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In this 24-month project called 'Culinary bridges across Europe’ VET providers decided to make a project for members of their student bodies, the target population being restaurant staff (also unemployed and immigrants) to enhance their capabilities, be more qualified and also be capable to find a job in other countries of Europe and integrate smoothly in a different social environment if necessary.  Companies of the restaurant business and associations are also part of this partnership. Their knowledge of this sector of business is valuable for the results of this project as they deal with everyday problems and experience the difficulties of people working there. 

The project intents to deal with those problems using the following ways and means:

We will organize working meetings combined with culinary workshops so that participants experience the gastronomy and working conditions in the partner countries. The working meetings will also be combined with ICT workshops to help participants get familiar with the world of computers and with surfing the Net in order to find job vacancies in EU countries. 

 A data bank of EU recipes of the partners’ gastronomy will create an e-cookbook uploaded on the website. This e-cookbook will be available in all partner languages.

The project will build a user friendly website with a lot of material and all partners have agreed to support its lifetime for five years after the end of the project.

The project provides guidance and advice on VET and creates links of VET with working life. It also provides an ideal and unique opportunity for all of us to contribute to the valuable idea of VET at a pan European level and hope that its results will lead to a more fruitful cooperation in the future.

RATIONALE

Restaurant staff represents a large part of the European workforce. Unfortunately in those years of economic crisis this sector has been hit dramatically. In years of austerity consumers cut unnecessary costs and usually start to those related to leisure activities, which include travel and tourism spending. European countries count large rates of unemployment those days. People lose their jobs, experience this hard situation and cannot predict how their working future will be. Many of those that lose their jobs try to find a job abroad and preferably in other countries within Europe.

It is not only those occupied in this sector, it also the already unemployed who face very serious problems in their everyday life. Large numbers of them decide to work in tourism and ask for training so that they are able to work in this sector. It is also immigrants from other countries.

This project will build a partnership of institutions both active in VET and also social partners to help people who need to get training in different culinary cultures for professional development or need to find a job in another country to get the necessary training in order to be capable and to smoothly integrate in a new society and workplace.

The partnership will deal with those problems. Our aim is:

  1. To make those people aware of the culinary and working situation in other EU countries.
  2. To teach them the skills to surf the Internet in order to find information about job searching in Europe.
  3. We hope that in the long term the results of this project will lead to:
  4. Improved quality of workforce skills and competence in the food and hospitality sector. Personnel increase their qualifications and enhance their professional appearance.
  5. Greater number of recruits. Increase of placements in enterprises. More people find a job.
  6. Incorporation of EU recipes/ dishes in EU menus.
  7. People are satisfied with their lives. People are happy, lively and more productive.

Objectives

The concrete objectives of the partnership are:

To promote the European dimension of lifelong learning through transnational cooperation among partners while focusing in VET in the restaurant sector.

 To help learners get to know the culinary culture in other EU countries and understand how everyday life and the working situation there is. To collect and demonstrate examples of national/ local dishes, study them, and have them at the disposal of anyone on the project's website in all partners' languages.

 To practice basic ICT skills as well as foreign language skills in an intercultural context. To help learners improve their knowledge in using the Internet in order to find job opportunities in Europe.

 To point out the importance of the intercultural communication in Europe, to be able to understand the way of thinking of others. To raise awareness of the common cultural background of Europe.

 To offer learners new ways of improving their knowledge, enhance their competence, travel to other EU countries, meet people and get to know different cultures.

 To increase the motivation of people with poor educational background. To help immigrants integrate as we have immigrants in our classes.

 To establish close cooperation with other institutions offering VET in the respective sector. To help learners make contacts with their counterparts in other European countries.

To make social partners realize the problems that their staff face and try to solve them.

To improve each partner's background and experience through the exchange of ideas and good practice.

To give colleagues with different cultural background the opportunity to share experiences and examples of good practice.

The approaches chosen to achieve the above mentioned objectives are:

To build a website to have the activities of this project displayed in its webpages.

To organise workshops to exchange examples of good practice (national dishes) created by students in the partnership countries.

To demonstrate/ perform national dishes and teach their colleagues on how to prepare them, make a collection of dishes/recipes (translated in all partner languages) and have them available in the project’s website.

To organise workshops in a computer lab to practice ICT skills and surf the Internet.

To evaluate the project’s activities for enhancing its purposes and outcomes.