The mobility of students/trainees can take place via bilateral cooperation or partnerships or twinning between education and training institutions in Portugal and non-community countries, and also as part of EU programmes in the field of education and training.
As part of the Erasmus+ Programme in Portugal, the National Agency for Erasmus+ Education and Training is responsible for managing the following sectors of education: school education, vocational education and training, higher education and adult education. In the adult education sector, activities are covered by Key Action 1 - Learning Mobility of Individuals and Key Action 2 - Cooperation among organisations and institutions.
In terms of adult education, the Erasmus+ Programme gives priority to projects that contribute to improving qualifications, including training incentives, information that facilitates access to lifelong learning, aspects of the validation of non-formal and informal learning, career guidance for adults and adjustment of learning opportunities, among other topics.
As part of the Erasmus+ programme (2021-2027), Key Action 1 supports student and staff mobility in adult education.
Eligible participants in mobility projects include organisations providing formal, informal and non-formal adult education, local and regional public authorities, coordination bodies and other organisations with a role in the field of adult education.
However, organisations holding an Erasmus accreditation in adult education cannot apply for short-term projects.
Learner mobility in the adult education sector can be of varying duration, depending on the format.
Participation in European cooperation projects, covered by Key-Action 2: Cooperation between organisations and institutions, facilitates specific projects in this area (between 12 and 36 months) and presupposes the participation of at least three institutions dedicated to the issue from three countries involved in the programme. Exception is made for small partnership projects, which may have only two partners.
They can involve wide-ranging cooperation activities, including the thematic interchange of learners and staff activities within adult education.
It is also worth mentioning the WorldSkills programme in Portugal, which is under the responsibility of the Institute for Employment and Vocational Training (IEFP, I.P.). This institution represents Portugal in WorldSkills Europe and WorldSkills International (WSI).
The WSI programme’s core activity is the WorldSkills Competition, which is the world’s largest skills competition, held every two years for four days in one of the member countries/regions. This competition offers the opportunity to test and compare different national/regional training systems, ensuring that education and training meet the economic and business demands of a modern society.
Individuals between the ages of 17 and 25 are eligible. Participants are entitled to food, accommodation and transport; equal treatment during exams; technical, physical and human resources required for the preparation of the exams; a medal and diploma if they win and a participation certificate for the remaining participants.
Teacher and trainer mobility
The mobility of teachers and trainers in Europe has always been seen as fundamental for the internationalisation of education and training, including in the area of adult education and training, a priority area of government policy, aiming to improve the qualifications of the Portuguese population.
To this end, the Erasmus+ programme (2021-2027) encourages the mobility of adult education professionals, crucial for their capacity building.
To this end, Key Action 1 (Learning Mobility of Individuals) is particularly important, as it encourages the mobility of professionals in adult education and training. It includes three types of activities with different lengths:
- Job shadowing (2 to 60 days)
- Teaching or training assignments (2 to 365 days)
- Courses and training (2 to 30 days, maximum 10 days of course fees per participant.
Mobility projects involve at least two participating organisations from two different countries, with the candidate institution having to be recognised as an active organisation in adult education or lead a consortium of bodies with the same type of professional profile. At the application stage only the candidate body has to be identified, while the foreign participant can be defined after the application has been approved.
Erasmus+ projects sought to provide several possibilities for mobility: the participant can undertake both online and face-to-face activities, both in the host country (physical mobility); online activities in their home institution’s country and then travel to the host country for face-to-face activities (blended mobility); mobility can be 100% virtual only in situations of force majeure validated by the National Agency, according to indications from the EC.