Inspired by the European Commission theme for April of “Youth employability and skills, Entrepreneurship and jobs for tomorrow”, our project “Erasmus+: YES” stands for “Youth Employability and Skills”. The different actions aimed at highlighting the participation in the Erasmus+ programme as an opportunity to besides gaining knowledge in the specific field of studies one is pursuing on higher education, to go on and be able to strengthen key transversal skills that are often later valued by employers. These skills can be acquired while studying or training abroad but also by getting involved in volunteering activities while on a mobility program.
Organised during March and April, this project had training and practical moments:
● Small sessions and workshops where it was possible to discuss the topic “Benefits of Erasmus+ for your employability and development of skills”, in order to create tools and strategies to make Erasmus students aware of the role of change-makers they have in our society;
● During ESN Portugal’s National Event - Erasmus National Meeting, which took place in Albufeira with more than 1000 participants, it was given the opportunity to Erasmus+ students/alumni to get involved in voluntary actions. Hence, enabling them to understand that using their time abroad to such activities brings benefits as it contributes to the development of transversal skills. The event's program included not only recreational activities but also civic and social actions, namely the beach cleaning and the initiatives developed under the SocialErasmus project with “A Gaivota” - Santa Casa da Misericórdia. This moment took place on the second day of the event, Friday, and the international students were able to interact with institutionalized youth to explore issues such as equal rights, prejudice and discrimination. Associated with the celebrations of the 30 years of the Erasmus programme, these young people were also able to find out more about entrepreneurship in a workshop organized by ESN Portugal’s volunteers. Other civic and social projects were also implemented throughout the event, such as awareness-raising actions for the responsible consumption of alcoholic beverages - through the implementation of the Responsible Party project - and the promotion of equality in access to education and opportunities with the implementation of the Mov'in Europe and ExchangeAbility projects. At the end of the event, the organization donated food to the association CASA (Centro de Apoio ao Sem Abrigo) of Albufeira.
With Erasmus+: YES, it was possible to show the benefits of joining Erasmus+ and to use the free time while abroad to do something valuable for the society, which will allow young people to develop transversal skills.
"It is of our best interest for international students to enjoy themselves while they are in Portugal, but we are also committed to give them the opportunity to cooperate on the local development and contribute to building a society endowed with values such as respect, solidarity and tolerance", says Alexandra Bigotte de Almeida, Communication Manager of ESN Portugal and one of the organizers of the event.
The big dimension of this project proves that it is possible to involve young people in social activities in any kind of event and make a positive impact in our communities.
Its great success was not possible to be achieved without the support of Erasmus+ Students and Alumni Association (ESAA), City Hall of Albufeira, MGM Muthu hotels - Forte da Oura, Oura Praia Hotel and Clube Praia da Oura, National Republican Guard of Albufeira, Eurosender and Youth Center of Santa Casa da Misericórdia “A Gaivota”.
The organising team is extremely grateful for all these partnerships and for the work done by the volunteers of ESN Portugal who made this happen.