FAQ about the Starter


Why so long?

Many ESNers complain that the event is too long for them to take off from university or work, and therefore cannot attend the event, which we know and understand, however, this is not just a regular ESN event or a simple training. The Starter is a basic training for trainers event, which empowers its participants to learn how to design and deliver quality workshops, gives them expertise on a chosen topic and allows all participants to practice, while also giving space to personal development. These are a lot of things to achieve in only 8 days! The programme is packed from 9 am - 6 pm, and the evenings are filled with reflection group time and social programmes.

It’s better not to compare the Eduk8 Starter to other ESN events or training, but rather other international training for trainer events. To have a comparison, we share with you the lengths of some other similar training events outside of ESN:

  • SALTO Youth Training for Trainers: 1 year, including 3x10 days seminar, 1x7 days practice project and online learning elements (approx. 57 days in total)

  • Council of Europe Training for Trainers: 7 days + 6 months e-learning (4 hours per week)

  • AEGEE Training of Trainers: 6 days

  • European Federation for Intercultural Learning: 10 days

  • EFPSA Training for Trainers: 7 days

  • YEU Training for Trainers: 7 days

Why so expensive?

One of the common critiques of Eduk8 events are the costs. The Starter usually costs around 200 EUR per person. In the name of transparency and to help understand the reason for the higher fees, we’re sharing the cost breakdown.

  • Accommodation: 70 EUR for 9 nights

  • Meals: 50 EUR for 9 breakfasts, lunches, dinners + 16 coffee breaks

  • Training material: 10 EUR contribution for materials used in the training

  • Trainers travel costs: 20 EUR contribution to the travel costs of the trainers (each trainer gets reimbursed up to 200 EUR for their travel costs).

  • External trainer fees: 40 EUR contribution (Eduk8 trainers don’t get paid, but when we invite external trainers to bring their expertise to our network, we pay them a daily fee of 100 EUR, which is below the European standard of 280 EUR per day, but is already a very big expense for the ESN network). However, we have found it extremely valuable to have external input to our training and therefore decided it’s worth the cost as it raises the quality of our events.

  • Other costs: 10 EUR (can be gadgets, costs of social activities, pick-up service, safety fund, etc.)

Please note that this is an example break-down and not the exact budget, as it differs year-to-year, depending on the venue, the OC, the cooperations, potential funding support.

To provide a little bit of comparison, we listed the costs of other training for trainers events outside of ESN:

  • SALTO Youth: the National Agency for Erasmus+ pays the fee for the participants, which has the value of 10.000 EUR. Note that only 1 or 2 people per country are selected annually and it’s extremely competitive in most countries, and require prior training experience to participate.

  • AEGEE Training of Trainers: 100 EUR

  • European Federation for Intercultural Learning: 350 EUR

  • EFPSA Training for Trainers: 100 EUR

  • YEU Training for Trainers: fully funded from European grants for 20 participants from certain countries

Please note that ALL of the above events take up to 20-25 participants in total. In order to be able to have more participants at our events, we need bigger venues, more training rooms, more material, and most importantly more trainers.

How do you select participants?

We’ve heard time and time again that Eduk8 is too exclusive and the selection process is unclear. We take pride in our very well developed and fair selection process which is shared with all participants who apply, nonetheless we thought it’s best to make it available for anyone who is interested.

First and foremost, let us make something clear: we usually have between 100-120 applications and up to 40 spots available, which makes the Starter an extremely competitive event.

To apply for the Starter, one needs to submit 3 things: an application in ERS (with basic data), fill in the application form and send a video explaining one’s motivation.

Eduk8 has an Advisory Team which consists of 6 experienced Eduk8 members (trainers or facilitators). Each application round is assessed by 2 members of the advisory team, usually by those who have already been trainers to the specific event before.

Every single application is assessed individually by the two assessors, who individually rate the applications and put them into one of three categories: absolute yes, maybe and no. After both assessments have been made, the assessors consult, discuss and create the final list of participants, as well as set up a waiting list.

The assessors look at the following criteria when selecting participants:

  • Prior experience in NFE is desirable: we cannot start training trainers who have never experienced non-formal education before. We need a solid basis to work with - this will raise the quality of trainers we produce on the short term.

  • Those who have attended another Eduk8 event get priority (because they understand already what we are all about, and because we already know them and know about their potential).  

  • Motivation matters a LOT! If an application is very short or the motivation video is not convincing, the applicant will likely be rejected. We’re looking for people who really want this path.

  • Future in ESN is necessary: We are here to empower the network, after all. We get a lot of Alumni applications, but if we see that the person is not likely to stick around the network, the application might get rejected, even if the content was great. We try to keep a good balance of 2/3 active members or newbies and 1/3 alumni max.

  • Speaking fluent English is a must. The video applications help us assess this much better than before. There’s no way around this: this is an international training for trainers event and it’s simply necessary to understand and be able to express oneself in English. There are many national Training for Trainers (often organised by the National Youth Council or the National Agency) for those who are interested in developing themselves but don’t have the necessary level of English. Let us know if you need help searching for a national event in your country, we might be able to help.

