ADVANCE Network by 9Wc90HWO

VIEWS: 4 PAGES: 54

									Reference: O'Donnell, S. (1998). Advance Network Final
Evaluation Report. Dublin: Dublin City University.




              ADVANCE Network
            Final Evaluation Report




     Conducted for The Nerve Centre, Derry
           (ADVANCE Coordinator,
         EU-EMPLOYMENT Integra)


                  Susan O'Donnell
                     Researcher
              School of Communications
                Dublin City University

                     March 1998
Contents

Summary .......................................................................... 1

Background.......................................................................     3
About this report ...............................................................     3
Policy background ............................................................        4
ADVANCE partners ..........................................................           6
Aims and expected outcomes of ADVANCE ...................                             9

Operational progress ....................................................... 12
National projects .............................................................. 12
ADVANCE Network ......................................................... 13

Learning, outcomes, and key issues ............................... 15

Production ........................................................................ 15
ADVANCE home page .................................................... 15
Other productions ............................................................ 18

Training ............................................................................ 19
Trainer exchanges ........................................................... 20
Trainee exchanges .......................................................... 21

Development....................................................................     23
Project meetings ..............................................................     24
Employment trends and new job roles ............................                    25
Program process and pedagogy .....................................                  28

Multiplier Effect ................................................................ 38

Dissemination .................................................................. 40

Conclusions ..................................................................... 43
Summary

In broad terms, this report looks at how the ADVANCE
network, funded by the EMPLOYMENT Horizon-
Disadvantaged initiative, encouraged social inclusion in the
"information society" and policy and practice reflecting the
needs of people from disadvantaged communities.

The ADVANCE partners - The Nerve Centre in Derry,
Northern Ireland, which coordinated the network;
Jungletrommen in Copenhagen, Denmark; The Institut für
Neue Medien in Rostock, Germany; and the Ballymun Job
Centre in Dublin, Ireland - are all organisations which
develop initiatives using the new information and
communication technologies to move people from
disadvantaged communities into a more central and active
role in the "information society."

The ADVANCE network explored the potential of
interactive       information      technologies      and
telecommunications networks for transnational delivery of
training and education. It also developed a transnational
training partnership equipped with the multi-media and
multi-disciplinary skills. The exchange of learning and
experience and talents helped to make this training
accessible and meaningful to people in disadvantaged
communities.

From the first meeting of project managers of the
ADVANCE partners in January 1996 to the final meeting in
August 1997, the operations of the network have focused
on transnational training exchanges of trainers and
trainees an development of joint productions, in particular
the ADVANCE Web page. Formal exchanges for trainer
training occurred during 1996 and three formal trainee
training exchanges took place in 1996 and 1997.

The ADVANCE Web site was in development (while on
the Web for public access) throughout the project and the
final version, a joint production of all four partners, remains
a showcase of the work of the ADVANCE network. Aside
from the Web page, other joint multimedia productions
were the collaboration of two partners, the Nerve Centre
and the Institut für Neue Medien. These included cinema
trailers for two film festivals, and work on two multimedia
projects for a CD Rom and an Internet Web site.




                              1
The formal and informal meetings of the project
management of all four partners proved to be the primary
means of developing the knowledge of the ADVANCE
project. The lessons learned in the areas of common
pedagogies, curriculum, and approaches to employment
creation and new job roles were captured through
discussions at management meetings which moved
forward the thinking on these issues by the various
projects.

Each partner addressed the need for employment in a
unique way, although there were also common
approaches in their links with the labour market, beliefs
about IT and empowerment, and commercial activities.

The ADVANCE partners were committed to developing
effective pedagogies for training the various target groups
categorised as disadvantaged.          Again, there were
similarities and differences between their programs, in the
areas of: definitions of "disadvantaged," the recruitment
and selection process, certification, links with outside
training institutions, and supporting personal development
and overcoming disadvantage.

The ADVANCE network and its national projects had a
significant multiplier effect because they directly
contributed to the diffusion and learning of new information
and communication technologies in disadvantaged
communities. In two of the ADVANCE national projects,
the trainees have themselves become trainers, passing on
their skills and experience to fellow community members,
and even to those outside their communities.

The primary dissemination tool for ADVANCE remains the
Web page (www.nerve-centre.org.uk) which continues to
showcase the work of the partners. As well, ADVANCE
was involved and implicated in many dissemination
activities contributing to diffusing the experience and
innovatory aspects of the project to a more mainstream
audience as well as to specialists and policy makers.

The report conclusions highlights the lessons learned in
these areas and the main outcomes of the network. One
conclusion was that ADVANCE represented a confluence
of practical individual aims and practical and substantive
projects and products. The partnership itself, supported
and driven by EU financing, was an example of how



                             2
transnational partnerships can be formed when national
partners are open to having their needs and interests met
through working with like-minded organisations.




                           3
Background


About this report

This report is a record and independent evaluation of the
ADVANCE network, funded by the EU EMPLOYMENT
Horizon-Disadvantaged         programme        (renamed
EMPLOYMENT-Integra in the network's second year).

ADVANCE was a network of organisations developing
initiatives using the new information and communication
technologies to move people from disadvantaged
communities into a more central and active role in the
"information society."

Key elements of this report are also on the ADVANCE
Web site. The Web site showcases the production work of
the partners, and the reader is encouraged to visit the site
for a fuller picture of ADVANCE. The Web address is:

www.nerve-centre.org.uk

Report methodology

The evaluator was Susan O'Donnell, researcher at the
School of Communications, Dublin City University.

Several qualitative methods were used to gather the
information for this report. First, a review was made of all
the documents produced by the ADVANCE coordinator
and partners for distribution amongst the partners. This
consisted mostly of reports, information sheets, various
promotional materials, and the final evaluation reports of
two national projects.

The ADVANCE transnational coordinator was interviewed
informally on several occasions in the summer and
autumn of 1997. Project management from the three
other partners were interviewed formally in November
1997. The evaluator participated in a joint discussion at a
transnational meeting for ADVANCE project managers in
Dublin in August 1997 which touched many of the issues
herein, and her notes of that discussion were used for this
report. Finally, the staff and trainees of Tramlines, the
EMPLOYMENT Horizon-Disadvantaged project of the
Ballymun Job Centre, one of the ADVANCE partners,



                             4
were interviewed regarding their experiences with the
ADVANCE training exchanges.




                          5
Policy background:
Social disadvantage in the "information society"

By way of background, we can recall that "information
society" is a term used originally to describe an economy
whose base had shifted from manufacturing to information
and knowledge work. More recently, it refers to a society
in which new information and communication technologies
(ICTs) are central.

In 1994, the year before the ADVANCE network was
formed, the Bangemann report was released by the EC.
Bangemann, which remains the cornerstone of EU policy
on the "information society," envisions an information
revolution which holds great promise for the future of
Europe, including:

*Huge new capacities to human intelligence;

*Changes in the way we work and live together;

*A more caring European society;

*A significantly higher quality of life;

*Wider choices of services and entertainment;

*Improved efficiency       of   our    social   and   economic
      organisation.

However, many social scientists and historians have
challenged this optimistic vision and proposed that social
exclusion in the "information society" is increasing. The
past two decades have seen the widespread diffusion of
new ICTs but also a slowdown in productivity growth, the
emergence of high levels of unemployment in many
nations, and increasing inequality in the distribution of
income and wealth in most of the industrial world. This
historical evidence raises the question of how the
democratic and enlightened "information society"
envisioned in the policy documents of the EU will come to
pass.

More recent EU policy documents propose that the
"information society" offers opportunities for people from
disadvantaged communities, such as the unemployed, to




                                6
acquire new competencies and skills and participate more
fully in paid employment.

This evaluation report looks at how the ADVANCE network
has encouraged social inclusion in the "information
society" and policy and practice reflecting the needs of the
socially marginalised and excluded.

ADVANCE took its policy direction from the High Level
Expert Group established to report on social dimensions of
the "information society." Its first report, Building the
Information Society for Us All, published in early 1996,
acknowledged that low-income people, single parents and
the unemployed may lack access to the benefits of the
"information society" and in the concluding section, stated:

       "In particular, attention should focus on
       provision or adaptation in areas where the
       market is unlikely to meet needs. The
       participation of the target groups in the
       design, development and implementation of
       technologies is critical." (p.34)

A central concern of the ADVANCE network was
meaningful production using the new information
technologies and meaningful employment in the
"information society." In most areas of the EU, there are
few or no training programmes in high-end IT skills
designed for unemployed people, those from a
disadvantaged background, or others without the means to
enter third-level education.

The EMPLOYMENT Horizon-Disadvantaged projects
developed by the ADVANCE partners - the Nerve Centre,
Jungletrommen, the Institut für Neue Medien and the
Ballymun Job Centre - filled a significant need, by
providing high-quality training oriented to production and
employment      using     the    new     information   and
communication      technologies,      to     people   from
disadvantaged communities.

These initiatives are examples of how a pro-active
approach can serve the people who have in the past been
failed by mainstream education and training structures.
The ADVANCE initiatives could serve as models for EU
and national policy which would encourage mainstream
education and training institutions to seriously consider the



                             7
needs of the unemployed and socially excluded when
developing high-quality, high-end IT courses - to meet the
needs of industry and the social sector, to develop new
market niches, and to encourage the creative and
innovative uses of new information and communication
technologies in disadvantaged communities.




