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RELESE courses: wider activity possibilities – a guarantee for today and future

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Ilona Grainienė, an independent travel manager-guide and RELESE course participant from Kaunas, Lithuania.

 
The position of a travel manager or guide in the travel agency was just a seasonal work, thus she had constantly go and register to Labour Exchange. This dependence was troublesome and frightened. Finally, the woman heard about RELESE courses, which encouraged her to register her own activity. Today, Ilona is happy – these courses have been the necessary push from outside ensuring her independence and secure her pension in a long-term perspective.
 
"I have long worked as a seasonal travel manager or guide in a huge travel agency. I used to work during tourist season and in October I had to go to Labour Exchange and register. A bit later the travel agency asked me to acquire business certificate. However, at the end of the season I used to terminate independent activity and register in Labour Exchange. I was afraid that I would not have enough money to live till the beginning of the next season. Thus paying taxes without receiving any income from the activity frightened me...", - Ilona starts her story. 
 
According to her, autumn-winter-early spring was the long period of inactivity, money earned during the season used to melt very quickly. Thus, soon this resulted in blaming myself for such idleness, desperate searches for some kind of job and dignity-degrading registration in Labour Exchange. Not to mention the after-seasonal depression and other resulting consequences... "I knew I had the potential to work well but I lacked some kind of push from outside, incentive", - states the woman.
 
RELESE lectures - a gulp of fresh air
However, Ilona did not sit with her hands folded. Browsing the Internet, she used to register here and there, tried to go to refresher courses, expand her activity in other spheres requiring higher qualification. She was quite surprised when in her email she found RELESE course offer. "I still do not know how I was selected. I think I might have registered in the web page of Labour Exchange or it simply offered me", - says the curious woman, who has accepted the offer with a great joy. The circumstances were very favourable - after the tourist season Ilona had plenty of free time and thus did not feel well without realizing herself as a specialist.
 
"I went to one the first lectures in Vilnius Business College on the wings of wind. It was amazing - the lecture of a psychologist! During it all participants tried to discuss with the lecturer all pros and cons before starting one's business. I felt as if I had taken a gulp of fresh air. I had already then decided to change something in my work activity", - tells the course participant. 
 
Other lectures usually took place in Utena. For a few times Ilona went by her own car but soon realised that she could not afford the distance between Kaunas and Utena. However, she thoroughly studied the material of lectures uploaded to the course webpage, watched video records of lectures. Moreover, the lectures were willing to answer the queries of the active participant. 

Matters not only today, but tomorrow as well
The decisive step was encouraged by the lecture about various types of individual activities and companies, their advantages and differences. "After coming home I evaluated my situation, started taking further interest, reading information pages of State Tax Inspectorate, searching for responses on the Internet. Then I decided to start individual activity under certificate. I understood that taxes applied to such activity are higher than those of business certificate. However, compulsory pension insurance taxes may guarantee higher retirement benefit. You do not think about that while you are young. However, in the course of years we are more and more anxious about our old-age. After all, being registered in Labour Exchange for more than half a year does not ensure any contributions of pension insurance. And who will take care of my old age? Certainly, only me. I understood this very clearly while thoroughly studying the material of courses uploaded on the Internet by RELESE", - tells Ilona.
 
RELESE courses lasted nearly one year, started in autumn and ended in the beginning of summer. This was exactly the rush-time of jobs for Ilona - Lithuania was flood with tourists.
 
Expanded activity - new possibilities to earn
Today, evaluating the courses, the woman states that they have been a step towards self-confidence encouraging to expand her activity. "Until now I had only one employer and was dependant on their will. Now I have started working with few agencies and I can choose myself whom and when to work with. Moreover, I can organize trips and hire people with business certificates. Earlier, the flow of foreigners visiting Baltic States decreased in autumn and forced me to end all my jobs. Only now I shall pursue my activities all year round. In October, I shall devote all my efforts for the "conquest" of local market. After all, people always want short trips in their own land. And according to statistics, steady growth of tourism is felt in Lithuania. I will be able to order buses, coordinate routes and offer my services. I shall start from the circle of people that I know, small groups. Afterwards, I plan to start working directly to foreign agencies and offer them my services without Lithuanian agents", - optimistically tells Ilona. 
 
She is not afraid of responsibility since the woman perfectly knows her work and is not a beginner in sphere of tourism. Not to mention all the contacts saved during so many years. Her professionalism is perfectly proved by huge number of orders during the season of tourists. According to the course participant, she even lacked time to all those orders. This situation gave her one more idea for rational solution. Ilona "discloses her cards": "I plan to sell received orders to other colleagues who work with business certificates and also earn money from this agency". 
 
