Bjerkaker LearningLab is involved as the Norwegian Partner in the following Erasmus + Project,
coordinated by Spread the Wings Foundation, Poland:

„Empower yourself.”

Motivational tools for supporting professional activity and wellbeing of people aged 55+

Duration time 18 months, until 28.02.2022

„Empower yourself” – motivational tools for supporting professional activity and wellbeing of people aged 55+ is a complex developmental program, addressing the issues of social and professional exclusion among Europeans in their preretirement age, that is 55+. The exclusion results from not adjusting to modern labour market, workers’ not investing in personal development, perceiving one’s actions as meaningless, feeling less involved and motivated to undergo a change. As a result, workers aged 55+ are often facing the necessity of performing work that is below their ambition and qualifications (or they resign/give up completely); there’s stress, professional burn-out, the values that constitute a pillar for acting and coming to a decision in life are forgotten.

To approach those problems we need wise, adjusted to the ever-changing reality, education in workplace as well as to create conditions for employees’ 55+ development. In the process of the change, it is important to tailor the work tasks to the performed function (job crafting). It is also essential that employees 55+ experience physical, emotional, or cognitive effort invested in the work (wellbeing).

The partnership between 3 nongovernment organizations, with different scope of activity (Poland – Hungary – Norway), is thoroughly prepared to develop complex solutions for specific needs and abilities of target groups. Therefore, the main object of the partnership is to enhance professional potential of coaches and HR workers by operating in innovative developmental project allowing employees aged 55+ to learn how to trigger and increase professional involvement by focusing on internal sources of motivation.

Most important parts of the project are the actions aimed at involving workers 55+ in initiatives that introduce changes to their work, using their own assets, strengths, and qualifications. As a result, they should feel more in control (not only professionally) of their lives which should enhance their further development and professional activity.

The project will result in developing and distributing a program, which includes three stages of cooperation with people aged 55+: DISCOVERING – ACTIVITY – EMPOWERMENT. Stage I DISCOVERING, that means diagnosis. Starting the process, entering the program means identifying        a              level             of  satisfaction in                   employees           55+,    their   values        (HR specialists/coaches can use dedicated tools, prepared in frames of the project). The desired effect is to create together a Map of Personal Change, that should show areas of work, exercises for individual or group training.

Stage II – ACTIVITY, training to change. That means intensive, efficient, individual approach in working on areas that the participant decides to change, with the support of their coach/HR specialist. It contains 48 SCRIPTS FOR CLASSES: includes innovative methods, techniques and tools used in non-formal education enhancing personal development of people aged 55+, based on the best developed practices and the newly introduced activities. The scripts include, among others: building responsibility for undertaken tasks, teamwork, working on values, how to express one’s thoughts to be understood, communication between generations, sense of meaning, motivating as well as enhancing workers’ involvement, techniques that protect employees aged 55+ from professional burn-out, important rules for triggering high energy levels in 55+ workers, overcoming barriers and motivating.

Furthermore, the project should be completed with multimedia material, 30 video workshops on “Mindfulness as a way to improve quality of life and work”. Each film is a 10-minute lesson, containing VO instructions from the coach. Those individual attention trainings exercise mind and are dedicated to people aged 55+ who would like to learn how to manage stress and negative emotions. The training should be also helpful in depression prophylaxis among preretirement population.

Stage III – EMPOWERMENT, CASE STUDY – four good practices in working with people over 55 years old, considering job crafting and wellbeing, based on how Norwegian companies operate. Instead of empty marketing slogans, we show a real situation that can be confirmed by the third party. The experiences are for the coach/HR specialist to get inspired and implement interesting suggestions to their own work. Authenticity, storytelling, and pictures are also an important asset.

Partnership finds it crucial for the participants to take part in open pilot meetings, in process of assessment, in evaluation of reached results, in open discussions with the teams managing the project and in promotional/distribution meetings.

The results of the project should bring new methods, tools and materials that perfectly correlate with new challenges for UE strategies in aid of growth from 2010 to 2020, which includes development of economy based on knowledge and innovation.

PRIORITIES

ADULT EDUCATION: Increasing the demand for gaining of knowledge and participation by using effective activation, guidance, and motivation strategies.

