Professionals communicating for young people to prioritise health

Currently there are wide variations between European countries in the quality of training available to professionals working with young people in activities that include health education.

The aim behind a Leonardo da Vinci Transfer of Innovation project is to improve the quality and attractiveness of Vocational Education and Training (VET) in the participating countries by transferring existing innovations to new environments through working with transnational partners. This project, ‘PROCOM-VET – Effective communication methods for professionals to promote and encourage young people for healthy lifestyle choices’, looks to transfer a successful and innovative training as applied for health educators in the Veneto region of Italy and adapt it for a region in Turkey, so arresting the disparity between these two regions.

Innovation transfer projects generate synergies by exploiting existing VET innovations. These innovations can be based on previous Leonardo projects, or on any other national, European or international innovative projects, and can be transferred into vocational training systems and organisations at national, regional, local or sector level. The objective here will be for the project to focus on tobacco and for this to be applicable as a case study that will allow further adaptation for professional training concerned with the use of alcohol and drugs and also applicable in the other countries participating in the work of the project.

The partners in the project – from Italy, Turkey, Poland, Germany and UK – envisage the impact of a region gaining a critical mass of professionals trained in the approach adopted in Veneto will bring a confidence among many regions to assess their basic approach to communicating with young people on the subject of substance abuse, opening the door to an increased engagement with young people regarding how they might make positive decisions on health issues related to substances that they will hold on to throughout their lives.

The project will transfer an approach for improving the communication skills of medical staff and educators, in part by building an online portal and virtual learning environment adaptable as a virtual location and forum for VET in health education skills connected to substance abuse across many countries and regions in Europe. The innovation will provide the medical staff with skills to establish effective communication and new methods to approach their young patients in order to fulfil their duties not only as healers but also as practitioners of preventive medicine.

As with IGUALA, the proposal required the consortium to analyse the needs of the target groups, identify innovations that in principle are suitable, select those that will meet the needs of the target group in the best way, and analyse the feasibility of the blending and the transfer.

There should be a result from this application in June 2011.

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