                            8
ADVANCE partners

ADVANCE was a network of organisations working with
the socially excluded and developing initiatives to move
socially excluded groups and people from disadvantaged
communities into a more central and active role in the
"information society."

The four ADVANCE partners had in common a
commitment to the following activities (with a different
emphasis and focus for each organisation):

*Create new opportunities in the IT labour market,
      particularly for people from disadvantaged
      communities.

*Explore the potential of the new ICTs for media and
       multimedia production.

*Participate in policy making on the "information society,"
        employment and education.

*Encourage partnerships with private sector players in the
      IT industry.

*Support the use of ICTs in disadvantaged communities.

*Use ICTs in their work to promote social inclusion.

The ADVANCE partners were:

*The Nerve Centre in Derry, Northern Ireland, which also
      coordinated the ADVANCE network.

*The Ballymun Job Centre in Dublin, Ireland.

*The Institut für Neue Medien in Rostock, East Germany.

*Jungletrommen in Copenhagan, Denmark.


The Nerve Centre

The Nerve Centre began as a self-help initiative of young
unemployed musicians and artists to provide a link
between young people, the arts and new technology.




                             9
Their focus is training,      education    and   production,
particularly in multimedia.

The Nerve Centre was the transnational coordinator of
ADVANCE.         EMPLOYMENT Horizon-Disadvantaged
funded the trans-national management of ADVANCE; the
Special Support Programme for Peace and Reconciliation
funded their multimedia training course which was ongoing
during this period. Among their key productions during the
time of ADVANCE were: Cu Chulainn in Cyberspace, a
Web site of cross-cultural educational material which
reinterprets and reinvents the traditions and symbols of
communities in Northern Ireland; and the Virtual Museum
of Colm Cille, an interactive multimedia CD which gathers
together numerous materials relating to the life of the saint
who lived during Ireland's early Christian era. The Nerve
Centre's primary training courses include one-year full-time
courses in multimedia and cinemanagement (film festival
management skills) and numerous part-time courses in
media and multimedia production. All their programs are
targeted at the unemployed and disadvantaged groups.

More information about the Nerve Centre can be found on
their home page: www.nerve-centre.org.uk

Ballymun Job Centre

The Ballymun Job Centre is a job-placement, training, and
enterprise development organisation set up as a
community response to the unemployment crisis in
Ballymun. Its central objective is the elimination of all
involuntary unemployment in Ballymun, and as an interim
measure to bring unemployment down to the national
average.

The job placement service is the core of their work.
Complementary services include support for job seekers,
such as: advice and specific skills in job-seeking, programs
of intensive support to long-term unemployed people,
career assessment, a jobs club, and enterprise support
and creation.

The Ballymun Job Centre is currently directly involved in
more than 20 training programs, mostly foundation and
personal development courses and skills courses, such as
clerical/receptionist and forklift training, developed and
implemented in co-operation with state training agencies.



                              10
Training in information technology ranges from basic
computer training as a supplement to other training
programs to the high-end professional training in Microsoft
Certifications offered through Tramlines (the project
funded by EMPLOYMENT Horizon-Disadvantaged) and a
related programme, Online, developed with a local
vocational training college.

Institut für Neue Medien

The Institute für Neue Medien provides vocational training
in modern media applications. The centre provides a
regional focus for youth and cultural activities related to the
media and is also a media advisory and consultation point.

The focus of the Institut is dissemination and
encouragement of new media skills, development and
transnational alignment of official qualifications for media
work, and the regional development of the media sector.

They offer a comprehensive range of retraining, further
education and in-house instruction programmes, and
workshops and symposia in the following areas:
photography, video production, DTP, graphic design, 3D
graphics, screen design, classical and computer
animation, telematics and interactive applications,
integrative marketing, advertising and public relations.
Some of their programmes have been targeted at long-
term unemployed people and other marginalised groups,
such as Jewish immigrants (the focus of their
EMPLOYMENT Horizon-Disadvantaged project).

More information about the Institute für Neue Medien can
be found on their home page: www.ifnm.baltic.net

Jungletrommen

Jungletrommen (the Jungle Drum) is part of a consultation
centre for communication and promotion. The focus of
Jungletrommen is developing communication and
promotion for processes of transformation, including
training programs and production.

Jungletrommen offers training in multimedia and
production within the graphics and audio-visual fields.
Their training for the multicultural communication assistant
(the EMPLOYMENT Horizon-Disadvantaged project) was



                              11
targeted at refugees and immigrants. Other projects
include "Project Rabarberlandet" (rhubarb district) focused
on strengthening the involvement of local residents in a
disadvantaged neighbourhood to improving their health
and quality of life; and "Flexible for the IT-society" focused
on developing and testing educational models for training
workers in the social, cultural and economic sectors in
processes and skills including multimedia and Internet
navigation.

More information about Jungletrommen can be found on
their home page: www.ccentre.dk/advance/default.html

Contribution to aims of EMPLOYMENT Horizon-
Disadvantaged

ADVANCE initiatives, which use ICTs in novel ways, play
an important role by way of example in developing policy
on the "information society" and other policy areas.
Developing policy is a key role of the EMPLOYMENT
Horizon-Disadvantaged Initiative, given the limitations of its
budget against the scale of the problem of social
exclusion. The real value and potential of EMPLOYMENT
Horizon-Disadvantaged is to act as a laboratory for testing
social and economic policy by piloting and evaluating
actions prior to their transfer to the mainstream.

The ADVANCE network was entirely compatible with the
aims of the EMPLOYMENT Horizon-Disadvantaged
programme. The priorities of EMPLOYMENT Horizon-
Disadvantaged were:

*To provide or facilitate access to high quality education
      and training programmes for people experiencing
      social and economic disadvantage.

*To incorporate direct linkage to employment, self-
      employment and income generating opportunities
      for people experiencing social and economic
      disadvantage.

The specific ways that ADVANCE also prioritised these
areas can be seen in the aims and expected outcomes of
ADVANCE.

Aims and expected outcomes of ADVANCE




                             12
As a network, ADVANCE aimed to:

*Explore the potential of interactive information
       technologies and telecommunications networks for
       transnational delivery of training and education of
       people experiencing social and economic
       disadvantage, and the exchange of information,
       skills, and methodologies across European
       boundaries.

*Develop a transnational training partnership equipped
      with the multi-media and multi-disciplinary skills
      necessary to provide access for disadvantaged
      communities to the information highways and to the
      new employment opportunities opened up by the
      new media.

*Use the diverse skills, experiences and talents within the
      partnership to develop innovative models of
      training, education and delivery systems capable of
      making this training accessible and meaningful to
      the disadvantaged.

Specifically, ADVANCE aimed to accomplish these goals
by the partners working together on:

*Production

Creating an ADVANCE Internet Home page as a joint
       project;

Joint production of multi-media presentations, information
       systems and distance learning materials using
       interactive technology to provide access to the
       labour market for people from disadvantaged
       communities.

*Training

Training for the individual and collective needs of the
       partners;

Exchanging technical and specialist expertise, teaching
     methodologies, and specialist training, particularly
     in areas of multimedia, Internet navigation and
     distance learning.




                            13
*Development

Investigating the usefulness of online communication tools
       for effective transnational communication and
       cooperation;

Developing an effective pedagogy for training people from
      disadvantaged groups and areas, and curriculum in
      multimedia and the new technologies;

Exploring the creation of employment and new job roles in
       the "information society";

Promoting the exchange of ideas and project outcomes
     and their dissemination to influence EU policy,
     through regular meetings, regular contact via the
     Internet, and the ADVANCE Internet home page.

The expected outcomes of ADVANCE included:

*Exchanges of training and expertise.

*Joint production of an ADVANCE Web page.

*Joint multimedia productions.

*Joint development of curriculum, training pedagogies and
       approaches, and distance learning materials.

*Dissemination of lessons learned.




                            14
Operational progress

This section will look briefly at the partners'
EMPLOYMENT Horizon-Disadvantaged projects and the
operational progress of the ADVANCE network as a
whole.

National projects

As noted earlier, the Nerve Centre did not have a project
funded by EMPLOYMENT Horizon-Disadvantaged but it
was funded to participate as an ADVANCE partner and
coordinate the network. During its time in ADVANCE, the
Nerve Centre was involved in a wide range of projects. Its
main production project shared with the ADVANCE
partners was the Virtual Museum of Colm Cille on CD
Rom. The Colm Cille project has been in development
since early 1996 and made its public debut at the Tower
Museum in Derry in July 1997. The production crew
included trainees on the Nerve Centre's one-year
multimedia course as well as designers and programmers
from the Institut für Neue Medien.

The Ballymun Job Centre's EMPLOYMENT Horizon-
Disadvantaged project was Tramlines, a training program
aimed at a high-level professional certification in IT in
demand by employers. Tramlines began in January 1995
by training the trainers, with the trainees coming on board
in April. The goal was acquiring Microsoft Certification in
various Microsoft software products. Most of the 25
trainees were long-term unemployed before Tramlines,
and all achieved at least one Microsoft Certification. Some
are well on their way to achieving a Systems Engineer
Certification, which is highly-regarded in the IT industry.
Tramlines ended in December 1997, and the goal of 80
percent employment in the IT industry was surpassed.