ADULT EDUCATION: Expanding and developing the competences of educators and other employees supporting adult learning.

ADULT EDUCATION: Promoting Erasmus+ among all citizens and generations by offering activities of education and exchanges of experiences to seniors.

RESULTS and project products:

  1. Partnership website in English – creating a partnership website (including the fanpage on FB) to promote project activities, represent the partnership and disseminate the developed solutions, articles, photo reports – the entire partnership is responsible, with the monitoring of the project coordinator, which is the Spread your Wings Foundation.
  2. Activation of 1 platform for data/information exchange in the partnership – HICST’s responsibility.
  3. Constructing an evaluation tool for internal evaluation of 2 partner visits. It will be created and uploaded on the above-mentioned platform not later than after the 3rd month of the project – BLL’s responsibility. As a result of the evaluation, 2 reports will be developed with the evaluation of 2 visits.
  4. Development of 1 internal document reporting the course of project activities in a periodic way, the use of financial resources and evaluation of ongoing activities – this tool will be created and uploaded on the data exchange platform no later than after the 3rd month of the project duration – coordinator’s responsibility.
  5. Developing of 1 internal evaluation tool and conducting the evaluation of the project progress during the first 9-10 months of task realization (INTERIM evaluation) – BLL’s responsibility.
  6. 1 expert report with the external evaluation carried out by an external expert to evaluate: the course of the project, the developed products, and the project tasks – the evaluation and the report will be made in the 12th month of the project duration. The coordinator is responsible for selecting an expert.
  7. Developing 1 tool for content evaluation of the Tools Booklet and multimedia mindfulness workshops by users – experts (trainers, HR employees), to provide opinions, evaluation of their functions and values/tools necessary for the product improvement and evtl. correction – coordinator’s responsibility.
  8. Development of 1 tool for user assessment – a group of people aged 55+ (in the context of testing) of the assumptions of the Tools Booklet and multimedia mindfulness workshops to provide opinions, assess their use and the values/tools necessary to be improved and evtl. corrected – coordinator’s responsibility.
  9. Creating an animation promoting the developed program “Empower yourself” – to be used during campaigns in social media – HICST’s responsibility.
  10. External trainer’s opinion with regards to the final project results, after preparing the final version (after testing and implementation of needed corrections) of the “Empower yourself” development program: TOOLS BOOKLET with diagnostic tools, MULTIMEDIA MINDFULNESS WORKSHOPS, CASE STUDY – the coordinator and BLL are responsible for selecting an expert.
  11. Preparation and distribution of no less than 30 certificates confirming participation in 2 partner meetings in Hungary and Norway – HICST’s and BLL’s responsibility.
  12. Developing 1 internal evaluation tool for the final EX-POST evaluation of the project at its closure and conducting an evaluation of the course of the project during the entire period of its duration – BLL’s responsibility.

AT THE END OF THE PROJECT, THE PARTNERSHIP WILL WORK OUT THE FOLLOWING RESULTS:

  1. Creating (in the following languages: EN, PL, HU, NO) in partnership cooperation a practical compendium of trainers’ knowledge in the national languages of all partnership members: The Tools Booklet “Empower yourself” with Case Study – coordinator’s, HICST’s and BLL’s responsibility.
  2. Creating (in the following languages: EN, PL, HU, NO) in partnership cooperation practical multimedia mindfulness workshops for people 55+ in the national languages of all partnership members – coordinator’s responsibility.
  3. Development of an open educational platform (in the following languages: EN, PL, HU, NO) on which the development program “Empower yourself” will be available – HICST’s responsibility.
  4. Conducting of 4 pilot meetings with test participants (trainers, HR employees from HU and PL) using selected original scenarios from the Tools Booklet, to test the methods, check the content and exercises to finally adapt them to the intellectual and social capabilities of the 55+ aged beneficiaries – coordinator’s and HICST’s responsibility.
  5. Conducting of 6 pilot workshops based on selected scenarios from the Tools Booklet and multimedia mindfulness workshops for 55+ aged people. The meetings will be held with potential program recipients (corresponding to the goals of the 55+ aged target group, the group selection should guarantee the reliability of test results) – coordinator’s, HICST’s and BLL’s responsibility.
  6. There will be 2 reports of users and recipients of the test / pilot groups with the assessment, opinions, and comments, regarding the Tools Booklet and Case Study – the first one (resp. Coordinator, HICST and BLL) and multimedia mindfulness workshops – the second one. The opinions of future users – experts, recipients, will be implemented into the improvement process of products.
  7. Conducting 3 promotion meetings of the “Empower yourself” development program in each of the 3 countries with a practical component – issuing certificates of participation for a total of 210 participants of the event (resp. each partner).
  8. Conducting 1 questionnaire after 3 promotion events to examine the level of trainers’ and HR specialists’ satisfaction in the field of the possibility of using the development program in work with people aged 55+ and evaluating the level of the conference.

