On the first day of the transnational meeting in Estonia, the group traveled to the island of Saaremaa where the locals have a wonderful saying:
The group was really impressed with the vocational school on the island. The school is not only a major player here, creating jobs and attracting professionals from all fields of interest, but it is also a welcoming place for people of all ages. Students come here because they are passionate about a particular field and want to put in the effort to learn something new. But what is striking is that there are adults and even elderly people who want and do the same thing. The school welcomes adults who already have a day job, but want to start a new hobby or try another profession.
The board of this school manages to find an entrepreneur or expert to add time to their schedule and join the classes, having the opportunity to teach. We saw students very eager to learn and teachers working closely with them in all areas of the school we visited: constructions, carpentry, multimedia, graphic design, IT and, perhaps most impressively – because it is unique in Estonia, boat building.
It is almost as if this school had its own micro-industry, following the needs of the labor market, and also those of the community of Saaremaa. In fact, the main purpose of this school is to keep graduates at home, here on the island or on the mainland. Whether the student leaves the island or not, it is important that here at Ametikool, he is part of a small world and a small community to which he will certainly want to give back. And we think that's also the mindset of the staff and people of Saaremaa, who have lived here for an impressive number of generations.
We are happy to have found a beautiful community of hardworking and passionate people who, for ages, love them so much that they will not postpone their mission. Even though it is sometimes difficult to get through the bureaucracy in order to maintain such a diverse program, they are ready to fight for their institution and never give up on cooperation, group effort and teamwork. And we think that's the motto we have to keep in mind now, while having this special meeting and all the networking that we do, between LAGs, NGOs and associations across the EU and Erasmus+.