The Institut für Neue Medien's EMPLOYMENT Horizon-
Disadvantaged project, "Adaptive qualification for
academic specialists of Jewish resettlers," had as its target
group recent Jewish immigrants with a high academic
background who were wanting to enhance and upgrade
their skills and find work. The training program also had as
its goal the social integration of the trainees. The project
began in July 1995 and included 14 months of training in
four components: German language, social and business
competencies and media technologies; specialised training



                             15
in management and three areas of media technology:
multimedia, desktop publishing and 3D programming;
internal practical training; and external practical training in
local firms. Maintaining the integrity of the training program
proved to be a significant challenge because many of the
trainees were not motivated to stay in training and there
was a high drop-out rate. The project ended in the Spring
of 1997.

Jungletrommen's            EMPLOYMENT             Horizon-
Disadvantaged project was a pilot training program, the
"Multicultural Communication Assistant." The target group
was Danish refugees and immigrants. The two-year
training program included one year of training in
communication and promotion skills, journalism and
graphic production. The course had a production focus,
with each trainee having to produce something such as an
article, newsletter or homepage, depending on the course.
 The second year of training, job placement, ended in
October 1997, with further follow-up and training until
January 1998. Job placements were made in the social
services sector as well as in trade unions, the housing
sector, and as teachers in different projects. There were
also placements in the private sector.

ADVANCE Network

The project managers of the ADVANCE partners met four
times formally during the course of ADVANCE, in January,
March and October of 1996 and in August of 1997. There
were also several informal meetings of three partners, and
numerous meetings of two partners to discuss specific
projects.

Exchanges of expertise were mostly informal, except for a
significant formal exchange between the Derry and
Rostock projects as part of their joint multimedia
production.

Formal exchanges for trainer training occurred during
March and October 1996. The first, hosted by the Nerve
Centre, trained trainers from the partner projects in
Internet-based technologies. The second, hosted by the
Institut für Neue Medien, trained the trainers in 3D
animation and graphic design.




                              16
There were three formal trainee training exchanges, in
February and October of 1996 and July 1997. The first,
hosted by the Nerve Centre, involved 12 trainees from a
video production course in Rostock. The second saw
Rostock training 24 trainees from Ballymun in desktop
publishing skills. The final exchange was again in Derry,
with the Nerve Centre training five trainees from Ballymun
in desktop publishing and multimedia skills.

Initial development of the ADVANCE Web page was a
joint production of Jungletrommen and the Institut für Neue
Medien. In early 1997, a more comprehensive ADVANCE
Web page was developed by Jungletrommen and put up
on a site in Denmark. Finally, in the Autumn of 1997, the
Nerve Centre coordinated the development of the current
version of the Web page, with contributions from all
partners. It remains a showcase of the work of the
ADVANCE network.

Aside from the Web page, joint productions were almost
exclusively the domain of two partners, the Nerve Centre
and the Institut für Neue Medien.

Although the ADVANCE partners shared ideas on
pedagogies and curriculum development, there were no
joint productions of training materials; however,
Jungletrommen developed training materials for an
Internet course which it made available to partners through
the ADVANCE internal Web site. The ADVANCE partners
also shared information on employment and new job roles
which developed from their national projects.

The primary venue for ADVANCE network dissemination
remains the ADVANCE Web page. Presentations and
representations of the project were made at key European
conferences.

An interim report was prepared by the ADVANCE
coordinator in early 1997. It discussed some of the
challenges and teething problems of the network and
proposed that the focus for the time remaining in the
project should be use of the Web page as a forum for
transnational cooperation and exchange.




                            17
Learning, outcomes, and key issues

This section of the report describes the learning regarding
the three main areas of focus of ADVANCE: production,
training, and development.

Production

A primary objective of ADVANCE was production of:

*An ADVANCE Internet Home page as a joint project;

*Multimedia presentations, information systems and
       distance learning materials using interactive
       technology to provide access to the labour market
       for people from disadvantaged communities.

ADVANCE home page

Joint production of an ADVANCE home page was a key
focus of the ADVANCE network.           ADVANCE also
intended, through its home page, to explore the potential
of      interactive   information   technologies     and
telecommunications networks for delivery of training and
joint communication.

A major challenge to this aspect of the project was that its
technical support structure, the Interactive Systems Centre
at Magee College, Derry, had to pull out from the project
very early, in the process removing their expected
resources and technical support for the multimedia
training. At that point in the project, none of the ADVANCE
partners had significant expertise developing Web pages,
and the sudden lack of resources and support created
early difficulties for the transnational partnership which
followed through to the end - for example, ADVANCE had
planned to use the University's Janet Internet network, but
that arrangement had to end. When the Interactive
Systems Centre closed, the project, particularly the Nerve
Centre, was quickly forced to develop its own in-house
expertise in high-end multimedia and Internet skills.

Initial development of the ADVANCE Web page was a
joint production of Jungletrommen and the Institut für Neue
Medien. The latter put up the first version of the Web page
on a server in Rostock University in late 1996. That
version, essentially a digital copy of the ADVANCE



                            18
newsletter which had recently been produced in hard copy,
was intended to encourage further development of the
page.

In early 1997, a more comprehensive ADVANCE Web
page was developed by Jungletrommen and put up on a
site in Denmark. The page contained links to the partners
and their projects as well as documents produced by
ADVANCE, such as a newsletter and various reports.
There was also a password-protected version of the
homepage with links to other documents, for use by the
ADVANCE partners only.

In March 1997, as a response to the interim evaluation of
ADVANCE carried out by the transnational coordinator, the
ADVANCE home page was revamped to include a link to a
production in development: The Virtual Museum of Colm
Cille (a joint production of the Nerve Centre and the Institut
für Neue Medien) and an online discussion section on the
project.

Subsequently, the online discussion section of the home
page attracted only two contributions, both from
Jungletrommen staff, commenting on and asking further
questions about the project. No follow-up responses were
posted. Jungletrommen also posted the contents of an
Internet course, with a training manual and trainers manual
which could have been used by the partners, onto the
internal section of the home page.

In August 1997, at a meeting of the ADVANCE project
managers, a decision was taken to produce a new version
of the ADVANCE home page as a final project for the
network. The Nerve Centre took on the responsibility for
development, and all the partners made contributions.
The Web page went public in October 1997 and it remains
a showcase of the work of the ADVANCE network.

The earlier version of the ADVANCE home page on the
Danish Internet server will continue to be used by
Jungletrommen in its presentations to local authorities, as
the organisation believes it is particularly suited to this
audience.

As well as the production aspect of the ADVANCE Web
page, the ADVANCE network investigated the practical
usefulness of online communication - Internet email and



                             19
WorldWide Web pages - for transnational cooperation.
The intent was to explore the potential of the Web page for
transnational delivery of training and education, and
exchanging information, skills, and methodologies among
the partners.

However, as mentioned earlier, the Web site never
developed as a significant means of project
communication.

All the partners had been using Internet email at the time
ADVANCE was set up, and all continued to develop their
expertise with email and the World Wide Web during the
course of the project. They used Internet email to
communicate with each other, alongside the more
traditional communications media such as fax and
telephone.

However, two partners - the Nerve Centre and
Jungletrommen - had a commitment to developing their
expertise of WorldWide Web technologies outside their
work with ADVANCE. As a result, there was an imbalance
in the ADVANCE network regarding making the Web a
priority for network communication. Only these two
projects contributed to the ADVANCE Web site in any
significant way, aside from the initial development work by
the Institut für Neue Medien and the development of the
final site by all partners.

For the Ballymun Job Centre and the Institut für Neue
Medien, the Internet was marginal to their own operations,
although near the end of the project it began to take on a
more central role because Internet skills became
increasingly in demand by employers. Developing Web
sites - including helping to develop the ADVANCE Web
site - remained a marginal concern for the Ballymun Job
Centre and Institut für Neue Medien as a whole during the
period of ADVANCE.

There were also differences among the organisations
regarding access to the technologies. For example, in
Jungletrommen, all the project managers had Internet
access, while in the Ballymun Job Centre, the
organisation's Internet access was extended to Tramlines
managers only near the end of the project. One said that:




                            20
       "The Web site could have been a place
       where our trainees discussed things with one
       another, had informal projects going with
       those abroad. We could have, for example,
       gotten our partners to do graphics for us if
       we needed them on a website. But the
       practicalities are that we don't have an
       Internet connection here. There's one dial-
       up connection that's a headache to try to
       use."

Using the Web site to communicate also highlighted
difficulties with language barriers, and with using English
as the common language of communication. For the
Institut für Neue Medien in particular, there were difficulties
finding the time to translate their materials into English for
posting on the Web site.

However, the main barrier to using the Web site for
communication was that the partners did not need it to
communicate - when they needed to communicate, for
example for organising training exchanges or working on
joint productions, they used other, simpler means of
communication - including Internet email.

A key learning of the ADVANCE network was that it was a
mistake to put the emphasis on new information and
communication technologies, rather than on the content of
communication and information exchange. In other words,
when there is a need for communication, the technology
may facilitate it - but the technology has not been able to
facilitate communication when the partners had little need
for it.

