The Academy of Trainers – an excellent example of learning in the workplace

Credits: FOLM

Adult education covers all forms of learning by adult individuals after completing formal education, no matter what stage the individual finished their education.

As most of the adults are professionally active, further education can be undertaken at the workplace. The aim of the work-based learning is to help people expandand update their knowledge and skills. By acquiring new qualifications and skills an employee can improve their situation on the labor market and continue to develop their career e.g., through retraining. Work-based learning concept assumes a departure from the traditional educational model based on rigid curriculum implemented at universities with the fullest possible development of curriculum that will take into account the current and future needs of employers in terms of competences required from employees. It is good to remember that work-based learning is not only beneficial for employees but also for employers who can through that gain better qualified staff without recruiting new employees.

CIE employees are constantly expanding their knowledge in the workplace, thanks to the, created in January 2021, Academy of Trainersthat is aimed at potential Outdoor Learning (OL) Trainers but not only at them. The Academy of Trainersis a suitable environment that allows Trainers to implement their tasks not in abstract theory but physically tangible practice. This is how we make it possible for OL participants to gain the experience as a team but also as an individual. Our regular Trainers who actively participate in the workshops also benefit from the trainings.

The FOLM project (From Outdoors to Labour Market) is a model of Outdoor Learning, which a target group is 990 people without education, employment or trainings (NEETs – no education, employment, training) in three countries: Poland, Spain and Ireland. To properly guide our participants through OL, we launched the Academy of Trainers. The Academy consists of three phases that are carried out outdoors, webinars and shadowing – provided by our long-term partners, experts in the field of OL. Experts if this field are Venture Trust and the University of Edinburgh. Additionally, the University of Edinburgh studies potential Trainers before the training itself as well as after carried out the first groups. This verification is implemented in order to check the level of knowledge acquired during the outdoor Academy to access whether the Trainers are ready to work with our project participants. The main focus of the study is to check if the Trainers are ready to transfer the knowledge and motivate participants to return to the labor market or educational path.

The training process is multistage, divided into 3 phases of outdoor work. Part one of the Academy of Trainersintroduced to the subject of Outdoor Learning. We included there elements of the methodology of human development in the forest – based on the Edinburgh Model – Outdoor Learning. The first part of the Academy ended with the practical stage carried out outdoors. Camping together lasted all day and night. We used equipment we use during work with our groups outdoors. In the second and third part the emphasis is on preparing the Trainers to work with participants of the FOLM project. Trainers in both the second and the third part spend 7 days outdoors. Thanks to that Trainers:

  • Acquire the ability to transfer the Outdoor Learning phase to further phases of the project
  • Learn the routines, order and handling of the Outdoor Learning equipment
  • Acquire the skills to manage themselves as well as the group
  • Strengthen the sense of readiness to react appropriately in unforeseen situations when working with participants
  • Settle in the Outdoor Learning Trainer role


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