TARGET GROUPS:

The DIRECT TARGET GROUP, to which the “Empower yourself” development program is dedicated, will be trainers, coaches, specializing in education of adults aged over 55, and HR employees, who are the “first support” for an older employee in the workplace. The target group will come from all partner countries and the country of the coordinator: PL, HU, and NO. Through 3 promotion activities, it is estimated that the direct target group will be approx. 210 people directly participating in conferences promoting the program and a group of about 25 trainers, mentors, HR employees, voluntarily participating in pilot workshops (at the stage of developing and testing results and products) – these will be people cooperating in various areas with institutions implementing the project. The recruitment of the above- mentioned group for the events will take place based on on-line application. Invitations to the conference will be sent by each partner by e-mail to institutions working for adults and entrepreneurs (service companies, production companies) employing people aged 55+ in PL, HU, NO. The conference participant will be required to fill in a participation card with data specifying the type of institution he is working for and to define his own experience and the type of his position, so that the coordinator and managers of partner institutions can invite to events in their country people really working and cooperating with adults. The criteria for selecting the target group guarantee being in line with the horizontal policies, that means ensuring equal access to participation in the project, regardless of sex, origin, religion (the principle of equality between women and men and non-discrimination).

The INDIRECT TARGET GROUP will be adults (SENIORS / OLDER PEOPLE) aged 55+ (with a low level of soft and interpersonal skills, education oscillating at the secondary or incomplete secondary level in pre-retirement), who because of 6 workshops and meetings, both pilot and later, conducted by trainers, coaches, and HR employees, will acquire the necessary knowledge and soft skills needed to manage personal potential in independent and effective way, navigating on the labor market. The group of those participants will be invited to participate in the project through announcements on the project’s fanpage on FB and through direct invitations sent to enterprises and companies in PL, HU, and NO. The participation in the pilot workshops will be free and voluntary. The participants will be familiarized with the purpose of the program and its rules and regulations. They will also have to submit a written declaration of their willingness to participate in the above-mentioned workshops.

Participants with lower chances:

Participants with lower opportunities will be invited to participate in key activities during the development of the results of the project – in pilot workshops. The recruitment will take place through various channels, so that the information reaches the widest possible number of participants from the above-mentioned group. The partnership plans to publish advertisements on Facebook, partnership website, websites of friendly institutions working for the education and employment of people, who are older than 55 years, coming from various backgrounds, as well as by forwarding invitations to career advisors, HR specialists, and professional trainers. It is also planned to address the invitations directly to employers in Poland, Hungary, and Norway.

During each of the 6 pilot workshops (2 in Poland, 2 in Hungary and 2 in Norway) evaluating the resources of Tools Booklet and multimedia mindfulness workshops, the trainers will create an appropriate environment for participants providing comfort and protecting their needs, to ensure a smooth course of classes and allow/enable the participants to discuss freely.

If the participants include people with physical disabilities or chronically ill, an additional assistant (trainer) will be designated. He will provide individual support and assistance both during the workshops and between them, so that each participant in this group can express his opinion and feels like a part of the decision-making group, feels free to discuss the changes of the content of workshops, scenario layout, etc.

The partnership takes also into account the possibility of constant online and telephone contact after completing each workshop with a selected member in their teams, so that these participants still can submit their comments, ideas outside the group – which may result from their shyness or lack of self-confidence, etc.

Intellectual Outputs

RESULT 01

TOOLS BOOKLET „Empower yourself” – E – Manual for professional trainers, adults, and employees of HR departments.