In the end, the partners found that the ADVANCE Web
site did not help them communicate better, or more often;
nor did it bring them closer together. However, the Web
site did provide a central focus for the network, and was
the most significant production of the four partners as a
whole. By the end of the ADVANCE projects, all partners
had developed the expertise necessary to put up a Web
page, whereas none had that expertise at the beginning of
the partnership.

In the future, when developing plans to use the new
technologies    to     communicate,  the    ADVANCE
organisations will focus more on what is needed to be



                              21
communicated and why, and then look at the appropriate
technologies to support and facilitate that communication -
the focus will not be the technology but rather the content
of that communication.

Other productions

The Nerve Centre and the Institut für Neue Medien took
the lead in joint productions. The key works can be seen
on the ADVANCE Web page, and the reader is
encouraged to visit the page at: www.nerve-centre.org.uk
to see examples of these products.

Productions included:

*A cinema trailer for the Foyle Film Festival, Derry.
      Produced by trainees using advanced techniques of
      computer animation. A second cinema trailer for
      the Cinemagic Film Festival, Belfast. (The Nerve
      Centre and the Institut für Neue Medien)

*Work on the Virtual Museum of Colm Cille, (in process) a
      CD-ROM production launched in the Tower
      Museum, Derry in July 1997. (The Nerve Centre
      and the Institut für Neue Medien)

*Work on the Cu Chulainn in Cyberspace project, a Web
      site of cross-cultural educational material which
      reinterprets and reinvents the traditions and
      symbols of communities in Northern Ireland. (The
      Nerve Centre and the Institut für Neue Medien)

*A brochure produced for the Ballymun Job Centre by the
      Nerve Centre.

Of these joint production projects, the most substantive
was the Virtual Museum of Colm Cille. The project,
which is still ongoing, brings together artifacts associated
with the Irish saint Colm Cille (born 521), a key figure in
early Christian Ireland. The Virtual Museum reconstructs
39 artifacts in 3D, in a CD ROM format, which is an
exhibition "space" impossible to recreate in reality because
the actual artifacts are scattered throughout Britain and
Ireland. The virtual museum, similar to a real museum, is
a constructed space on two levels with many rooms, such
as a manuscript room, a map room, cinema room and so
on.      The programme user navigates though the



                            22
architecture and can interact with the virtual artifacts and
other historical and contemporary material. (A visual tour
of the project can be taken via the ADVANCE Web site.)

The ADVANCE project began with significant expectations
regarding joint multimedia productions involving all four
partners. These expectations were partly realised with the
joint production of the final ADVANCE Web page.
However, as the ADVANCE network evolved, it became
clear that other joint multimedia productions among all the
partners would not emerge - there was a skills and interest
gap among the partners that was never successfully
bridged.

Training

A second primary objective of ADVANCE was training:

*Training for the individual and collective needs of the
       partners;

*Exchanging technical and specialist expertise, teaching
      methodologies, and specialist training, particularly
      in areas of multimedia, Internet navigation and
      distance learning.

Exchanges of expertise

The most significant formal exchange of expertise took
place between two partners, the Nerve Centre and the
Institut für Neue Medien. The two were working on a joint
productions, primarily the Virtual Museum of Colm Cille
and the Cinemagic trailer and Web site, and the
exchanges were required to do the production.

In mid-1997, an animator from the Institut für Neue Medien
worked and trained at the Nerve Centre for more than a
month, and a Nerve Centre 3D modeller trained and
worked at the Institut für Neue Medien for six weeks.

Trainer exchanges

March 1996, The Nerve Centre

The Nerve Centre hosted the first trainer training session,
three days of training for 12 trainers (three from each
partner) on Internet-based communications technologies,



                            23
such as email and HTML. Training was provided by the
Interactive Systems Centre, Derry.

Many of the visiting trainers had no previous experience
with the Internet. The training established a common
technical and skills base on which to build online
communication between the partners. It was also a good
opportunity for the trainers to meet in both a formal and
informal setting. The feedback on the training was very
positive.

The outcomes of the training varied among the partners.
Once back home, the trainers from Copenhagen were able
to pass on what they had learned to the trainees at their
project and use it in their daily work; so for them, the Derry
training was invaluable. The trainers from Ballymun,
however, did not have access to the Internet at the
Ballymun Job Centre.           One Ballymun trainer later
remarked: "We had a good session in Derry. When I
came back I had all this information but I couldn't apply it
to anything. Now I can't remember any of it, two years on,
because I haven't backed it up."

October 1996, The Institut für Neue Medien

The Institut für Neue Medien hosted the second trainer
training session, two days for trainers from Ballymun and
Copenhagen in 3D graphics and graphic design. The
sessions were planned by the Rostock trainers as an
opportunity to begin practical work on the joint projects, in
particular the corporate design of ADVANCE and looking
at how to set up the home page. The trainers from
Ballymun particularly enjoyed the cultural aspect of the
Rostock training session.

During and subsequent to the training session, a
significant challenge arose when the partners from
Copenhagen complained about the quality of the training
in Rostock.      This issue, which was never resolved
satisfactorily, affected joint communications among the
ADVANCE partners from that point on. The
communications slowdown was indicative of differences in
perspectives among the partners which were never
systematically addressed.

August 1997, Jungletrommen




                             24
Jungletrommen produced a course on using the Internet,
both a training and trainers manual. The material was
made available on the internal (password-protected)
ADVANCE Web site in August 1997. The material could
have been used by the ADVANCE partners, although the
partners had not done so by the time of writing this report.

Trainee exchanges

February 1996, Rostock - Derry trip

The Nerve Centre hosted the first transnational exchange
of trainees in early 1996, when 12 trainees from the Institut
für Neue Medien's video production course spend the
entire month on placement at the Nerve Centre. While
there, the Rostock trainees collectively produced three
professional video productions on different aspects of the
cultural and civic life of the city, including a promotional
tourism video.

October 1996 Ballymun - Rostock trip

The second transnational exchange of trainees occurred in
October 1996, when 24 trainees from the Dublin project
visited Rostock for 10 days, along with two of the project
staff.

In Germany, the trainees were given training in the
desktop publishing software QuarkXpress on Macintosh
machines. For the Rostock trainers, the experience was
positive, especially the experience of teaching in English.
The Rostock trainees were encouraged to socialise with
those from Ballymun but they were shy because their low
knowledge of English.

Overall, the feedback from the Ballymun trainees about
their experience in Rostock was very positive, although the
personal development was clearly the most rewarding
aspect of the trip. The trainees appreciated the positive
environment surrounding the training and the fact that the
Rostock host group were interested in and aware of their
activities in Ballymun.

Most of the Ballymun trainees had never been exposed to
DTP or Macintosh machines before their training. For
most of the trainees, there were no opportunities to use
their new knowledge when they returned, because they did



                             25
not have access to the software back in Dublin. However,
the principles behind the DTP training, such as sound
design, can be applied to other productions.

However, some trainees were able to use their experience
in a practical sense later on. Five trainees furthered their
training on Macintosh machines and DTP skills at a
training session in Derry the next year. Another trainee
was placed on a work experience in Dublin in a company
which used Macintosh machines, and he said that it
helped that he had been exposed to them in Rostock.
Another was planning to use his DTP knowledge to
produce materials for a small business he was planning to
start.

The social side of the transnational exchange was a clear
success. Most of the trainees were highly positive about
the experience. The Ballymun project managers were also
positive, especially about the social aspect of the trip. Said
one:

       "A lot of them, reasonably, treated it like a
       holiday, letting off a lot of steam. The fact
       that we were in a non-commercial area, very
       little English, transformed the group. They
       realised we're all in this thing together. If
       somebody in the group can speak a little
       German, they can help the group. It did
       galvanize them as a team."


The trainees' were introduced to a different culture, which
for some was a significant experience because they had
never before been abroad. Some of the trainees made
friends in Germany and hoped the contact would continue.
 Upon their return, a number of trainees arranged to take
German language classes.

July 1997, Ballymun - Derry trip

The third transnational exchange of trainees occurred in
July 1997, when five trainees from Dublin visited Derry,
where they were given training in multimedia. The training
had a specific goal: to produce a brochure for the
Tramlines project. Again, the training was given on
Macintosh machines.




                             26
The feedback about the Derry trip was extremely positive,
both the training and social aspects. On the social side,
the trainees were very appreciative of the support they
received and hoped the contacts made would be ongoing.
 Some made it back to Derry a number of months later for
social event organised by the Nerve Centre. The trainees,
some of whom had never been to Derry before, learned
that: "Derry's not a million miles away."

On the technical side, the trainees worked hard in Derry to
produce a brochure and ended up with something they
were proud of. However, there were difficulties upon
returning to Dublin because the material they had
produced in Derry could not be converted to their
computers in Dublin, even after considerable effort to find
conversion hardware (a zip drive) in the local area and
nearby university. The brochure project was put on hold
and had not been produced by the time of writing this
report.

Development

Development was a third primary objective of the
ADVANCE network. In particular, the focus was on
learning regarding employment trends and new job roles,
and pedagogy and curriculum development. Specific
objectives included:

*Developing an effective pedagogy for training people from
      disadvantaged groups and areas, and curriculum in
      multimedia and the new technologies;

*Exploring the creation of employment and new job roles in
       the "information society."

