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Newsletter 1 – January 2018


January 2018



Transnational Education in LEADER implementation (TELI2)

Transnational Education in LEADER implementation (TELI2), funded by the ERASMUS+ Programme of the European Union, is a multi-actor transnational project which seeks to develop and / or further enhance the knowledge, skills and competences of staff within Local Action Groups (LAGs) / Local Development Companies (LDCs) with respect to supporting neo-endogenous rural development initiatives through the implementation of the LEADER project within their respective administrative areas. The 30-month project commenced in September 2016 and it is being co-ordinated by Limerick Institute of Technology, a higher education institution in Ireland. The project consortium also includes another higher education institute, the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia. The LAGS /LDCs participating in the project include: Stowarzyszenie Lokalna Grupa Dzialania “Dolina Raby” – Poland; SECAD-– Ireland; Local Action Group Dobrogea Centrala – Romania; Razvojna agencija Kozjansko – Slovenia; Lokalna Akcijska Grupa ‘Zeleni Bregi’- Croatia; Monte Desenvolvimento Alentejo Central, ACE – Portugal; Lokalna Akcijska Grupa Zrinska Gora (TUROPOLJE) – Croatia; and ADRIMAG – Portugal.
The project initially entails a research study of the delivery of the LEADER programme in the respective partner countries – seeking examples of the most efficient modes of implementation; and the transference of this knowledge to identified stakeholders through a special purpose award (Certificate in LEADER Programme Management – Level 8). Limerick Institute of Technology accredits this course.

The key objectives of the project include:

  • Carrying out research on the delivery of LEADER in member states and training needs of LEADER staff and Board members.
  • Delivering a best practice-based training course pertaining to the implementation of the LEADER programme to LDC / LAG management.
  • Promoting shared learning between countries that have established LEADER programmes and those that are relative newcomers to delivery.
  • Delivering an accredited programme through a blended learning model with the utilisation of on-line learning and learning workshops. The programme will also include work-based learning by participants and will allow for the Recognition of
  • Up-skilling of LEADER delivery organisations through life-long learning;
  • Enabling LEADER staff mobility through their participation in a transnational project and future collaboration and networking in rural development initiatives.

Students of the TELI2 course in Ireland, October 2017

The first workshop associated with the Certificate in LEADER Programme Management was held on 9 to 13 October 2017 in Midleton, Co. Cork. The event was hosted by SECAD.  In total, 16 students from Ireland, Portugal, Croatia, Slovenia, Poland and Romania participated in the workshop. All of the participants work for a LAG, LDC or national agency. Key topics covered in the week-long workshop included: LEADER project management and IT systems; key principles in endogenous development; creating inclusive communities; communication skills; and socio-economic planning for LAGs. During the workshop, the students had several opportunities to visit local projects funded through the previous LEADER programme in South-East Cork. These included: Titanic Experience (Cobh); Millennium Gardens (Cobh); Clock Gate (Youghal); and wildlife and bird trail (Ballyvergan). All of the participants enjoyed this innovative and practical learning opportunity in Co. Cork.  In Spring 2018, the students will complete another two workshops in Portugal and Poland. In the interim, further teaching on the course will be delivered through on-line blended learning methodologies.
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TELI2-1343600152427341/ 
Website: http://teli2.eu/ 
For further information, please contact Dr. Shane O’Sullivan, Limerick Institute of Technology  (shane.osullivan@lit.ie) or +353 (0)504 28476

TELI2 Summary Report

The TELI2 Summary report has informed the structure and indicative content for the accredited course (special purpose award Certificate in LEDAER Programme Management) designed as part of this ERASMUS+ KA2 project. Key topics contained within the report include: 
  • positive features associated with the LEADER programme.
  • challenges associated with the implementation of the LEDAER programme.
  • educational and training requirements of LAG / LDC staff.
  • country specific issues.
The information compiled through this report enabled the TELI2 researchers to design a course suited to the requirements of employees working in a LAG / LDC. Limerick Institute of Technology accredited the special purpose award Certificate in LEADER Programme Management – Level 8 – in May 2017. The course consists of 3 ECT modules: 

Communication and Facilitation Strategies for LEADER

The aim of this module is to provide the learner with a practitioner level understanding of the theories and application of communication strategies, methodologies and tools in contemporary LAGS and LDCs.

LEADER Approach and Neo-Endogenous Rural Development

The aim of this module is to provide learners with an introduction to the key concepts and theories of neo-endogenous development of rural areas and to develop an understanding of the important role of local community´s activation. A specific emphasis will be placed on understanding the key characteristics of the LEADER approach and its application within different spatial scales (EU, national, regional /local).

LEADER Programme Management and Organisational Skills

The aim of this module is to enable learners to provide appropriate supports and guidance to businesses and communities who wish to access funding under the LEADER programme. A strong emphasis will be placed on developing and enhancing project management; teamwork and collaboration; and technical skillsets required for being a LEADER project officer / manager within a LAG, LDC or FLAG. The learners will acquire adequate knowledge on the programme management cycle for the LEADER and the accompanying operational rules and regulations.
To download the TELI2 Summary Report and course overview please click here.

