The final conference of the TRACK project
took place on 21 June 2107 in Brussels
Empowerment of informal carers through training,
skills recognition and certification:
is there a European Future?
How to ensure that people caring responsibilities get the support they need in order to fulfil their commitment while maintaining their own well-being? How to provide a meaningful pathway to employment to informal carers who have been set aside from the labour market for a long caring period?
During the event, participants were invited to:
- Discover the innovative TRACK blended training programme designed for informal carers caring for a person affected by dementia;
- Discuss the added-value and possibilities of certification as a tool for highlighting and recognising informal carers' skills;
- Discuss the use of innovative ICT-based solutions to offer new learning opportunities to informal carers;
- And take part in a debate with practitioners and high-level decision makers on the issues attached to the development of training for informal carers at the EU, national and local level.
REPORT (to be available soon)
More about the context and the organisers
Informal carers are persons who provide care (usually unpaid) to someone with a chronic illness, disability or other long-lasting health or care need, outside of a professional or formal framework. Informal carers across the EU provide over 80% of all care, with women providing approximately two thirds of care mainly as daughters (in law) and wives/partners. In our ageing societies, more and more people endorse informal caregiving activities.
While caring for a relative can be source of personal satisfaction, it brings also its own set of challenges and difficulties. Indeed, the quality of life of carers is generally poorer than for society as a whole. Being a carer is often associated with poverty, isolation, frustration, ill health and depression. Informal carers often face the specific difficulties attached to dementia without benefiting from adequate support. Informal carers of working age face significant difficulties to remain active on the labour market.
Learning opportunities, in particular when embedded in a range of support services, are highly valued by informal carers, and recommended by health professionals, vocational training professionals as well as academic research. However, evidence shows that informal carers face a multiplicity of obstacles preventing them from accessing training, including a lack of information, self-awareness, opportunities at disposal and limited availability due to their caring responsibilities. The development of online support and training offers new ways to reach out to informal carers and provide them with new opportunities.
The project TRACK (for TRAining and recognition of informal Carers’ sKills) focuses on training for informal carers caring for a person affected by dementia. Building on the cooperation between training providers, informal carers organisations and experts on skills and qualification, it has developed:
- A baseline study on existing support and learning opportunities for informal carers in the EU;
- A blended training for informal carers facing dementia, combining online and face-to-face modules, adapted and tested in three pilot countries (Germany, Spain, France);
- A study on the feasibility of the certification of this training.
Photo © Hannah Müller
9/10 March 2017: Consortium meeting held in Vienna (Austria)
Parters met in Vienna for a two days meeting. The project is going on smoothly. All the activities of the project were reviewed on this occasion.
The project coordinator explained the project management activities completed recently.
The training kit for the course for informal caregivers was presented in detail, a ready-to-use tool for trainers that will guide them step by step during the whole training pathway. In this sense, it includes contents and exercises, that will require just few adjustments and adaptations for each country. The partners appreciated the quality and the completeness of this document.
The current status of the Feasibility study on Certification was presented.. The desk research has been completed, as well as the interviews with experts (6 national and 2 international), the conclusions for each participating country (France, Spain, Germany and Austria) and possible cooperation options at EU level (with ECC, ECVC, Discover or Keyfora initiatives).The main conclusion of the validation workshop in Halle, organised on 23rd February were presented.
Finally, partners agreed on the concept note and programme for the final conference, that will be hosted by Eurocarers on 21st June in Brussels.
29/30 September 2016: Consortium meeting held in Halle (Germany)
During a two days meeting, partners reviewed the state of paly of all activities planned within the project.
Dissemination activities: the preparation of a research poster to be available at the final conference was discussed, and the use of other dissemination tools reviewed.
Training course for informal carers: the material will be ready according to the timing planned. The preparation of the implementation of the training in three pilot countries was discussed, and the coordinator reminded the pre-conditions for the recruitment of participants.
The first results of the Feasibility study on certification were presented. The first conclusions for each participating country were available (France, Spain, Germany and Austria), as well as the possible approaches for linking TRACK certificate and national validation processes. It was noted that the UE requires the member states to set up procedures for formal and informal learning recognition until 2018, but that for the moment there is not a clear perspective of the outcomes of this process.
The next steps of this Study were explained in detail.
It was agreed to set up a sustainability plan, which was not included in the application form as such, but would be useful to have a clearer action and strategy.
Session 2: O2 The Informal Caregivers training programme
Gloria Ortiz (project coordinator, P1 IPERIA) presented the status of the activities under IO2 and the remedial actions taken to catch up the cumulated delay due to the sick-leaves of the staff in charge of this intellectual output. More concretely, Gloria (P1 IPERIA) explained that an external expert has been hired to support the staff in charge of the training programme and that there will be no need to delay the activities concerning the translation and cultural adaptation, and mainly the implementation of the training programme.
17/18 March 2016: Consortium meeting held in Jaén (Spain)
On 16 and 17 March, partners met for a two days working meeting in Jaén. It was the second meeting of the consortium. On this occasion, they discussed the outcomes of the baseline research report and the focus groups. They agreed on main contents of the training, on an approach to the work on certification and the features of the website.
March 2016: The baseline study “Informal caring and learning opportunities” is out!
This report presents an overview of support services available for informal carers in the European Union, with a particular focus on learning opportunities.
The report is based on research including a literature review, a survey answered by 36 organisations, as well as 30 succinct interviews. The report identifies the most pressing needs and expectations in terms of learning opportunities for informal carers. It provides a range of references of relevant initiatives at local, regional, national and international levels.
The report concludes by confirming the relevance of the objectives and method of the project TRACK, and pointing out the learning of existing initiatives and the challenges to be addressed.