„Empower yourself”- INNOVATIVE DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM, based on the following activities: advising, motivating, and transferring/sharing practical knowledge, aimed to engage 55+ aged employees to implement changes in their work, using their inner resources, strengths, and values. Thanks to this, they will gain a sense of control over their own (not only professional) life and their full participation in life will increase. At the same time, they will experience mental and emotional development, that will help them to deal with stress, burnout and it will stimulate their positive attitude to everyday activities and social life. The 3- month DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM includes three stages of cooperation with people aged 55+ in the pre-retirement period, i.e., DISCOVERING – ACTIVITY – EMPOWERMENT.

Stage I: DISCOVERING, that means diagnosis. Starting the process, entering the program, consisting in finding 55+ aged employees, identifying the level of their satisfaction, their values and finally preparing a Map of Personal Change. HR specialist / professional trainer will have the possibility to use the developed tools:

  • diagnosis of the participant’s satisfaction level at the beginning of the program and at its end – development of 2 proprietary diagnostic tools,
  • diagnosis of the participant’s value system – development of 1 proprietary diagnostic tool,
  • Map of Personal Change (MPC) – in which the areas of work, training materials for individual or group training at stage II will be indicated.

Stage II: ACTIVITY, training to change. That means intensive, efficient, and individual approach in working on areas that the participant decides to change with the support of a trainer / HR specialist. For this purpose, a TOOLS BOOKLET for professional trainers and HR specialists will be developed. It will contain 48 LESSON SCENARIOS: a set of innovative methods, techniques and tools used in non-formal education enhancing personal development of people aged 55+ – based on the best developed practices and the newly introduced activities. THE SCENARIOS WILL CONTAIN THE FOLLOWING MODULES:

MODULE A building responsibility for undertaken tasks, teamwork, working on values, how to express one’s thoughts to be understood, communication between generations, sense of meaning, proactivity – take matters into your own hands, commitment increase – 24 scenarios – coordinator’s responsibility.

MODULE B motivating as well as enhancing workers’ involvement, techniques that protect employees aged 55+ from professional burn-out, important rules for triggering high energy levels in 55+ workers, overcoming barriers and motivating – 24 scenarios – HICST’s responsibility.

Furthermore, the module will contain advising information, such as:

  • How to keep the 55+ aged employee motivated to acquire new competences?
  • “Employee experience” – which affects the experience of a 55+ aged employee during the development and change process.
  • How to care for the well-being and attitude towards the employer of a 55+ aged employee throughout the entire cycle of his working for the organization.

TRAINERS WILL DEVELOP 2 DETAILED SCENARIOS FOR EACH TOPIC MENTIONED.

Detailed information in the above-mentioned areas were presented by the coordinator and the Hungarian partner – HICST, at the project preparation stage. The needs research, the scope and the content were discussed during several on-line meetings. It was justified because the entire partnership identified the most important themes for the materials to be developed and established the project KPIs according to the expectations and needs of target groups.

EACH SCENARIO LAYOUT WILL INCLUDE:

  • definition, profile of the group participating in the workshop, materials necessary to conduct the classes, tips for the trainer, a step-by-step course of the classes, the participant’s own work/exercises.

Stage III – EMPOWERMENT, CASE STUDY (MODULE C) – four good practices in working with people over 55 years old, considering job crafting and wellbeing, based on how Norwegian companies operate. Instead of empty marketing slogans, we show a real situation that can be confirmed by the third party. The experiences are for the coach/HR specialist to get inspired and implement interesting suggestions to their own work. Authenticity, storytelling, and pictures are also an important asset.

The Case study will include information about selected companies as well as needs and problems related to work and education of a 55+ aged employee, activities helping to solve the problems and meet the needs both 55+ aged employees and the company, wellbeing and job crafting activities and the result.

It has been estimated that modules A, B and C will contain in total of approx. 180 A4 pages. The TOOLS BOOKLET WITH THE ADDITIONAL MODULE – MULTIMEDIA MINDFULNESS WORKSHOPS, WILL BE A FINISHED CONCEPT OF ORIGINAL TRAINING TOOLS READY FOR USE IN AN ADVISORY WORK WITH 55+ AGED ADULTS.

The developed methodological concept can be reproduced and modified, which make it possible to use it also in work with other target groups (e.g., groups of people aged under 55 years). It can be also used in trainings aimed at raising qualifications or enriching adults with new professional and social competences.