RELESE courses - for those who want changes and knowledge
So RELESE courses have become the decisive push to newly evaluate one's possibilities and take brave decisions. However, according to Ilona, to use successfully the information received during these courses, you have to wish for these changes and knowledge. “In this new age of informatics, knowledge and experience, mobility and receptivity are the necessary qualities for every educated person. Even if I did not resolve to start my individual activity after the RELESE course, the received and read information would help me to orient better under the conditions of market economy and rapid changes. Thus, I would recommend these courses to all active and curious people who have not still found themselves in the working sphere”, - says the active travel manager-guide.

RELESE courses - a long-awaited push to start work independently

Mantas Marcinkevičius, RELESE course participant in Lithuania, had been dependant on other employers for more than a decade, dreamt of working independently.  However, according to him, he lacked know-how and funds for that decisive step. RELESE course was that incentive inspiring the guy to start his own business.

Mantas started working when he was eighteen and had to change many works during the decade. "Despite of different domestic policies of the companies and work nature, there was one common thing between all my employers - I worked for others, not for myself. Certainly, I tried hard and did my best to work well, but I received only money in return (and usually I was not satisfied with the amount). Therefore, after noticing the advertisement about RELESE courses, I immediately tried to register", - tells Mantas.

This decision was also encouraged by favourable circumstances - the guy was looking for a new job and thus had plenty of free time. Moreover, RELESE courses funded by European Commission was an extremely attractive offer to Mantas, who at that time could not afford such courses.

According to him, it would be very difficult to name what he liked mostly during the courses. "Certainly, there could be more practical tasks. However, all lecturers without an exception were really professional and great people", - states the course participant. "Personally I was impressed by one of the introductory lectures in Vilnius Business College - already then my eyes opened, it was like a shock, because the words of the lecturer were very valid. They forced to review the system of my personal values and start controlling my life, my business and etc.", - the guy tells with enthusiasm.  

Mantas established JSC and chose a very wide profile of services. The main activity of the company is agency; it has successfully implemented several projects, started marketing plastic windows, doors and garage gates manufactured in Lithuania under the profiles of German manufacturers with Scandinavian countries. The guy also started organizing various camps for Lithuanian and foreign children and grown-ups.

He has already recommended RELESE courses to his closest friends: one of them interior designer, the other - expert of new computer technologies. “To start one’s business you need to have the vein of entrepreneurship, self-discipline and work hard to achieve set goals. And one more thing - funds. Certainly, nobody will get this during the courses; however, RELESE has given me much valuable knowledge. I would recommend such courses to all, regardless of age, gender and education. After all, everyone may have genial ideas, and the courses may help to realize them”, - states Mantas.

Currently, the former participant of RELESE courses combines his activity of JSC with work in private company because the employer does not want to loose talented worker so easily. However, the guy has not doubts that in future he will devote all his time for his own business development.  


RELESE final partner meeting in Vilnius, Lithuania

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September 13, 2012 Vilnius Business College organized the final partner meeting for RELESE project. 12 representatives from partner organizations, Vilnius Business College (Lithuania), TECMAIA - Maia Science and Technology Park (Portugal), Turiba School of Business Administration (Latvia), Information Technology and Management, University of Rzeszow (Poland) and Northtown Technology Park (Lithuania), participated at the meeting.

The final project activities and results were reviewed, project dissemination CD with course materials, guidelines and recommendations was demonstrated, and partner dissemination material and souvenir examples created during the project were collected. Partners also discussed further project dissemination.

Finally, the upcoming RELESE conference program was reviewed and discussed and tasks shared among partners.

During the meeting partners expressed their gratitude that RELESE project was important not only within the project framework and activities, but also for the experience getting to know different European countries, cultures and people. Partners shared their expectations to collaborate in future projects.

After the meeting a sightseeing tour to Trakai was organized to complete the day.


RELESE final conference on September 14, 2012. PROGRAM

Please join us at RELESE (RE-integration into Labour market through Entrepreneurship Skills Enhancement) project final conference, that is organized by Vilnius Business College and partners from Latvia, Finland, Poland, and Portugal.

Date: September 14, 2012
Place: Sarunas hotel, Hall 1 (Raitininku 4, Vilnius, Lithuania)
Conference starts at 9 am
The event is FREE

At the conference we will present RELESE project results, share our experience and insights of entrepreneurial activities in Lithuania and Europe.

