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Students Reflect on our First Training Event!

London group at first Erasmus Project training event

Lucy Gray and Ricky Hyde (students on the BA Applied Social Science, Community Development and Youth Work at Goldsmiths University in London) reflect on their experience of attending our first training event for youth workers. The event was facilitated by our Cypriot and Polish partners and focused on child sexual exploitation and the related and overlapping issues that young people face. The event was facilitated online with national groups working together on activities and developing resources for our project toolkit.

Lucy’s reflections:

I went into the week unsure of what to expect as I have never been part of an Erasmus project before. I was really excited to learn it would be an interactive project with group discussions, creating videos and newspapers as well as getting to know people from around the world in similar job roles. Having a chance to speak to others from countries like France and Cyprus allowed me to ask questions about what sort of issues young people in that country struggle with and what steps are taken to support them. It also gave me a chance to talk about what projects and programmes we have here in the UK.

My favourite part of the week was coming up with a story that might be turned into an animated video. My group and I sat around the discussed stories we had from working with young people and ones we had seen through the news in order to create a fictional script about child sexual exploitation based on real-life examples from our work with young people. We took the time to create a story that touched on issues facing young people right now as well as adding in outside factors like family, friends, and school to the story. It was a great opportunity to chat about what ways in which we as youth workers can help.

Ricky’s reflections:

Admittedly I didn’t know a thing about Erasmus+ before I started University. I was told about it, then invited to take part in the Erasmus+ funded Protect Project by one my lecturers after a brief explanation. I checked out the Erasmus website and found the following information:

‘Erasmus+ offers exciting opportunities for UK participants to study, work, volunteer, teach and train abroad in Europe. It is aimed at students, trainees, apprentices, pupils, adult learners, young people, volunteers, professors, teachers, trainers, youth workers and professionals of organisations active in the education, training and youth sector.

Taking part in the programme helps you to develop personally and professionally; you will gain valuable international experience, broaden your horizons, experience new cultures and discover new ways of working.’

After doing some more research I accepted the invitation to join The Protect Project’s first Erasmus+ training programme as I was intrigued to see how the training and group work was going to be delivered with other countries participating. The event was online although usually, I am told, we would have had the opportunity to go the hosting country which in this case was Cyprus. The training itself was well delivered and touched on topics such as; Child sexual exploitation, Violence, Community Cohesion, Territorial conflicts between young people, Drug use, Anti-Social Behaviour. I learned a lot in the group work and discussions with the other representatives of the other countries. Hearing their experiences which mirrored some of our own which then led to deeper discussions with regards to; strategies and policies made in their respective countries to try and tackle some of the issues. I came away more informed and inspired by their stories and took some useful ideas and resources from the programme as a whole. The programme itself made good use of Canva and Jamboard, which also was useful as I had used neither platform before. The information, presentations and exercises all did their job in giving me a real sense of understanding and knowledge on each topic. Overall, a really worthwhile experience and I can only hope to do it again and next time be able to travel to the hosting country to expand the experience even further.