The Co-operative College hosts IRENE.T transnational conference

IRENET ConferenceThe Co-operative College recently hosted an important conference as part of a European Social Enterprise project it is involved in. Fifteen partners attended from Italy, Spain, Greece, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Poland, Slovenia and the UK.

The IRENE.T Project is financed by the European Commission under the Lifelong Learning Programme and its European conference was entitled IRENE.T Network Perspectives and Ambitions. It hosted debates about the issues, needs and perspectives of Vocational Education and Training for the Third Sector in Europe and the opportunity to setup a European Network.

IRENET Transnational Conference

Project manager Lorenzo Corona said the IRENE.T network aims to “share information on a European-wide basis by working for the increased interaction between EU Social Enterprises and Training Entities”. The IRENE.T deputy Coordinator, Lorenzo Scirocco, commented that: “Driven by increased Eurpeanisation, the Third Sector is moving towards a higher level of training and will seize the opportunities to implement and exchange good practice. This is the big challenge the IRENE.T Project faces.

The conference heard presentations and speeches by Joan Keysell, Member and Director Learning Manager for the Co-operative Group, and Britta Werner from Unicorn Worker Co-operative. Chris Dabbs, Chief Executive of Unlimited Potential, Salford, provided a wide range of learning scenarios from the co-operative and social enterprise world in UK, sharing experiences of learning and development within small, medium and large organisations. The speakers agreed about the importance of training for the Third Sector, and shared examples of how this was implemented in both formal and informal ways. This was followed by dynamic case studies from Italy and Sweden, which shared valuable information and case study analysis about training for the Third Sector in both the South and North of Europe.

The IRENE.T Network is currently working towards a common framework for the identification of good practice within Vocational Education and Training (VET) for Social Enterprises and the setting-up of a catalogue of these on the IRENE.T website.

To accomplish this challenging task, the IRENE.T project opens its doors not only to Social Enterprises, VET institutions, public bodies, schools and universities, but also to voluntary organisations, employees, social workers, social policies experts, sociologists and psychologists who are interested in the Third Sector. This will provide many useful insights and the website is free to all.

The next IRENE.T transnational meeting will be hosted in Copenhagen in November 2010. In the meantime partners will keep on working on the project to build the IRENE.T Network through the website.

For further information please contact: Chris Cooper at

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