After the partnership had developed a detailed division of tasks regarding all the results and agreed on the detailed content of the development program “Empower yourself” – the partnership, i.e. the coordinator, the Spread your Wings Foundation (will develop module A scenarios), together with the HICST partner (will develop module B scenarios) and the partner BLL (will develop the C Case Study module), will start working on the Tools Booklet modules (described above) assigned to the partnership members according to their competences and experience.

After creating the unified layout (work to be done by the HICST partner) – prepared in cooperation with regards to exchanging tips and solving potential difficulties in describing or editing the content – the partnership will proceed to the stage of module construction. The developed content will be posted in accordance with the developed detailed schedule of IO tasks on the exchange platform, which will be available for all project teams of the partnership. The main coordinator will supervise the whole process, however, the manager of the HICST partner institution will be equally responsible for the assigned module, for the timeliness and quality of the developed content in the entire E-Manual – Tools Booklet.

STAGES OF WORK ON THE E-MANUAL:

STAGE 1 – DEVELOPING THE CONTENT OF THE E-MANUAL, module A / B / C / testing /

piloting the methodological part:

  • during the development of the content, the partnership will select scenarios randomly. Based on those scenarios 10 pilot meetings will be conducted in three project teams, i.e., Hungarian partner HICST, Norwegian partner BLL and the main coordinator:
  • 6 PILOT WORKSHOPS (two for each partner) with people aged 55+, followed by an evaluation by workshop participants and preparation of one joint report with possible changes/information to implement in the materials being prepared.
  • 4 TEST / PILOT MEETINGS (held only by the coordinator and the Hungarian partner HICST, two for each partner) with external trainers, HR employees. After the meetings, an evaluation and report preparation will take place (as above). Thanks to that the partnership will be able to consider the conclusions and opinions of the persons aged 55+, practitioners, experts in developing the final product – the program.

Moreover, it has been agreed, that the test groups must correspond to the characteristics of two target groups. IMPORTANT FOR THE PARTNERSHIP IS AN OPEN PARTICIPATION

OF THE PARTICIPANTS. As a result of this project, they will be able to use the developed program and innovative tools. Only then the testing does make sense and bring great potential and value to the innovative program for people aged 55+ that is being developed. Documentation / reports from the above-mentioned meetings and pilot workshops will be posted on the information exchange platform of the partnership, and the key comments will be considered as an important indicator to introduce changes.

STAGE 2 – EVALUATION AND REVIEW OF THE E-MANUAL:

After the final version of the material has been developed (together with result 02), an evaluation and expertise will be commissioned by an expert – external evaluator (it will be performed by an external expert: a pedagogue, trainer, an expert in the field of job crafting and work with adults). The aim is to provide high-quality training materials. The partnership will be obliged to follow the suggested changes and make corrections to the content, if necessary. The E-Manual (together with the result 02) will also be evaluated – the selected external trainer will review the material, including the evaluation of worksheets, tasks/ exercises, and scenarios (commissioned work). The review will be posted on the cover of the E-Manual as a resume of the “Empower” program. That should be also an incentive for other external trainers, mentors and coaches, HR employees to get inspired by the methods developed in the publication.

STAGE 3 – PREPARING A PUBLIC VERSION OF THE E-MANUAL (for distribution)

For the COMPOSITION, EDITION OF THE ENTIRE E-Manual and TRANSLATION OF

CONTENTS from English into Polish is responsible the Spread your Wings Foundation, into Hungarian the HICST partner and into Norwegian the BLL partner. The coordinator, the Spread your Wings Foundation, will be responsible for the composition and editing of the English language version. BLL is responsible for the composition and editing of the Norwegian language version, and HICST is responsible for the Hungarian language version. THE E-HANDBOOK (E-MANUAL) WILL BE PUBLISHED ONLINE on the PARTNERSHIP WEBSITE – ON AN OPEN EDUCATIONAL PLATFORM (menu in EN, PL, HU, NO –

responsible: HICST + translation BLL and coordinator), EPALE PLATFORM, ERASMUS RESULTS PLATFORM. The E-MANUAL will also be sent to the trainers participating in the pilot workshops and will be spread as an online version during 3 promotion events in the country of each partner to a group of 210 people.