  • Country balance: this is very, very important. We’re a network of 39 countries, and the Starter has only 40 spots. This means that if we want at least 1 person from each country, we can only accept 1-2 people from each. Over the years we have developed a system which helps us determine which countries should have priority when selecting. This means that when we have 0 or close to none Eduk8ers in a given country, more applications will be accepted, whereas when we have a lot of Eduk8ers in a country, we might accept only 1 participant each year. This means that all applicants compete first with the candidates of their same country. This also means that sometimes really strong applicants cannot be selected, simply because we cannot accept more people from their country, and they had an even stronger applicant. On the other side, we sometimes accept less strong applications coming from countries without Eduk8 presence, simply because we need to start building somewhere. NRs can help update our priority list by getting in touch with the Eduk8 Community Manager and discussing what would be an ideal number of Eduk8 trained ESNers in their country. This way we can focus on the countries that truly need to build their national pools.

  • We do look at gender, but it’s not a very big factor. We’ve always received 2 times more applications from girls than boys, and this is usually reflected in the final balance. When two similar level applications compete, we will prioritise the one from the least representative gender, but otherwise this will not mean any difference in the applications.

Once the selection is done, all applicants are informed about the decision. Those without prior NFE experience will be recommended to attend another Eduk8 event first, while others might be simply rejected or put on a waiting list. At this stage, no individual feedback is given, although whenever it’s been asked, we’ve always answered, so do not hesitate to reach out if you’re uncertain! Once there is a cancellation, the assessors will decide on whom to contact from the waiting list: usually we first try to fill the spot from the same country, and if there’s no one else from the same country on the waiting list, then the strongest application from another priority country will get in.

Any other questions about the selection process? Do not hesitate to get in touch with your questions or concerns. We are also happy to further improve our system to be more fair and inclusive, please drop us an email with your suggestion.

Who will be the trainers?

Usually Eduk8 Starters have two parallel tracks. Each track is led by two trainers: an Eduk8 trainer and an external trainer. The four trainers work together from preparation to follow-up and the two tracks are receiving the exact same content. Eduk8 trainers have several years of experience in training in and out of Eduk8, you could have met them before delivering at Autumn or Spring Trainings. Often (but not always) this is their first training for trainers event as a trainer, but they have extensive experience in training other topics. The external trainers have long-lasting experiences in training and coaching, running both training for trainers and have experience in the theme of the training. They are active trainers in other European or international NGOs. The external trainers also support the Eduk8 trainers during the process, but all trainers are equal. The training coordinator (one of the external trainers who usually has delivered other Eduk8 trainings before) coordinates the work of all 4 trainers and ensures the process runs smoothly and the quality is kept. The names and experiences of the trainers who run the next training will be advertised closer to the event.

Why the topic?

Each year the Eduk8 Starter is dedicated to a topic. This topic is explored during the event, giving the chance for participants to familiarise themselves with the topic and gain experience designing and delivering workshops on that given topic. When a grant is financially supporting the event, the topic is decided based on grant priorities. The main topic of Eduk8 lifecycle 2020 is intercultural dialogue for international cooperation, meaning that the Eduk8 Starter will serve as a basic training on the topic of intercultural dialogue and differences between cultures, where the participants will define intercultural dialogue and develop theoretical knowledge in this area. They will learn more about an intercultural understanding with emphasis on cultural inclusiveness on global scale as well as on intercultural communication.

What if you really don’t care about the topic?
It shouldn’t stop you from applying. The focus of the training can be divided as such:

  • Designing and delivering quality workshops 55%

  • Personal development: 20%

  • Theme of the year: 15%

  • Other (social programme, team building, etc): 10%

What is the Eduk8 Starter really about?

The event is a basic training for trainers, mainly empowering participants to design and deliver quality workshops: this means we equip participants with basic learning theories, models, and structures to develop workshops on any topic they would like. We also work on competences which allow them to be better at delivering: working on communication and presentation skills, leading groups and managing group dynamics, and working in teams, etc. Participants get a basic understanding of the principles of non-formal education, and will be able to more consciously design their workshops with better learning outcomes. We also work on the culture of feedback, which is essential when designing learning activities.

What can you use this knowledge for?

  • Well, obviously, designing and delivering workshops

  • Understand how you learn best

  • Enhance team work in your section or organisation

  • Improve knowledge transfer in your section or organisation

  • Be better at giving and receiving feedback

  • Learn to develop yourself (life-long learning, right?)

  • Develop certain skills that can help you in your everyday life (like public speaking or leadership)

Now, does this mean that every single participant of the Starter will become a superstar workshop holder?

Unfortunately, no. Why’s that, you ask?