Project meetings

The primary means of developing the knowledge of the
ADVANCE project was meetings of project management.
Contrary to initial expectations, the final outcomes of the
development aspect of the project did not include common
pedagogies, curriculum, or approaches to employment
creation and new job roles. However, the lessons learned
in these areas were captured through discussions at
management meetings, and these discussions were
reported to be helpful for moving forward the thinking on
these issues by the various projects.



                            27
Previous to ADVANCE, three of the partners - the Nerve
Centre, the Institut für Neue Medien and Jungletrommen
had worked together on transnational projects. The new
partner was the Ballymun Job Centre. The project
management of all ADVANCE partners met for four formal
meetings during the course of the ADVANCE partnership,
as well as informal meetings attended by two or three
partners.

In January 1996, the Nerve Centre hosted the first formal
gathering since funding had been awarded under the
EMPLOYMENT Horizon-Disadvantaged program. Also
present at the meetings were representatives from the
Interactive Systems Centre in Derry and a guest from
Rostock University. The aim of the meetings was to visit
the Interactive Systems Centre, to organise each partner's
role in the ADVANCE project, to define each partner's
training and technical needs particularly around Internet
communication, and to discuss the project management,
finances, workplan, evaluation and the role of the
transnational project manager.

In March 1996, the Nerve Centre also hosted the second
transnational meeting of project managers. The focus of
the second meeting was development of the two-year
action plan for ADVANCE, based on the work plan agreed
at the first meeting.

In October 1996, the Institut für Neue Medien hosted the
third transnational meeting of project managers. Among
other outcomes was a useful discussion between project
managers from Ballymun and Rostock about the target
groups and training methods. One of the outcomes of this
meeting, as mentioned earlier, was that several of the
ADVANCE partners realised they did not share the same
philosophy or approach to project work. For various
reasons, this realisation was never discussed
constructively but rather it was left in the background
where it contributed to a slowdown in the communication
exchange within the project as a whole from that point on.

In August 1997, the Ballymun Job Centre hosted the
fourth and final transnational meeting of project managers.
 Central to that meeting was a discussion of IT training in
the community, and evaluation of the ADVANCE network.




                            28
 The meeting ended positively, with the partners agreeing
to contribute to a final version of the ADVANCE Web site.

An issue discussed at several meetings which remained
an open question by the end of the project was the role of,
and even the need for, a transnational coordinator. The
ADVANCE transnational coordinator worked one day a
week in that role and used a facilitating rather than
directing approach. Several times during the project, one
partner expressed the need for a more directive role from
the coordinator but other partners were satisfied with the
facilitative approach. This evaluation did not address this
issue directly; however one partner said in retrospect that
the coordinator's role depends to a large extent on the
context and personalities of the particular transnational
project. He believed that in instances when a great deal of
specific input was needed by all transnational partners, a
coordinator should play a more directive role but for the
most part each partner should determine their own level
and style of input.

Along these lines, it is instructive that for the new DREAM
project, involving three of the ADVANCE partners, the
transnational network has been place on two levels, with a
distinction between partners who have worked together for
a longer period of time (who play more of a coordinating
role) and those who need more time to see how they can
contribute to and benefit from the partnership.

The remainder of this section on development highlights
the observations and learning regarding employment
trends and new job roles, and pedagogy and project
process which were discussed at the ADVANCE project
management meetings.

Employment trends and new job roles

As noted in the introduction to this report, the ADVANCE
network was compatible with the aim of the
EMPLOYMENT Horizon-Disadvantaged programme to
incorporate direct linkages to employment, self-
employment and income-generating opportunities for
people experiencing social and economic disadvantage.

To this end, the ADVANCE partners, as individual projects,
created new employment opportunities for the
disadvantaged in the field of new information technologies,



                            29
and as a network, attempted to share this knowledge
through discussion of employment trends and new job
roles. Each partner addressed the need for employment
in a unique way, although there were also common
approaches in the areas of: links with the labour market,
beliefs about IT and empowerment, and commercial
activities.

Links with the labour market

All the projects had developed links with the labour market.
Given that the Institut für Neue Medien trains people to
work as freelancers, their training was geared to filling
small niches in the market. They have close contacts with
major employers and are working with organisations to
help them see the potential for new competencies and
new employees, a process which often takes a good deal
of time.

Similarly, Jungletrommen's project was focused on
creating the need for a new job niche in the labour market,
specifically in the social sector. A key focus of their
training project was the one-year job placement in social
sector organisations which was tied to job creation - as
new competencies were identified, the trainees were given
additional training, with the goal that the trainee/employee
became an indispensable part of the organisation.

The multimedia sector is emerging slowly in Northern
Ireland - the business sector has not yet taken advantage
of the creative energies and talents available. The Nerve
Centre sees part of its core work as developing the
multimedia sector itself. In the short-term, that means
hiring its own trainees and graduates to work on various
multimedia productions. In the long-term, it means building
links with the commercial sector to keep its programs
running and expanding.

Tramlines was geared to addressing a high demand in the
Dublin labour market for high-level IT skills. Because the
core focus of the Ballymun Job Centre is placing its
community members in jobs, the organisation has two
people working full-time with business and numerous other
links with the job market, including an enterprise program
which supports new businesses. A key component of
Tramlines was the creation of a new company to provide
IT training and support services on a commercial basis.



                               30
There was also a one-month work experience for trainees
in the IT commercial sector.

While all the partners recognised the need to have a
dynamic training process in constant evolution, some also
saw a need to provide their trainees with certifications
recognised in the labour market. The core training of the
Tramlines project was the Microsoft Certification Program,
which is recognised by employers but has the
disadvantage of being outside the control of the Ballymun
Job Centre. On the other hand, the Nerve Centre
developed its own program certification - their multimedia
course was certified by the Open College Network. Instead
of following recognised certifications for their trainees, both
Jungletrommen and the Institut für Neue Medien opted
for an ongoing, individualised training process which
responded to specific needs in the labour market.

IT and empowerment

The partners had interesting differences of perspective
regarding the "empowerment" aspect of the new
information and communication technologies. On the one
hand, new technologies can be empowering because they
encourage creativity and development of productions,
creating a dynamic leading to change of the technology
itself. On the other hand, empowerment is related to
employment - having IT skills can assure trainees a job, a
material base and confidence in themselves.

IT can be a tool for becoming integrated into mainstream
society and raising one's social status, given that currently
IT-related employment has a very high status in many
areas of the world. However, there are areas where many
people have lost hope of getting a job, because there are
no jobs, and IT can be useful in those areas for production
of another kind, creative production.

The ADVANCE partners agreed that IT could be
empowering in both ways, by leading to a job and by
providing a tool for creative exploration and production. It
is not the technology, but the use of the technology, which
can be empowering, or not.

IT can also be empowering because of its high status
within youth culture. Computers and IT offer the possibility




                              31
to interest young people in working with something for a
longer period of time than they would normally.

Commercial activities

All the ADVANCE partners develop commercial aspects of
their operations, to take advantage of new opportunities in
the IT sector.

The Institut für Neue Medien, for instance, will be
opening up a multimedia cafe Rostock early in 1998, a
project they have been working on for two years. The
Institut, similar to their ADVANCE partners, have had to
deal with a mix of commercial and social work from very
early on. Simply from a pragmatic perspective, it makes
sense to have the organisation funded from both
government grants and commercial work, so that they
don't become overly dependent on just one source. The
Institut has a general policy to combine the two sources
with any project. The multimedia cafe, for example, is
being run in cooperation with a commercial organisation
which is handling the pub side of the operation, with the
Institut running the cultural side.

Both the Institute and the Nerve Centre run production
companies which are also commercial companies. They
believe it is essential, when addressing social
disadvantage, to have the training schemes linked to real
jobs in the commercial sector.

Similarly, the Ballymun Job Centre and Jungletrommen
both have commercial aspects to their operations.
Jungletrommen is part of a larger network called Centre of
Communication, which has one aspect working on
multimedia productions for the commercial sector. The
Ballymun Job Centre has a registered company,
Tramlines, which offers computer training and support on a
commercial basis, and with a staff of five, including four
Tramlines graduates on a contract basis.

The ADVANCE organisations also believe that having
strong links to the commercial sector, as well as providing
links to potential employment for their trainees, allows their
organisations to be linked to the newest applications of the
technology and to the thinking behind it.

Program process and pedagogy



                             32
The ADVANCE partners were committed to developing
effective pedagogies for training the various target groups
categorised as disadvantaged. This section discusses
learning regarding similarities and differences between
their programs, in the areas of: definitions of
"disadvantaged," the recruitment and selection process,
certification, links with outside training institutions, and
supporting personal development and overcoming
disadvantage.

Different definitions of "disadvantaged"

To begin with, each ADVANCE partner operated with a
different definition of "disadvantaged," according to each
country's interpretation of the EMPLOYMENT Horizon-
Disadvantaged funding criteria. In Germany, the long-term
unemployed are not considered to be "disadvantaged" -
the project focused on finding jobs for Jewish immigrants
with a considerable academic background. In Denmark,
the focus was on building a link between the target group
and Danish people - the target group being immigrants,
defined as people living in Denmark but with a different
national background. In Ireland, the focus was on the
long-term unemployed in Ballymun and those not headed
anywhere promising in the job market. In Northern Ireland,
the focus was on people with creative abilities who could
make an impact in disadvantaged communities after their
training ended.