RESULT 02

MULTIMEDIA MINDFULNESS WORKSHOPS for people aged 55+. The entire program will be enriched with multimedia material in the form of 30 MINDFULNESS video workshops – improving the quality of life and work. These will be individual mindfulness trainings and mind exercises intended for people aged 55+, who has difficulties with dealing with stress and negative emotions, experiencing them in their personal and professional life. This training will also be helpful for people in the pre-retirement age experiencing the first symptoms of depression.

The experience of the partnership, especially of the coordinator running the Holistic School of Trainers, shows that mindfulness practice helps to reduce the number of ruminations and alleviate negative effects of stress. The aim of those individual video workshops is therefore to raise the awareness of 55+ aged participants and to change their attitude towards difficult emotions from discomfort towards greater tolerance and acceptance now they are experiencing them. Being a part of the development project, experiencing the process of change the participants can (it is even recommended) strengthen their work with help of a professional trainer or HR specialist with daily (or every two days) breathing and relaxation exercises. As a result, people aged 55+ will be more aware of their own thoughts, emotions, and sensations in their body, and will gain a broader perspective on their own feelings and experiences. Currently, on the training market, there are no short mindfulness videos, aimed at improving the quality of life and work for people aged 55+. The developed material will therefore be a free, comprehensive compendium of knowledge and practice for adults.

The purpose of the video-workshops (each about 10 minutes) is to limit the role of the trainer/tutor to only controlling the educational process and supporting participants during the individual activities. Each of the 30 workshops will be provided with instructions (also for the exercises) from a professional trainer in an understandable way, so that even a person with lower skills in organizing their own classes / trainings can use them without any problems.

The participant will be able to use each of the video-workshops many times during the participation in the 3-month development program “Empower yourself”, because they will be grouped according to modules: breath work, mindfulness techniques for working with thoughts and emotions, relaxation, mindfulness in everyday life. The participant will be able to go through each workshop on their own according to their own preferences or arrangements with a professional trainer / HR specialist according to the assigned exercises and exercises recorded in the Video Map. The material is aimed at including new forms of work with adults aged 55+ and at providing training and support, based on a.o. virtual mobility, use of information technology, flexible methods of learning and development.

Working with films is in line with the educational model for people aged 55+, which puts learners first, values their experience and strengthens cooperation between trainers and participants.

The mindfulness workshops will help the 55+ aged participants to:

  • reduce stress in their personal/professional life.
  • alleviate their tiredness and psychosomatic symptoms related to stress.
  • deal better with difficult emotions, pressure of thoughts, anxiety, and worries.
  • develop the ability to concentrate fully on work and study to increase their effectiveness.
  • regain inner balance and well-being.
  • increase their self-confidence, self-acceptance, and self-kindness (self-compassion).

Stages of work and division of tasks:

Stage 1: Designing the scenario structure of the 30 video workshops/films.

Stage 2: Preparing a workshop description (assumptions, course, resources, layout) for each workshop by trainers – translating the scenario descriptions into a technical language.

Stage 3: Production of 30 films – recording of workshops with coaches.

Stage 4: Post-production/editing and film composition.

Stage 5: Transcription of the film content from Polish into Hungarian (HICST), English (Spread your Wings Foundation) and Norwegian (BLL).

Stage 6: Six Pilot workshops – with the use of video mindfulness workshops (connected with the pilot stage of result 01).

Stage 7: External expert evaluation + user evaluation done after the pilot workshop – making corrections and implementing needed changes identified after the above-mentioned evaluations.

Stage 8: Implementation of video material with mindfulness workshops on the partnership website on the open educational platform, and on the EPALE Platform and on the Erasmus+ results platform.

The coordinator is responsible for stages 1 – 8. The Spread your Wings Foundation coordinates the entire process of creating the video-workshops, while the partners have an advisory role in the above-mentioned stages. In stage 5, the Hungarian partner HICST and the Norwegian BLL will be involved in the film content transcription. An important feature of the films is the fact that people aged 55+ are their main target group. Therefore, the introductory tutorials in the videos will be easy to apply and can be used by people with lower skills. The video-workshops introducing to the individual module of independent work, should be not only useful but also friendly for the 55+ aged user.