It’s fair to say this year has had some bumps in the road for many Erasmus+ projects, with lots of placements and physical meetings affected.
Despite these setbacks, many of our #epluspeople have risen to the challenges presented by the lockdown. From online events to maintaining communication, they have been able to manage their projects remotely.
Are you looking for tips on new ways of working remotely and keeping in touch with your partners and participants? Discover more from our beneficiaries below.
Communication is key
In order to ensure your project runs as smoothly as it can, it’s essential that you still keep in contact with your partners.
Susan Rassan, from GEMS NI, said: “Communication has been key to ensure we have no ‘flat spots’ with all partners fully aware of tasks and timescales. Using Zoom video-conference has been instrumental in keeping everyone involved with no loss of momentum.”
Maintaining communication is certainly important not just in terms of remote working, but to check in on people’s wellbeing. In July, the Mental Health Foundation reported that almost one in five UK adults they surveyed said they felt hopeless.
“Keep communication open,” explained Clare Jeffries, from Portal Training. “People do go off the radar, so check in with them to see if they’re struggling or need support.”
Working from home has meant a greater need for people to go digital, and this is the same for Erasmus+ projects. Many beneficiaries have found new resources for online meetings. Susan said:
“We used Basecamp discussion forums to share ideas and develop key project steps and milestones. This is followed up by Zoom meetings to share presentations and progress and to agree next steps.”
We have organised two very successful online debates with students from our partner schools, as well as some associate schools, over Microsoft Teams.
For many beneficiaries, making the move to be more digital has provided valuable benefits. “Our new-found expertise in meeting technology has meant that we are getting together more regularly than planned,” added Louise Wareing, from Lancaster Royal Grammar School.
“Another advantage has been the time to focus on the project’s dissemination through social media platforms, and the access our students have had to speakers, who are able to share their experiences with a wider audience than ever before."
An important thing to consider when managing your project remotely is to ensure you can be accessible for your participants. For example, Inova Consultancy works with people from deprived communities where some may not have a laptop. Project manager Marina Larios explained:
“Even though they don’t have a laptop, they have a phone and have been learning how to access different software with their phones. They have been developing their skills a lot, things they have never thought about. It’s been a really good push for all of us to find new ways of connecting.”
Similarly, Headway Arts, who coordinates projects to support learning disabled young people, has been using online platforms to keep in touch with participants.
“We know our work is a good mental health and well-being lifeline for many of our group members, so we are offering online workshops,” said Allie Walton-Robson. “Disruption to routines is challenging, especially for learning disabled people, so we are keen to continue to connect using digital technology.
“We will be live streaming workings, posting online activities and sending out (via email) challenges that our groups can do at home.”
Create engaging online events
With everyone now working remotely, this means that beneficiaries need to work hard to keep participants and partners engaged. At Lancaster Royal Grammar School, they have discovered new ways of creating engaging online events, Louise said: “We have organised two very successful online debates with students from our partner schools, as well as some associate schools, over Microsoft Teams. This would not have been considered as an option pre-lockdown.”
Meanwhile, Bredon Hill Academy has also coordinated engaging events to keep their pupils motivated and involved in project activities. Anne Amzallag, the school’s International Lead, said:
“We set online challenges, like photographing things in their gardens as well as contributing to a digital rainbow for hope. Participation has been wonderful; pupils have been creative and enjoyed working collaboratively, thanks to modern technology!”
Do you have your own tips and advice about managing Erasmus+ projects remotely? Let us know by completing our top tips webform!