PROGRAM

9.00-10.00       Registration

10.00-10.10     Welcome speech. Jolanta Skirgailė, Managing Director at Vilnius Business College

10.10-10.30     Overview of RELESE project. Deimantė Vilčinskaitė, RELESE project coordinator at Vilnius Business College

10.30-10.45     RELESE piloting course in Lithuania. Jolita Pasaulytė, Project Manager at Utena Regional Prefessional Training Center

10.45-11.00     RELESE piloting course in Latvia. Kristiana Talente, Representative from Turiba, Latvia

11.00-11.15     RELESE piloting course in Poland. Joanna Wójcik, Representative from UITM, Poland

11.15-11.30     RELESE piloting course in Finland.

11.30-11.45     RELESE success stories.

11.45-12.00     RELESE project results sustainability. Further dissemination. Deimantė Vilčinskaitė, Vilnius Business College and Vicente Ferreira da Silva, Representative from Tecmaia, Portugal

12.00-13.00     Lunch break

13.00-13.20     Most important tips for entrepreneurial educators or may an orangutan be a neighbour for a businessman? Lina Sodžiūtė, Managing Director at PROFAT

13.20-13.40     Lithuanian Labour Exchange. Indrė Kažemėkaitytė, Head of Youth Employment Section at Kaunas Territorial Labour Exchange Kaunas City Department

13.40-14.00     Entrepreneurship policy. Raminta Krulikauskienė, Head of Small and Medium Business Policy Division at Lithuanian Ministry of Economy, Small and Medium Business Department

14.00-14.20     Entrepreneurship initiatives in Lithuania. Laimutė  Kalinauskienė, Senior Project Manager at Enterprise Lithuania 

14.20-14.30     Coffee break

14.30-14.50     Startups in Lithuania at a Glance. Rokas Tamošiūnas, Managing Director at StartupHighway

14.50-15.10     Why community is essential in doing business? Edmundas Balčikonis, Coordinator HUB Vilnius

15.10-15.30     Start from yourself, the business is born here. Viktorija Česonytė, Director for Development at Panikos zona, lecturer at  Vilnius Business College

15.30-16.30     Discussions

ALL who are interested are welcome to come.

The number of participants is limited. Please register in advance at www.relese.eu, link to RELESE conference.

Looking forward to seeing you,
Organizers


RELESE final conference

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RELESE final conference – Learn to start your own company – release your business skills!

Are you interested to start your own business? Are you uneployed with a professional background and seek to re-enter the labour market? Or maybe you are an entrepreneurship course organizer, teacher or participant?

You are kindly invited to RELESE final conference on September 14, 2012 to be held at Sarunas hotel (Raitininku 4, Vilnius, Lithuania). Conference starts at 9 am. 

At the conference we will present an overview of RELESE project results and entrepreneurship tendencies  in Lithuania,  discuss national and international experience, and share insights and ideas for further opportunities to develop entrepreneurial and independent society in the challenging 21st century.

 The number of participants is limited. Please register by September 12th via www.relese.eu or inform us by email   or phone +370 643 94714.

Looking forward to seeing you at the conference.

Organizers


Partner Meeting in Porto, Portugal

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June 4-8, 2012 the 4th partner meeting was organized by Portuguese partner at TECMAIA premises.


The project progress and the results achieved were reviewed at the meeting. Members of piloting countries presented an overview of the courses piloted in Lithuania, Latvia, Poland and Finland, and the group discussed on the delivered business plans by course participants, course evaluation reports as well as the peculiarities of each country courses. RELESE developed a practical, competitive and constantly supported virtual learning environment that accommodates entrepreneurial training and counseling program, provides support for entrepreneurs to start by strengthening the primary motivation for and selection of attractive ideas, while also providing personal assistance in implementing business plans. In Lithuania the piloting course was held at Utena training center, which registered about 70 participants. Utena partners noted that there are already two course participants who successfully established new business in Lithuania.

During the meeting the Handbook of guidelines for teachers and course organizers was finalized and the project further dissemination and valorization were discussed.   

Partner financiers who also participated at the meeting reviewed financial and administrative project issues.

The participants agreed to organize the final meeting in Vilnius Business College on Sep. 13, 2012, and on the following day, Sep. 14, to organize the final project conference. Information about the conference will be published and advertised at various events, via media channels, informing the audience and those who are interested in the project. 


Presentation of Relese project at Education Exchanges Support Foundation

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On the 22th of November, 2011 Education Exchanges Support Foundation organized a workshop of Leonardo da Vinci programme opportunities for year 2012. The seminar presented Leonardo da Vinci project types and the ability to provide the following project proposals. Various organizations presented implemented Leonardo da Vinci projects and shared the experience of project development.

