 38800 Le Pont de Claix, France ESTA-­Bildungswerk gGmbH E-­‐mail: [email protected] Kerstin Struckmeier | Representative for Continuous Education Bismarckstr. 8 32545 Bad Oeynhausen Germany E-­‐mail: [email protected]­‐bw.de only of the author, and the Commision cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the
18 EURICON Barbara Brodigans | Director Stampstraat 57 6369BA Simpelveld The Netherlands E-­‐mail: [email protected] Merseyside Expanding Horizons Ltd Nicola Daley | Chief Executive Officer The Old Secondary Education Centre Mill Lane Old Swan L13 5TF Liverpool United Kingdom E-­‐mail: [email protected] only of the author, and the Commision cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the