Wadowice, POLAND / http://est.edu.pl

EST was set up in 1994 as a lifelong learning centre. In 2003 we developed our first EU project (Minerva Action under Socrates Programme) in the field of intercultural communication facilitated by digital media which opened a new field of European cooperation. Since then the centre has participated in many European initiatives spanning the fields of adult education (Grundtvig partnerships and multilateral projects), vocational training (Leonardo da Vinci partnerships, multilateral and TOI projects) and youth work (ESF and Erasmus+ projects). As a result, the courses currently offered by us cover a wide range of skills and competencies including foreign languages, intercultural communication and support in intercultural issues, ICT and entrepreneurship. The courses are designed in response to the current needs of the community, attracting learners from across the region.

In March 2015 we set up Foundation Education Centre EST within the centre to take over all new community-oriented and not-for-profit initiatives financed by public money. Accordingly, in legal terms the applicant is a relatively new entity, still drawing on all the human and organisational capital of the Lifelong Learning Centre since 1994.

For over 15 years we have been undertaking a number of initiatives towards developing IT skills, especially among young people. Our experience in European cooperation in this field goes back to 2003 when we developed our first EU proposal. The project was called Animated Debate and experimented with digital animations as a way to facilitate communication of young people from different countries and speaking different languages. The project (under Socrates) was highly successful and we were awarded first prize in nationwide competition ‘ICT in Education’.

Thanks to the European Social Fund projects contracted since 2005 we were able to finance support to young people disadvantaged for various reasons. These projects focused on key competencies needed for employment and also included ICT skills. In two of them we organized computer courses. We set up a local European Computer Driving Licence Examination Centre to offer certification of digital skills to our participants.

Since 2015 we have been running in our Centre the first maker space in our region to support all the coding and STEAM initiatives for children, youth and adults. To make it more effective, we have been collaborating with primary and secondary schools from the region and the Town Cultural Centre. On the present stage we are running the Computer and 3D Modelling and Printing Laboratories, especially for young programmers, designers, engineers and artists.