Recruitment and selection process

Each ADVANCE partner also took a different tack when
recruiting trainees. The Institut für Neue Medien found
that there were only a small number of potential trainees in
Rostock. A meeting was held for members of the target
group. After the meeting, those who were interested
applied, were interviewed, and were selected. There was
a training contract between the Institut für Neue Medien
and the trainees, but the terms of the contract were loose
enough that when a significant number of the trainees
subsequently left the course, it did not prevent them from
doing so. In the Institut's other courses, they have a three-
part selection process: a questionnaire, an interview with
optional portfolio review, and creative exercises. The most
important part is the interview, where they can determine
the applicant's motivation by reviewing past experiences.



                             33
Jungletrommen advertised their EMPLOYMENT Horizon-
Disadvantaged project in the ethnic communities where
the target group lived. It was difficult to find potential
trainees, those who took the initiative to reply.
Jungletrommen found there were cultural factors at work -
men tended to apply for the training course and women
tended to stay home with the children. There were three
women in the first course. Jungletrommen's recruitment
and selection process was developed and enhanced over
time. For the first course, the testing procedure for
applicants focused on comprehension of a topical news
article, feeding it back to the selection team to give an
impression if they were oriented to their surroundings, but
this procedure was later judged not comprehensive
enough. For the second intake, there was a preparatory
phase of about two and a half months, which proved a
better platform for beginning the one-year course.
Jungletrommen spent a good deal of time picking the right
people. The potential trainees were monitored on a daily
basis during the preparatory phase, to assess how the
potential trainees were doing, and whether they were
punctual, involved in group interaction, and interested in
the topics studied. For the third intake, they added a
personal assessment of each student.

The     Ballymun       Job    Centre     advertised      their
EMPLOYMENT Horizon-Disadvantaged programme by
way of a flyer distributed to each household in the
community, and there were hundreds of applicants for only
25 places. The selection process used, in addition to an
interview, the Job Centre's in-house resources for applied
psychometric testing, and a computer aptitude test in a
commercial training organisation.       Although half the
applicants for Tramlines were women, as a group they did
not do well in the aptitude tests. The initial suspicion was
a bias in the testing process, and the project evaluation is
looking at whether there is a correlation between the
aptitude testing scores and scores in the accreditation
exams.

The Nerve Centre received EMPLOYMENT Horizon-
Disadvantaged funding for the transnational management
of ADVANCE, and funding from the Special Support
Programme for Peace and Reconciliation for their
multimedia training course. The course was advertised in
the local media and the applicants were interviewed, but



                             34
there were no aptitude tests. Some trainees were highly
qualified academically at third level, but could not get a job
for various reasons. Some trainees had been using the
multimedia equipment at the Nerve Centre on their own
initiative prior to applying for the programme, and these
applicants were chosen right away as trainees, as their
motivation was evident, especially those who were
travelling distances to use the equipment. However, the
Nerve Centre realised that there are barriers blocking
motivation to use technology creatively, including lack of
access to the technology and for this reason, the Nerve
Centre is bringing the technology to the estates, allowing
access by more marginalised people. The Nerve Centre
has found it more difficult to reach the most marginalised
people with its training programs because they are geared
toward producing high-quality products. Their outreach
and selection process of trainees must go in two directions
at the same time: into the communities (the most
marginalised) and attracting high-quality trainees.

One observation regarding the ADVANCE partner projects
was that the management of all the transnational
programs was predominately male. Regarding trainees,
the percentage of women in some of the training courses
reached half, but in most courses the trainees were mostly
men. This reflects the predominance of men in the
technical professions, such as media production and the
computer industry in general. Exceptionally, the Nerve
Centre runs a training course in cinema festival
management for women only.

Certification

As discussed earlier, the ADVANCE partners took different
approaches to certifying their training programmes.
Tramlines was based on the Microsoft Certifications
Program, which is well-respected by industry and geared
towards high-end employment in the IT sector. The
Ballymun Job Centre believed that sometimes their
course was tied too tightly to certifications, but it did give
the program a central focus, which is very important for
trainees with low self-confidence. There were problems
associated with having a certification program outside of its
control. For instance, mid-way through the training,
Microsoft changed its requirements for the certifications,
forcing Tramlines to shift its own training plans. There
were also questions about whether gearing training



                             35
towards certification in a specific software could lead to
difficulties for the graduates after they enter full-time
employment, but early indications were that their
graduates would be able to adapt quickly to a new
environment. The Ballymun Job Centre now plans, in
parallel with future training in Microsoft Certifications, to
develop its own certifications or achieve certification status
for its own training programmes wherever possible.

The Nerve Centre created their own certifications, with
their multimedia course certified by the Open College
Network. They saw their accreditation system as fluid,
responding to new situations. They found that while it is
very useful to set standards, these can lead to an over-
structured programme. In any case, it is difficult to set
standards for multimedia because so many skills are
involved. In fact, a difficulty they experienced when initially
attempting to gain accreditation was that the academics
unfamiliar with the discipline found it difficult to conceive of
how so many skills could be taught. At the beginning of
training, many of the Nerve Centre's students were not
interested in gaining certification - they were after the
knowledge and skills. As the year progressed, however,
and the certification was approved, they became
interested to acquire it. The Nerve Centre's overall focus
is not certification but rather life-long learning - the learning
never stops.

For the Institut für Neue Medien, the focus of training
was not certification but rather balancing the course
content to ensure the trainees acquired the right
competencies, in a way flexible to their needs.
Certification could be a good addition to a training project,
but certifications must reflect the right content, the right
curriculum. They believed that if it becomes certification
for its own sake, locked into an outmoded content and
curriculum, it would not work. In any case, it would be
impossible to put rigid certifications on the types of courses
they run and the skills they develop.

Empowerment and training

As noted earlier in the section on employment trends, all
the ADVANCE partners believed that training in the new
technologies would be beneficial or even empowering for
the trainees, but they had different ideas about




                               36
empowerment which were reflected in their training
approaches.

For the Nerve Centre, operating in an environment of few
jobs available locally, the benefits of IT do not have to be
job-related. IT can be beneficial and empowering when
linked to creative production, and the Nerve Centre's
training methods focus on tapping and encouraging the
creative potential of the trainees. However, because the
Nerve Centre is also a production centre, they are able to
hire trainees and graduates themselves. Similarly, for the
Institut für Neue Medien, IT can be both a tool for
creative expression and also lead to a job in the media
production field.

To the Ballymun Job Centre, the foundation of
empowerment is employment, and confidence in life
comes through work satisfaction. Their training methods
are rooted in giving the skills needed to acquire and
sustain satisfactory employment in the IT field. Similarly,
for Jungletrommen, IT is a tool for securing a job which
will lead to integration and a raised social status, and their
training methods focus on creating and securing
employment.

Links with outside training institutions

Each of the partners had different levels of links with
mainstream training and educational institutions.         In
Germany, the state runs or oversees all the training
courses - the only choice involved is whether or not to take
the course. The Institut für Neue Medien has found that
universities are weak in the practical areas. Many of the
teachers and lecturers in their area of media production
have lost touch with current techniques and technology
and are not aware of new developments on the ground.

Jungletrommen does all its training itself. They have
contact with state training agencies, with whom they
occasionally cooperate on training programs - for instance,
they are offering courses on the Internet and Web
production through the state agency in 1997. In another
area, Jungletrommen is beginning an Interreg project in
the Baltic area with several universities.

The Nerve Centre has a relationship with three different
departments within their local university, and also good



                              37
relations with the Open College Network, the institution
through which their multimedia training program is
accredited. In general, they find that universities assume
that they can teach skills to the community, rather than
understanding that community people have a lot to give to
the university. Universities tend to see the community as
little people.

The Ballymun Job Centre has good relations with Dublin
City University and with the local Vocational Education
Centre which is running their Online course. Its relations
with the state training agency, FAS, are improving because
there are new openings to work in cooperation through a
changing infrastructure for delivery of training - including
having the Job Centre act as a brokering agent for training.
 The Job Centre believes that a key role of community
training institutions like themselves is to influence the state
institutions, to make them better respond to and meet the
needs of people from disadvantaged areas.

Supporting personal       development      and    overcoming
disadvantage

All the ADVANCE projects were focused on developing the
confidence and skills of the trainees, and the training
methods reflected this focus. Most partners found that it
took time - sometimes a great deal of time - to build the
self-confidence of the trainees, many of whom had
difficulties dealing with their particular experience of
disadvantage.

Jungletrommen found that supporting the personal and
professional development of the trainees took much longer
than originally planned and required extra resources. They
believe that training disadvantaged people to the creative
level must begin by using a process consultant to
strengthen self-confidence.

Each trainee's strong and weak areas were analysed, and
the weak areas were worked on with the trainee.
Overcoming disadvantage - making a significant impact on
the trainees' personal development - is difficult in a short
course. Jungletrommen's short course of 14 weeks was
not as successful as they had hoped because the trainees
were "too damaged" and shouldn't have been in the
course. They also found that funders were generally more
interested in the target group and results rather than the



                              38
content and process of the training. For longer courses,
such as the one-year multicultural course, the process
consultant could only work with the trainees for part of the
time because of the cost. When inspiration and motivation
were dropping, the consultant was called in to lift up the
mood. A psychoanalyst was also called in to help support
some trainees with personal problems.