We all learned a bunch of theories back in high school. Does this mean we can apply them on a daily basis in our lives? Heck, no. We forgot plenty of it since then (if not all). Just because somebody is teaching you something, doesn’t mean learning happens. We do give participants theories, models, structures to work with, but it doesn’t mean they will and we can never assure it. We can do activities that work on certain skills or attitudes, but again, it’s not ensured that change will be done.

Training, when done well, can seem effortless and fun: it can easily feel like everybody would be capable of doing it. But in the end, training is just like any other profession: it’s not for everyone. Just because you participated in a language course doesn’t mean you can teach the language. The same applies for training: just because you participate in a training, doesn’t mean you can be a trainer. There’s a long path for that. We start with the basics at the Starter. You need certain skills, attitudes and knowledge to be able to design and deliver quality workshops. During the Starter we work on all of these, but in 8 days and 40 participants we cannot offer individualised support or personal coaching (that does happen at the Forward though!), so we work with what we’ve got: the more experienced and skilled participants are before coming to the Starter, the higher quality Eduk8ers we will have. We can’t do miracles in 8 days, therefore we cannot completely change social competences of people. Those with more experience or a born with ability for working with others, teaching or communication skills will have better results, while others might struggle. Nonetheless, through our selective application system we aim to find the best fits for the Starter.

So who is the Eduk8 Starter for?

We’re looking for people who are eager to develop themselves, with prior experience in non-formal education (by participating in other workshops or trainings, in or out of ESN), and with interest in developing their competences in designing and delivering quality workshops. We particularly are looking for people who plan on sticking around ESN for a while to give back to the network what they’ve learned at the Starter. Fluent English is a must. Social skills are helpful - being afraid in front of an audience will likely be a problem when facilitating workshops. We are trying to recruit people who will likely be active in the Eduk8 community: who are motivated to go through the lifecycle to become trainers (by delivering at the Academy and Seasonal Trainings, participating at the Forward, mentoring at other events, etc). The Eduk8 Starter is not a leadership training and is not for people who would like to have a more political career in ESN. It’s mainly a space for education enthusiasts, those who want to become trainers. We happily welcome people who already have experience in delivering workshops but want to have a framework and a structure they can work with to improve the quality of their work. At the same time we also look for beginners without any experience in training or teaching, but with an eagerness to help others learn and grow. Those who have a position in ESN (or are aiming for a position) which allows them to hold workshops on a regular basis are especially encouraged to join.

Will I become a trainer after the Starter?

No, it’s not that easy. Once you successfully finish the Starter (meaning you actively participate in the whole duration without missing any of the sessions - yes, we’re strict), you get a certificate of attendance, but you won’t yet become an Eduk8er. Each participant is required to design and deliver one workshop as a follow-up to the Starter, send a report about it and apply for the pool of Eduk8ers. Once your application is approved, you will become member of the Eduk8 Community (yay!), as an Eduk8er. Eduk8ers are people who attended a basic training for trainers and have basic understanding of workshop design and delivery. From here on you have access to the members of the whole Eduk8 community (we help each other, give feedback on each others’ work, share resources, etc.). You will get a lot of opportunities to deliver workshops or attend training events to further develop yourself. Check out our page about the Eduk8 Lifecycle on how you can grow further and become an Eduk8 trainer, if you’re interested.

I’m a trainer already and I don’t need the Starter. Can I join Eduk8 without attending it?

Hey, good to know you’re out there! We’d love to have you. But before we get there, here’s a few questions to consider:

  • Have you ever attended a training for trainers event that was longer than 6 full training days?

    • No: You should join the Starter (shorter than this will have likely covered much less content than the Starter, therefore we recommend filling in the gaps before joining Eduk8)

    • Yes: Great! Read further!

  • Do you have experience in delivering workshops or training events longer than 90 min?

    • No: Well, then what are we talking about here? Join us at the Starter, it will be fun!

    • Yes: Great! Read further!

  • Do you have experience in designing workshops from scratch?

    • No: You should join the Starter to learn the basics. It’s not enough to deliver workshops that other people have designed, it’s also important to know how to design your own with clear learning objectives.

    • Yes: Great! Read further!

  • Do you possess all the competences required of Eduk8ers (check out the Eduk8 competence checklist, available on wiki)?

    • No: The Starter will help you develop your skills, attitudes and knowledge in the areas necessary for quality workshop holders.

    • Yes: Fantastic! Where have you been hiding all along?

If you answered all four questions with a YES, please get in touch with the Eduk8 team and inquire about the possibility of joining our community. They might ask proof of the following:

  • Training for trainers attended, including certificate and programme/report of the event

  • Training session outline and a small report of a workshop you designed and delivered

  • Proof of possessing the competences of Eduk8ers (by filling in a survey)

Should the team decide you do possess all necessary qualifications, you will be invited to join the Eduk8 community. Note that even if you have all the competences and are eligible, the Starter has been a crowd-favorite event and even those with prior experience have enjoyed it. Therefore do consider joining if you can, it is the best way to really integrate in the community.