What is the rationale of this project, in terms of objectives pursued and needs and target groups to be addressed? Why should this project be carried out transnationally?

The objective of the project is to help third-sector employers, employees and educational organisations that train professionals in the field to identify future skills needs in the third sector and to align their activities strategically. The main target groups are volunteer managers and coordinators and other professionals working with volunteers. The project aims to increase information about their educational paths, qualifications and careers, and to observe skills needs in the sector in the future to help stakeholders in the field prepare. Additionally, as a result of this project European third-sector organisations will be able to use the information produced in the project in their international activities.

All over Europe a need for greater professionalisation in the third sector has been emerging, and will grow as organisations in the field and also their volunteers are taking up a greater share of public services than before. At the same time, the educational and career paths of professionals who manage and supervise volunteers are highly varied both within EU member States and even more so between countries. These factors make strategic knowledge management in the third sector highly difficult. By engaging many stakeholders, experts and futurologists, the FUTUR3 project is set up with the aim to address these needs. Through its envisioned peer learning activities, the project also wishes to offer a model through which local voluntary and other organizations can do foresight activities for local collaboration and capacity-building.

A cross-national benchmarking exercise requires a transnational project in order to ensure insight, cultural sensitivity and effective dissemination.

The concrete aims of the project are: 1) to provide information about the educational paths, qualifications and careers of third sector employees in ten countries through a benchmarking report, which also includes an overview of future skills needs in the sector throughout Europe; 2) To develop a functioning peer learning course for locally based third sector employees to help them identify skills gaps and needs and to collaborate locally and independently for joint capacity-building; 3) bring employers and employees in the sector together through 4-6 European webinars, which also serve as a testing ground for the products.