The creation of the Single Market and the adoption of the Euro have created new opportunities for SMEs, who carry out a vital role in the European economy. However, there are a still a number of obstacles that prevent these companies, especially the smaller ones, from benefiting fully from the advantages linked to the introduction of the Single Market and the Euro. Among these obstacles is the scarce knowledge of foreign languages that prevent, from the very start, the exploration of opportunities for collaboration with other countries and for the expansion of the enterprise's activities abroad.
Within these companies the first person of reference when establishing initial contact is very often the secretary or administrative assistant.
The professional figure of the secretary is generally characterised by a low level of linguistic competence (in particular secretaries who belong to older generations) that can create difficulties when the secretary has to take a telephone call or carry out written communication in a language other than their mother-tongue. Today, secretaries who find themselves working in the "New Economy" are expected to have new skills and being able to communicate in a foreign language is one of them.
It is therefore necessary to re-think the language training process regarding secretarial and administrative personnel. A language training package needs to be flexible to use and relate to contemporary situations. The didactic modules should reflect the economic changes that are in process, for example, administrative and financial issues and the language used for communicating via the Internet.
The ELS project is addressed to secretaries or administrative assistants of SME's throughout Europe. These roles are very often carried out by women and therefore the ELS project is addressed in particular at a female target group.
The ELS projects has the following objectives:
The main output developed in the framework of the ELS project will be the creation of a portal for the learning of four European languages: English, French, Italian and Spanish aimed at secretarial and administrative staff throughout Europe.
The portal will also contain a training package focused on 'Business Culture' in all the project partner countries as well as a 'Personal Development' training package.
1) PIXEL ASSOCIAZIONE (IT)
Pixel, the project's promoter is a non-profit association for the promotion of innovation in education and training.
2) CONNECTIS (IT)
Connectis operates in the field of Information and Communication Technologies.
3) COMUNE DI FIRENZE ASSESSORATO ALLE POLITICHE DEL LAVORO (IT)
The Comune di Firenze Assessorato alle Politiche del lavoro takes care of all the activities relating to the development of employment throughout the Florence region, with a particular focus on training activities for qualification and re-qualification for weaker sectors of society e those at greater risk of unemployment.
4) ISTITUTO TECNICO INDUSTRIALE "LEONARDO DA VINCI" (IT)
Istituto Tecnico Industriale "Leonardo da Vinci" is based in Florence and is one of the largest technical institutes in the Florence region.
5) NO-LIMITS (UK)
No-Limits is an agency that aims to develop various strategies for personal growth and development. It is based in Nottingham where it organizes training and consultancy for various target groups, with a particular focus on female learning and the promotion of female enterprise, using innovative methodologies.
6) AGERCEL (F)
AGERCEL is the association of Language Centre Networks for the French Chambers of Commerce and Industry.
7) CREA ARAGONA (ES)
Crea is the Aragona Confederation of Entrepreneurs. It is trade association which offers a large range of services to its associates and to other enterprises in the region, in particular in the training sector, developing courses specifically designed on the needs of the learners, using national and European funding.
8) KOMPETANSEMEGLEREN AS (NO)
Kompetansemegleren AS is a consultancy company working with learning and training concepts in private, public and voluntary institutions, with strong links with local schools and educational bodies.
9) GEORGIKI ANAPTIXI (GR)
Georgiki Anaptixi is a non-profit organisation that focuses on Professional Training and research in different sectors such as agriculture, tourism and business services. The Training Centre organises professional courses aimed at companies and individuals.
10) EUROED FOUNDATION (RO)
EuroEd Foundation is a private foundation that operates in the sector of foreign language teaching and in the development of professional courses aimed at both adults and young people.
11) CENTRUL DE INOVARE SI DEZVOLTARE IN AFACERI (INNOVATION AND BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT CENTER) (RO)
Centrul de Inovare si Dezvoltare in Afaceri is a non-profit association that focuses on the economic, social and cultural development of the area in which it operates. In particular, it develops training programmes aimed to stimulate the interaction between economic operators and public institutions and to develop innovation at local level.
12) TRANSFER SLOVENSKO (SK)
TRANSFER Slovensko was founded in 1994 as a consultancy company to support the development and innovation of companies. At present it is one of the main agencies that offer support to firms and businesses in Slovakia.
13) BILDUNGSWERK VER.DI (DE)
Bildungsverg Ver.di is an non-profit institution located in Lower Saxony specialising in adult education, teachers' education and vocational training. to guarantee the respect for workers' rights.