Training & support for participants
The European Solidarity Corps provides a range of support services for participants and participating organisations. These include:
- support for learning
- general online training
- online linguistic support (OLS)
- training and evaluation cycle for participants and organisations
- recognition of learning outcomes
- other important elements
- certificates of participation
- agreements with participants
These support and quality measures are designed to ensure compliance with the principles of the European Solidarity Corps.
They also help maintain a high level of quality within the European Solidarity Corps and ensure that activities are validated in the correct manner.
General online training
General online training is an open-access training for all registered candidates and participants, available via the European Solidarity Corps portal. Its modules include:
- the mission of the European Solidarity Corps
- participants’ roles and responsibilities
- inter-cultural awareness
- health and safety
- and many more.
Online linguistic support
Online linguistic support (OLS) is designed to help European Solidarity Corps participants improve their skills in the language they use when volunteering or working.
OLS is available for all the official languages of the European Union: Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Irish, Italian, Lithuanian, Latvian, Maltese, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish and Swedish.
Once your organisation has selected a participant for a European Solidarity Corps activity (volunteering, a traineeship, or a job) lasting 2 months or more, it should send the participant his or her login for the OLS by email. For further details, see the OLS website.
The training and evaluation cycle is designed both for participants and participating organisations.
Participants taking part in long-term activities are entitled to the following training sessions:
- pre-departure training (only cross-border activities)
- on-arrival training
- mid-term evaluation (only activities of 6 months or longer)
- annual European Solidarity Corps event.
Participating organisations will benefit from the following training sessions:
- training for organisations having been awarded recently the Quality Label
- an annual event for organisations holding the Quality Label
The training should ensure understanding of organisation’s roles and responsibilities, give practical and technical information on the project management, inform about important features of the Corps, support organisation in developing qualitative projects and provide networking opportunities.
Participants should be given personal support through mentoring in the course of their activity. This can help them to integrate, both into an organisation that is new to them, and, if they are volunteering or working abroad, into a different country.
Youthpass – open to all Corps participants – is a tool that helps participants to identify and document the learning outcomes they developed on the project. It allows them to describe what they have done and show what they have learnt – including skills that are informal or non-formal. This is all set out formally in a Youthpass certificate. So far, over 1 million people have used the scheme and have been awarded the certificate.
Depending on the type of recognition you need, the creation of a Youthpass certificate can also help you to reflect and create your Curriculum Vitae (CV) in Europass.
There is a role for participating organisations in helping participants to reflect on what they have learned and document their learning outcomes with the help of Youthpass or other EU or national validation tools.
Participants in European Solidarity Corps activities must always be in a safe environment.
They are insured for the duration of their activity, from the moment they leave for their host country until the end of the second month after completing their activity.
Participants in cross-border activities (those involving more than one country) have:
- complementary coverage, provided by the European Commission, in addition to the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or the host country’s national health system
- primary coverage, provided by the European Commission, if the participant cannot have the EHIC free of charge, or if they are not entitled to coverage under the national regulatory framework.
Any costs incurred by participants in activities organised in their own country will be reimbursed if they are not covered by the national health system.
The host organisation must ensure that the participant has a European Health Insurance Card and if that was not possible, to ensure that the participant is covered by the mandatory insurance plan for which the Corps makes provision.
For more information about coverage and support, plus instructions for taking out insurance, see the website of the insurance company.
Certificate of participation
This certifies participation in European Solidarity Corps activities. On completing the planned activity and the survey on their experience, participants are entitled to a certificate issued through the European Solidarity Corps portal by one of the organisations involved.
Agreements with participants
Before travelling abroad, everyone participating in an individual volunteering activity or taking up a traineeship or job supported by the European Solidarity Corps must sign a participant agreement. This must define at least the following aspects of the activity:
- Rights and responsibilities with regard to the insurance and the financial contribution provided by the Corps
- Tasks to be performed during the activity (for volunteering activity)
- Intended learning outcomes (for volunteering activity).
Traineeships and jobs are covered by an additional written agreement whose content depends on the rules and laws of the country where the traineeship or job is offered.
Visas & residence permits
Participants may need a visa to spend time abroad in the partner country that is hosting their activity, or to travel on from that country.
Participants are strongly recommend to apply for a visa well in advance, as it may take several weeks for it to be issued.
The EU immigration portal is a good source of general information on both short-term and long-term visas and residence permits.