Keys to Employability – soft skills development for empowering young people – Armenia


Programme and action: ERASMUS+ programme, Key Action 1: training course

Dates: 7-16 September 2015

Venue: Aghveran, Armenia

Participants: Petra Sojková, Radek Malý

Participating countries: Poland, Armenia, Belarus, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Germany, Georgia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Ukraine

Host organisation: International Center for Intercultural Research, Learning and Dialogue

Project report:

During August of 2015, I was lucky and I was chosen along with Petra on a training course, which was held in Aghveran in Armenia by partner organization International Center for Intercultural Research, Learning and Dialogue since 7th till 16th September. The training course was focused on soft skills development and 28 people participated on it (including organizers).

Participants: Poland (2), Armenia (2), Belarus (3), Bulgaria (2), Czech Republic (2), Germany (1), Georgia (4), Lithuania (2), Macedonia (1), Moldova (3), Ukraine (3).

Me and Petra flew from Prague to Tbilisi via Istanbul, where we made a stopover 15 hours and made sightseeing during the afternoon and night. From Tbilisi we went o Yerevan by maršrutka. During our journey (like straight out of a documentary film) we listened Armenian pop music and watched people sitting by the roadside and selling fruit, changing the landscape and also many Soviet remains of buildings. And our car had a flat tire. But the driver changed the wheel quickly and after a half hour we continued. The journey took more than six hours.

After our arrival to the Yerevan we accomodated at the hostel and hanged out to explore Yerevan with our armenian friends during night and day too.

Next day we met with another participants and together we went to Aghveran. The project was held in the mountain luxury hotel. We did not expect it. Very clean spacious rooms, the possibility of many activities – climbing center, ping pong, chess, tennis, archery… And the food was perfect – we had breakfast, lunch and diner by buffet form.

During the first day we learn about each other and played traditional name games and icebreakers exercises. The second day we talked about different kind of learning methods and about motivation – how it is possible yourself or others. Before diner we also presented our sending organization and also those where we work with youth. After dinner we presented our country during intercultural evening and share our national music, dances and food. The third day was communication day. We learned about communication skills, public speaking and cooperation in teams and also tools for working with a team.

The next day we made a trip to the Yerevan. We visited center for work with unemployed youth and they we had free time for sightseeing. We saw the Cascades complex or he Mother Armenia statue. Then all of us went to visit together the home restaurant with traditional Armenian food where is chef Sonia Tashjian. To find such a restaurant is rare because in most restaurants is served Georgian food.

The fifth day we learned about leadership skills – it means about different leadership styles and their and (no) effectiveness and also about working with different groups of people. Afternoon we had presentation about understanding different cultures and values. During the sixth day we discussed competences of youth workers in the field of employability. Moreover, I made (together with six girls) a taxi trip to the ruins of an old monastery. The seventh day we made trip to the Sevan which is the largest and the most famous armenian lake and after return to Aghveran we learned more about Erasmus+ projects – how write these projects and how apply for funding. The last day we tried to create own projects and we presented our proposals to other.

The training course was not only about talking. We made many exercises every day. Also we discussed methods and topics not only in big group of thirty people but in small groups of three-five people every day.

People were great, we made new friendships and partnerships. Thanks to the project, we met not only new people, but also me and Petra met with our Armenian friends from other projects and we could spend time with them.

On the way back we stayed with Petra in Tbilisi with our new Georgian with friends one evening and the next day also visited Istanbul during the morning.

We learned many new tools how work with unemployed (not only young) people and especially made the unforgettable great experience with new people. The half of these were outside the EU and they helped us to enlarge our cultural and political horizons.

In conclusion, I would like to thank Jana Parolková who was our coordinator from sending organization European youth centre Břeclav and also to our organizers from receiving/hosting organization – to Kasia Kowalska and Areg Tadevosyan. And finally to Petra for help in preparing for the project and after for pleasant travel together. We enjoyed every moment in Armenia and Georgia and we hope we return there again and soon.

Radek Malý

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