Jungletrommen found that a contract was necessary to
commit the trainees to take ownership of their own lives - it
was possible to motivate and inspire the trainees but it was
essential that the trainees first accepted the aim of the
course and took the responsibility themselves to follow
through with it.

The multicultural course content focused on producing a
product, which became the basis for assessment - such as
a newsletter or a web page. The courses had a small
number of trainees, and there were resources to put two
trainers in a course if necessary. The trainees were
encouraged to help each other and the quick learners
helped the slow learners.

Jungletrommen found that a good motivating factor was to,
very early in the process, introduce the trainees to the
organisation which would be employing the trainee in the
later job placement phase. This initial introduction was a
one-week job placement; the later phase was a one-year
placement. Having the introduction early allowed the
employer to suggest projects which could be developed
during training.

Jungletrommen also found that strong project coordination
was important, particularly having educational team
meetings once a week to discuss the strengths and
weaknesses of the trainees. This was especially important
in the interim period between courses, to ensure
continuity.

Similar to Jungletrommen, the Institut für Neue Medien
also needed to allocate more resources, such as social
workers and community contacts, to deal with particular
difficulties experienced by their trainees associated with
integration into a new culture and set of values.

The Institut did not learn until it had started the project
about the specific difficulties of the target group, such as



                             39
the drop in status they experienced upon leaving the
former USSR and entering Germany. The trainees, who
ranged in age between 30-50 years, were very anxious at
having only a limited number of years left to earn an
income, and they needed to be reassured they were on
the right course.

The Institut's basic approach to training is to make it
production-oriented. The whole training project was aimed
at products, at results, the things that count in the end.
The end products were need-based, because for the
Institut für Neue Medien, it did not make sense to produce
something which wasn't needed, and it could even be
counter-productive because the trainees would have the
feeling that producing things isn't worth it.

The Institut has found that when people in training courses
become part of a an actual production, it gives the trainees
much more confidence than when they are working on a
simulated production. The production must start with
someone having an idea for a product and then asking for
technical expertise to see the product realised, with the
trainees brought into that process. They see that the
product has a purpose, not a purpose for its own sake but
one with certain social contexts.

For the EMPLOYMENT Horizon-Disadvantaged project,
the Institut für Neue Medien's trainers found it difficult to
deal with people with different motivations but tried to find
a way to engage each trainee and increase the capacity
for learning. They used techniques such as having the
trainees choose work partners to help each other train and
learn, and using small work groups for focused learning. In
work groups, there are no "slow learners," only different
levels of competencies.

The Ballymun Job Centre has many years experience
working with the long-term unemployed and has
developed in-house courses for personal development.
They found their Tramlines Microsoft Certification training
took longer than originally expected, with the trainees not
finishing with the qualifications they originally set out to
gain.

However, the main focus of the project was employment,
and the Job Centre was confident that most if not all the
trainees would find rewarding jobs. In the future, they will



                             40
be much more confident in using aptitude testing to predict
what trainees are capable of and perhaps having classes
geared to different levels of students.

The Job Centre noted that the large class size of 25 made
it difficult to give the same amount of attention to the
trainees as in the other ADVANCE projects.

It was almost a year before most of the trainees began to
believe themselves that they could get a well-paid job -
before that, they were believing the project managers. It
was the trainees' belief in the job which inspired motivation
and confidence.      Motivation to learn was linked to
confidence-building, and pedagogical approaches such as
weekly testing of new skills was important to producing
confidence and encouraging regained confidence in
education.

The Ballymun Job Centre believed the personal financial
package was critical; if the financial allowances had been
lower, there would have been dropouts - all 25 trainees
stayed with the training until the end.

The Job Centre believed there is something about
computer software which is particularly good for training
people with low self-confidence. The trainees learn in
measured steps, with their learning confirmed through
practical exercises and outputs on the computer. However
other ADVANCE partners have criticised this viewpoint for
idealising computers - it is possible to organise a step by
step pedagogy or training program with rewards, in any
discipline.

A problem related to seeing training as solely linked to
getting employment is the similarity to the traditional
educational system approach, in which students who don't
succeed and get a good job are seen as failures.

Similar to the Institut für Neue Medien and
Jungletrommen, the Nerve Centre found that the small
size of their classes was very important, allowing them to
give their trainees individual attention. In contrast to the
other ADVANCE training programs, which needed more
time for personal development, the Nerve Centre found
that the creative atmosphere and focus of their training
resulted in a faster learning process.




                             41
The Nerve Centre's training included working on
commercial productions.          In contrast to the other
ADVANCE projects, some of the Nerve Centre's trainees
don't want "real" jobs - partly because there are few jobs in
Northern Ireland - but would rather explore their creative
energies. As well, the trainees were sometimes more
interested in continuing to do creative work than to get a
job outside the project that might be less creative.

Because its training focuses on developing creative
expression rather than succeeding in a particular training
course, the Nerve Centre found that trainees are not
judged, and judging themselves, according to traditional
notions of success and failure.

In this sense, there were no "slow learners" in the Nerve
Centre's courses, only trainees on different paths. The
concept of slow learners only applies in the traditional
sense of education, where trainers are set up with clear
ideas of success and failure, with slow learners the ones
who are not succeeding. In training for the more creative
aspects of multimedia, such issues do not arise or are
marked out much less clearly. The Nerve Centre would
like to be using more computer-based training materials,
especially in multimedia, so that trainees can learn at
different paces.

Both the Nerve Centre and the Ballymun Job Centre used
the trainees as trainers for various IT training courses and
found that the strategy worked well for building the
trainees' confidence as well as providing valuable work
experience.




                             42
Multiplier Effect

The ADVANCE network and its national projects have had
a significant multiplier effect because they have directly
contributed to the diffusion and learning of new information
and communication technologies in disadvantaged
communities.

ADVANCE productions such as The Virtual Museum of
Colm Cille are now being used in an extensive training
programme for schoolchildren, teachers, and community
and youth groups.

In two of the ADVANCE national projects, the trainees
have themselves become trainers, passing on their skills
and experience to fellow community members, or even to
those outside their communities. Several trainees from the
multimedia course are now involved in training youth and
community groups in the Nerve Centre's Interzone project
in Derry and the women's groups involved in their CANTO
project in Derry, Strabane and Omagh - areas where
creative skills in multimedia are still relatively rare.

Tramlines trainees had an impact on hundreds of
community members, by working on voluntary basis as
trainers with community groups and local schools on a
regular basis. Taking advantage of the availability of the
Tramlines training room, the Ballymun Job Centre also
ran dozens of courses for community members, taught by
Tramlines trainees.

The Tramlines evaluation found that most if not all the
trainees were passing on their computer awareness or
knowledge to family members, by giving informal computer
courses, giving advice about formal computer courses,
encouraging family members to learn computers, engaging
with their children who are learning computers in school,
and making their computers available for use by family
members.

As well, most if not all the trainees were passing on
computer expertise to friends. This included giving advice
to friends purchasing computer equipment for the first
time, helping with computer problems, encouraging friends
to go on computer courses and buy computers, and giving
professional advice to friends opening up a new retail
business. There has also been a wider impact on the



                            43
circle of relatives and acquaintances surrounding the
household where the Tramlines trainee is living. Friends of
the family, distant relations and friends of friends regularly
contact the trainees for information, advice and support
around computers.

As well as computer advice, Tramlines trainees have had
an impact on friends, family and the wider circle by way of
example, as one trainee explained:

"My family now have seen me come through Tramlines
      and can see the potential in me, but they can also
      see the potential in themselves - by spending a
      year of their lives dedicated to one specific task and
      then reaping the benefits, rather than sitting around
      waiting for the winter to be over, and for the
      summer to begin again."

Finally, it terms of the innovatory aspects of ADVANCE
acting as a model for other projects, it is instructive to note
that the Tramlines model has been taken up by two other
community organisations in Ireland (in Dundalk and
Leitrim) and is being developed by others in Ireland,
Northern Ireland and Scotland.




                              44
Dissemination

The primary dissemination tool for ADVANCE remains the
Web page (www.nerve-centre.org.uk) which continues to
showcase the work of the partners.

ADVANCE has been involved and implicated in many
dissemination activities contributing to diffusing the
experience and innovatory aspects of the project to a more
mainstream audience as well as to specialists and policy
makers.

Regarding the latter, in a significant development in
Ireland, the National Economic and Social Forum - the
statutory agency with the specific brief to monitor initiatives
undertaken by the social partners with regard to social
exclusion and unemployment - recognised the value of
Tramlines when it highlighted the project as an example of
a tailored training initiative to address long-term
unemployment. In their report, the NESF suggested that
this approach to training can be mainstreamed in national
labour market policy. (The NESF report is: Partnership
2000: Targeted Employment and Training Measures.
Forum Opinion No. 2. November 1997.)

The ADVANCE partners were represented at a key policy
conference dealing with the Information Society and
employment, the "People First" conference in Dublin in
October 1996, which launched the EU Green Paper on
Challenges of Living and Working in the European
Information Society.

Jungletrommen was asked by EUROPS in Brussels to
write an article about the results of their national
programme, "The Multicultural Communication Assistant;"
the article was completed in early 1998.