Relese project manager Kristina Lillkvist made a presentation on the project preparation and implementation process, shared experience and best practice with new applicants


 


Project presentation at EfVET Conference in Malta

RELESE project was presented at the 20th EfVET Annual Conference in Malta, 26-29 October, 2011.
www.efvet.org

The theme for the 2011 Conference centered around the enhanced European Cooperation in Vocational Education and Training setting out the future priorities of Vocational Education and Training to meet the policy objectives of the EU Strategy 2020.
Conference considered how, in partnership, VET institutions, higher education institutions, employers, social partners and other stakeholders can best work together to meet these challenges. A number of key note presentations were complimented by workshops on each of the strategic objectives. One of the workshops of the conference was "Enhancing creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship". RELESE project objectives were discussed during this workshop and project presented at the round tables session together with other  
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The article on RELESE project published in EfVET Newsletter

EFVET is a unique European-wide professional association which has been created by and for providers of technical and vocational education and training (TVET) in all European countries. Its mission is to champion and enrich technical and vocational education and training through transnational co-operation by building a pan-European network of institutions.

The article “Discover how to establish your own company – use the potential of your business skills!” written by Kristiana Talente was published in EfVET Newsletter – September 2011.

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RELESE project published on elearningeuropa.info website

RELESE project information can be accessed on elearningeuropa.info website:

http://www.elearningeuropa.info/en/project/relese

This European reference portal on education and technology is designed and built user-centered and it contains participatory tools to communicate, share and discuss. The European Commission initiated elearningeuropa.info nine years ago, to support the transformation of education through technology. Available in 21 languages, it has now become a key forum for the generation and presentation of ideas. elearningeuropa.info has more than 35.000 registered users  with an average of 16. 000 monthly visits. Thanks to this large user base the portal provides great opportunities for research and exchange of ideas and information amongst researchers, practitioners, students and policy makers across Europe. 



RELESE project information has been published in ADAM data base


RELESE project information has been published in ADAM data base. Project information is available in English, German and French languages.

ADAM data base is created to introduce products and results developed under Leonardo da Vinci programme.

You are welcome to check out RELESE page:

http://www.adam-europe.eu/adam/project/view.htm?prj=7151


Meeting of RELESE Project at the School of Business Administration Turība

From 29 March till 1 April at the School of Business Administration Turība the 2nd meeting of the RELESE (RE- integration into Labour Market Through Entrepreneurship) Project was held, at which all project partners participated – Vilnius Business College (Lithuania), Utena Vocational Education Centre (Lithuania), TECMAIA – Maia Science and Technological Park (Portugal), Laure University of Applied Sciences (Finland), School of Business Administration Turība (Latvia), University of Information Technologies and Management (Rzeszow, Poland) and North City Technological Park (Lithuania).

The objective of the Project is to facilitate the reintegration of unemployed individuals into the labour market by strengthening the business skills and competencies for implementing a real, competitive and sustainable environment of virtual learning.

First tasks executed within the project are the research of necessities, which comprised the national context analysis in the employment sphere, polls of the unemployed persons and employers’ interviews. During the meeting the results of the necessity research performed in each project participant country were presented. Based on joint conclusions, in addition to the nine modules envisaged in the course an additional model had been proposed and was created – Business English.

Within the Project a project dissemination plan was prepared, which provides for the spreading of the project information in workshops, conferences, various events and mass media to inform both the target audience and those interested in the project progress.

On 30 March the representatives of Latvian companies, too, participated at the meeting and engaged in the lively discussion, offering their recommendations and proposals for a successful run of the project.

Proposals of the entrepreneurs were very useful and would help improve the modules. All entrepreneurs as the main recommendation emphasised the necessity to link the instruction with practice and also to provide to the students not only the knowledge how to start a business, but also to inform them how in the case of unsuccessful business or due to some other reason to successfully terminate the business. On 31 March the emerging platform of virtual learning was presented, as well as the results of the ENTER Project. One must add that the RELESE Project continues the things commenced under the ENTER Project, expanding the target audience. While the ENTER Project was implemented mainly in the South European countries, then at present this positive practice is transferred to the East Europe and North Europe.

Next tasks of the Project, too, were discussed: elaboration, adaptation of innovative learning materials and methodology and introduction into the platform of virtual learning.

The implementation of the study course will begin in September of 2011. The study course will be offered without charge, and it is a great opportunity for all who are interested to master knowledge and skills for starting of their own business.