Last month Amanda and Angela took a trip to Italy to deliver co-operative training as part of our work on the CoopStarter 2.0 project. Read all about what they got up to in Amanda's latest blog.

This week Angela and I travelled to perhaps the most stunning location we have ever delivered training, the eco village of Torri Superiore in a valley above Ventimiglia in Italy, which is itself a co-operative. The CoopStarter 2.0 training was 3 days of intensive and focused work with a group of 12 participants from France, Belgium, Italy, Denmark, Greece, Spain and Estonia.

On the first evening we were given a talk on the history of the village, dating from the 13th century, and the more recent efforts of the co-operative association to restore it to its former glory. The parts of the village that are not private housing are run as a co-operative tourism business, hosting individual guests as well as groups, training and events.

The venue had just hosted a wedding, and so we benefited from a bit of additional decoration and bunting left over from the wedding celebrations. The village itself was a ruin 30 years ago, and has gradually been brought back to life to become a thriving community space. One of the most important roles of the village is that, unlike its near neighbours, most of the residents have jobs on site, which means that the valley is more than a dormitory for people working in the coastal towns.

Delivering the training

The whole point of the training was to show people co-operative learning in action by making it as participatory as possible, relying heavily on peer-to-peer learning and knowledge and skill-sharing between all of the participants. We used as many of the tools in the CoopStarter 2.0 resources as possible as this was an excellent opportunity to try out the training materials and to show in practice how to adapt the training for the audience and keep the training dynamic and engaging.

The training covered co-operative training methods and different learning styles to help participants understand how to create and use learning materials and methods suitable for all learners and how to make sure everybody’s preferences are considered. The main focus of the training was to introduce people to the CoopStarter 2.0 mentorship programme that will be rolled out in 2019 and to prepare mentors and those supporting mentors to start action planning for the launch of the practical part of the project.  

The group worked really hard for the full 3 days using the tools and methods designed to support the mentors, particularly to come up with ideas for recruiting, upskilling and supporting ambassadors to run the 3 events that form the central part of the CoopStarter 2.0 project. Through this project, mentors will support young ambassadors to rally a community of people around their co-operative idea, working co-operatively to set up a group and get their business ideas off the ground.

Read more about our involvement in the CoopStarter 2.0 project via the button below

Information about CoopStarter 2.0