ADVANCE was also featured in a 1998 article in the book,
Getting Connected: Social Inclusion and the Information
Society, published by WRC Social and Economic
Consultants, Dublin, the Coordinating Structure for the
EMPLOYMENT Initiative in Ireland. The book launch
featured a presentation by the Irish Minister for Trade and
Employment, and a live videoconference presentation by
the EU Social Affairs Commissioner in Brussels, both of
whom commented positively on the initiatives discussed in




                              45
the publication as positive examples of promoting social
inclusion in the Information Society.

Other diffusion activities with policy implications include
strong participation at the EMPLOYMENT Integra
conference in Barcelona in October 1997, where the
ADVANCE network received very good exposure,
including a full page in the conference brochure. At the
Integra conference, ADVANCE held a workshop which
stimulated a good deal of discussion and debate.

The ADVANCE coordinator also made a presentation
about ADVANCE to a meeting of all the Northern Ireland
EMPLOYMENT projects, in June 1996.

The partners hosted numerous visits by policy makers to
their national projects, including, for example, the Danish
Minister of Labour to Jungletrommen in 1997; and the EU
Commissioner for DG V, the Irish Minister for Employment
and Enterprise, and the Minister of State for Science and
Technology to Tramlines in 1996 and 1997.

The partners also participated in many conferences on a
local and national level at which they discussed their
innovative work with new information and communication
technologies and disadvantaged communities.               For
instance, in March 1997, Jungletrommen participated in a
conference of the City Council in South Warlk, and in
December 1997 in a conference organised by STEBO in
Utrecht. On both occasions, they gave a presentation of
their projects, including their experiences and results within
the framework of ADVANCE cooperation.

The partners will continue to draw on their ADVANCE
experience at future conference presentations, such as the
Nerve Centre's participation at a digital arts conference in
Portsmouth in March 1998. The Portsmouth conference
follows on from a 1997 study by Comedia on the Social
Impact of the Digital Arts. In particular, it focuses on issues
raised in the report which analysed the social impact of
new technology when used in the arts. In that report, the
Nerve Centre was one of the models considered and their
Colm Cille and Cu Chulainn projects were featured.

There were numerous media dissemination activities of the
ADVANCE national projects. For example, the Tramline
project was featured positively in articles in the three major



                              46
Irish national newspapers; the US national newspaper
USA Today; the local press; and in-house publications by
IBM and Microsoft.

The ADVANCE Web site was featured in a television
programme on the Internet show in Dublin, November
1997, broadcast nationally in Ireland on RTE 1.

The partners also hosted numerous visits to their training
projects by representatives of community and voluntary
organisations, private sector organisations, and state and
semi-state bodies, including state training agencies, who
were interested to see the innovative projects in person.

A final significant development regarding both diffusion
and multiplier effect is the public recognition of the role of
the Nerve Centre in raising the profile of the entire
multimedia sector in Northern Ireland. In November 1997,
the Nerve Centre received a regional and national training
provider award from the Training and Employment Agency
and a special award from LEDU for developing the new
multimedia market place.




                             47
Conclusions

For the ADVANCE partners, the most important outcome
of the network was its ability to support and build
partnerships. For the partners working on multimedia
productions, the ADVANCE network supported the
development of a solid body of productions; for all the
partners, the exchange of people, competencies and
technical support through ADVANCE was critical to their
own development.

Specific outcomes of the ADVANCE network were:
development of trainees and trainers through successful
transnational exchange of expertise and training;
transnational development of knowledge regarding using
the new information and communication technologies to
address unemployment and disadvantage; and joint
production, in particular the ADVANCE Web page.

ADVANCE incorporated a European dimension in all the
national projects, through the existence of the Web page,
but particularly through exchanges of trainers and trainees.
 The exchanges raised the general level of awareness and
confidence among the participants regarding other EU
member-states.

In this context, ADVANCE was successful in meeting its
overall aim of transnational cooperation and exchange of
training and expertise.

Between two partners in particular, the Nerve Centre and
the Institut für Neue Medien, the ADVANCE network
presented a significant opportunity for developing their
expertise of the technologies used in multimedia
productions.

In addition, Jungletrommen received training in Internet
technologies which proved useful to the organisation and
to the individual trainers. The Ballymun Job Centre made
valuable contacts which it plans to develop in the future,
and their trainees experienced an invaluable cultural
exchange.

The jointly-developed ADVANCE Web page remains a
significant showcase for the work of ADVANCE which can
be used by the partners in the future. The productions
showcased on the site - in particular the Virtual Museum of



                            48
Colm Cille, with its elements of joint transnational
production - have a multiplier effect because they provide
other community-based organisations with innovative
examples of using the new information and communication
technologies in training and production.

The most important joint learning outcome of ADVANCE
regarded the use of the WorldWide Web as a means of
information and communication exchange.                  The
ADVANCE experience found that a Web page can be very
useful for some forms of information exchange and joint
production, but the technology will not be of any significant
value for general communication and information
exchange among all partners without a significant effort in
this regard and a strong desire to communicate.

Underlying the communication difficulties within the
ADVANCE network were the different philosophical
outlooks of the partners, although this difference was
never constructively explored or addressed. It is clear
from the discussions which took place at ADVANCE
project management meetings that there were significant
differences in approach and outlook among the partners,
but also that there were many similarities.

A general problem, not only with EU policy on the
"information society" but also with national and regional
policies and initiatives - including EMPLOYMENT Horizon-
Disadvantaged and Integra Initiatives which stress the
value of Internet communications - is that the focus is
primarily on the technology itself and not how it is used.
As one ADVANCE partner described: "It's on the pot and
not on the soup."

Current EU policies and initiatives place too little stress on
developing good information and cultural content for
specific needs, which technologies such as the Internet
and multimedia can then be used to develop or deliver. In
future EU programmes, the focus should be put more on
the concepts and contents and less on the technologies
themselves.

Along these lines, three ADVANCE partners, the Nerve
Centre, the Institut für Neue Medien, and the Ballymun Job
Centre, are currently working on their next transnational
partnership, the DREAM project, which uses Web
technology to develop the content of joint productions. In



                             49
the DREAM project, certain projects need the Web page
as part of the production process.

Although content should be the primary focus, there still
remain technical questions to be addressed. The fact that
not all ADVANCE partners had the same degree of access
to the Internet was significant and hampered Internet-
based communications for the project as a whole.

Another key challenge for the ADVANCE network's use of
the new technologies was the early loss of its university-
based technical support structure. This loss may have
contributed to early floundering around the Web page
project, and almost certainly if the technical support had
been there, the ADVANCE network could have developed
more activities and projects based on the expertise they
had to offer. It likely that the early expectations of partners
regarding joint multimedia productions were based on
having solid technical support, and when this support
disappeared, the productions did not materialise, and
expectations were not met, a dynamic was created which
may have contributed to ambivalent or negative feelings
about the project. However, the ADVANCE network, and
particularly the Nerve Centre, responded to the situation by
speeding up the development of their own in-house
capacities for using multimedia and the Web, and this was
a positive outcome.

Despite the difficulties, all the ADVANCE partners gained
valuable experience using Web pages and Internet email
for communication, which again, will be useful for future
transnational projects as well as for local, regional or
national production and communications. Jungletrommen
provided training materials in the form of an Internet
course which could be used in the future by the ADVANCE
partners, and it remains on the internal section of the
home page.

There was a significant multiplier effect of trainees from
two of the partners going on to become trainers of people
from disadvantaged areas; for example, Tramlines
trainees were trainers for dozens of IT courses for people
from Ballymun. The trainees also contributed significantly
to the use of IT in the community, and as role models, to
the general raising of expectations for the future.




                              50
The most obvious and significant impact of ADVANCE on
the sponsoring organisations was gaining two years'
experience with working in transnational networks. All will
be able to put this knowledge to use because all partners
were funded for further projects with EU programmes
requiring transnational partners, although not all through
EMPLOYMENT Integra. In this sense alone, ADVANCE
was an important and worthwhile experience. The
ADVANCE partners established solid and long-term links
and have continued to use the network informally for
referrals and advice.

Other significant learning experiences included the project
managers' meetings, which involved exchanges of
information and development of expertise on common
approaches to training and pedagogy. Although this
common knowledge - on issues such as employment and
new job roles, the recruitment and selection process for
training programmes, certification, and supporting personal
development and overcoming disadvantage - was never
developed coherently for the ADVANCE network as a
whole, it did help the individual partners in their own
national work on these issues.

A central concern of the ADVANCE partners remains
finding ways to increase access of socially marginalised
groups and people from disadvantaged communities to
secure well-paid employment using the new information
and communication technologies, and each will continue to
develop this area now that the ADVANCE project is
finished.

In this regard, it is significant that the ADVANCE
experience has been widely disseminated at the policy
level as well as within the community of practitioners
working with the new technologies in areas of
disadvantage. The ADVANCE Web page continues to be
a significant tool to share the lessons learned by the
network and to engage viewers with examples of
multimedia design and production.

A final observation is that the ADVANCE network
represented organisations committed to forging and
developing partnerships not only with each other but also
with state, semi-state and private sector players in the IT
and training fields. These organisations need to be
supported so they may continue to develop a framework



                            51
which will move people from disadvantaged communities
into a more central and active role in their communities
and our collective future.




                          52

								
To top