A summary of TELI2 research on LAGs

The TELI2 project initially entailed a research study of the delivery of the LEADER programme in the respective partner countries. An e-questionnaire was distributed in December 2016 to managers of LAGs/LDCs in each TELI2 partner country. The questionnaire sought to compile a profile of LAGs /LDCs; to determine the funding priorities of individual LAGs /LDCs; to establish existing and future training requirements for staff and board members; to outline the challenges faced by LAGs/LDCs in implementing the LEADER programme; and to determine the level of transnational co-operation amongst LAGs/LDCs.
In total, 169 LAGs/LDCs, completed the questionnaire: in Croatia (27), Ireland (17), Poland (49), Portugal (12), Romania (41) and Slovenia (23). There are significant spatial variations with respect to the LDCs/LAGs who participated in the questionnaire survey. These variations are evident with respect to year of establishment; average population size of LAG/LDC; number of LEADER projects supported; and primary focus of projects in LEADER Programmes. The LAG/LDC territory appears to be larger in both Ireland and Portugal, countries which have been participating in the LEADER programme for the longest period of time.

Positive features

These were identified as related to job creation, regional development, and promotion of the region.
Challenges faced in the delivery of the LEADER programme
Bureaucracy; lack of precise operating procedures; and lack of pre-financing were identified as main challenges.
The questionnaire, completed by managers of LAGs/LDCs sought information on the types of skill sets which employees require with respect to the implementation of the LEADER programme. As expected, there was some deviation between the different TELI2 partner countries. A significant knowledge and capacity gap was identified, especially in relation to national agencies and government departments co-ordination with LAGs and LDCs. In some instances, employees in LAGs/LDCs also require additional training and re-skilling in a number of topics. These include: project/programme management, publicity, procurement, training, financial management, auditing, lobbing, creative thinking, administration, ICT, transfer of best practices, and project evaluation. There is also a need to enhance skillsets/ competencies associated with the delivery of the LEADER programme. These include concepts of neo-endogenous development approach and LEADER approach, empowerment of local communities, key components of LEADER approach, and governance structures of LAGs throughout Europe. The evidence gathered through the questionnaires informed the structure and indicative content for the accredited TELI2 course.
Respondents to the questionnaire also outlined requirement need for training courses to incorporate a blended learning model insofar as learners acquire information through on-line lectures/discussion fora; whilst also having the opportunity to engage in a number of intensive workshops which incorporate site visits to a wide array of LEADER projects. The incorporation of a transnational element to site visits is very important insofar as prospective learners can replicate best practices within their own respective LAG/LDC. The transference of this knowledge to identified stakeholders will be provided through a high quality accredited course by Limerick Institute of Technology as special purpose award “Certificate in LEADER Programme Management”.

TELI2 Kick Off Meeting

TELI2 kick-off meeting in Thurles, Ireland

The TELI2 (Transnational Education in LEADER Implementation 2) project commenced in September 2016, with LIT being the lead partner. The kick-off meeting for this project was held in LIT Tipperary (Thurles Campus) in October 2016. Representatives from each partner organisation attended this meeting. This meeting primarily discussed overall project management (including the finalisation of the consortium agreement); design of learning portal and project website; dissemination activities; development of TELI2 summary report and associated data collection methodologies; and accreditation procedures for the course.

Second Transnational Meeting in Portugal

TELI2 partner meeting in Évora, Portugal

LAG Monte the 2nd Transnational Meeting of TELI2 – Transnational Education in LEADER Implementation 2 in Évora, Portugal on the 25th and 26th of May 2017,  At this meeting the project team discussed how the Accredited Course Curriculum would work as it was due to start in Autumn 2017 with a fully interactive 5-day training workshop in Midleton, Ireland (9 to 13 Oct 2017). Other matters related to the activities and dissemination of the project were also discussed. Next Transnational meeting to be held in Croatia on the 30th of November and the 1st of December 2017.  

Third TELI2 project meeting took place in Zagorje county, Croatia

TELI2 partner meeting in Stubičke Toplice, Croatia

One of the project partners in this transnational, Erasmus +  project,  LAG “Zeleni bregi” was host to the meeting held in Stubičke  Toplice.   Project managers from all 6 partner countries participated; Nuno Costa – MONTE (Portugal), Shane O’Sullivan –L.I.T. (Ireland), Toni McCaul – SECAD. (Ireland), Constantin Livadariu – LAG D.C. (Romania), Gabriela Livadariu – LAG D.C. (Romania), Tomislav Lež –LAG  Z.B. (Croatia), Robert Nogić – LAG Z.G. (Croatia),  Irma Potočnik Slavič – U.LJ. (Slovenia) , Rajko Antlej – R.K. (Slovenia), Krzysztof Kwatera – D.R. (Poland), Fátima Rodrigues – ADRIMAG (Portugal).   Main focus points were: feedback from Ireland’s National Agency; review of Learning Portal and Website, review of Research Report and Accredited Course Curriculum, review of Course Materials, review ofStudent Recruitment, Ireland Workshop.
Shane O’Sullivan from LIT informed the group that the feedback report from the Irish National Agency about the delivery of TELI2  was positive, and noted that the TELI2 learning programme was granted approval for accreditation.
Toni McCaul from SECAD noted how pleased she was with students’ very postive feedback from the Cork based workshop.   Portuguese – Fatima (ADRIMAG) and Polish – Krzysztof (D. RABY) partners provided a preview into the upcoming training workshops in Portugal and Poland respectively. Project managers also spoke about attendance of the partners at relevant conferences in the VET and Local Development fields, dissemination of project through  ENRD website, dissemination through the websites and newsletters of the National Rural Network in each country, participation in EU LEADER events and similar.