Access Angels

Local volunteers can play a vital role in supporting visitors to rural areas by meeting and greeting the tourists, providing information and offering practical assistance in a friendly, welcoming and competent way.

Whether a visitor is looking for a walk in the countryside, a trip to the beach or attending an open air festival, well-trained volunteers are able to make the difference between taking a risky gamble in unknown surroundings or having an enjoyable, uplifting experience that can give the visitor happy memories for a whole lifetime.

Join us in Brussels for a first-hand introduction to Access Angels, where we will share with you the secrets of success in volunteer training supporting visitors in accessible tourism destinations.

The conference will describe training techniques based on the learning and skills requirements for accessible, inclusive tourism services, regional tourist boards, tourism businesses, trainers and – of course, volunteers themselves.

Date: Friday 21st September 2018, from 10:00 to 13:15 hours, followed by a sandwich lunch.

Venue: BTC Belgian Development Agency, "Espace Jacqmotte", Rue Haute 139. 1000 Brussels, Belgium

Main topics:

• The contribution of Volunteering to the tourism sector;

• Learning and training Volunteers in rural tourism settings;

• Developing rural tourism products and offerings for the accessible tourism market;

• Managing Accessible Tourism Destinations.

Languages: English

Registration is FREE of charge but Obligatory. Closing date: Monday 17 September 2018.

Online registration form:

Please note that all costs related to travel and accommodation are the responsibility of the participant.


Accessible Angels is a competence based service acquired through a VET curriculum enhanced by the incorporation of the social values of volunteerism, active citizenship and inclusiveness. Its quality is further assured by Vocational Competence Certificate (VCC) to certify the VET trainers participating in the planned training activity. The VCC training system creates new job opportunities for those who collect evidence of their qualifications within the VCC vocational development system. Its aim is to meet employers' needs and expectations about potential job candidates and effective employment by developing training paths and VCC certification process. Due to rapid changes in the labour market, continuing education and training (CVET) gives each individual the possibility to gain new skills and competences (of any type) to increase chances on labour market.

The inclusiveness of the disabled requires a change of attitude which can only emerge through education. AccessAngels fosters inclusive travel for the disabled through the contribution of youth. It offers youth a certified by VCC skill to service their disadvantaged fellow Europeans, a vivid act of active citizenship

Europe is picking up its pieces from a severe economic and financial crisis. Unemployment rates reached 21.4% in 2014 (Eurostat) among young people. It is evident that Europe has to become smarter, more sustainable and more inclusive. More flexible, high quality education and training systems are required. A relatively high percentage of the age group of 18-24 continues to leave education and training to remain unqualified.

Under these circumstances, Europe’s 2020 vision for VET, calls for a more attractive, relevant, innovative, accessible, and flexible educational system, to contribute to the excellence and equity in lifelong learning. There is an urgency to improve the ability of VET to respond to the changing requirements of the labour market. Undoubtedly, there should be close cooperation between the relevant stakeholders to review occupational and education/training strategies.

This project is in line with the Europe 2020 strategy and its vision for an innovative and flexible involvement of VET in the real economy. The innovation emerges from the engagement of only disadvantaged groups to support sustainable development. Accessible people and unemployed youth living in remote rural areas come under the umbrella of sustainable tourism to support each other.

Accessible tourism, a considerably sizeable market (estimated at about 740 million trips per year (EU report “EC Study: Economic Impact and Travel Patterns of Accessible Tourism in Europe”, 2014)), is in general absent from any sustainable tourism strategy. It requires mature social conditions to flourish and rural Europe is far from offering them.

As the “Mapping and Performance Check of the Supply of Accessible Tourism Services (220/PP/ENT/PPA/12/6491) (2015) report indicates, Europe lacks the social superiority to appreciate the benefits of the accessible tourism market. The least used service offered to people with special needs was “Personal Assistance Services (PAS)”, only 70 services (out of the 146,760 identified) were described as PAS (0.05%).

The exercise becomes an even harder task when Europe attempts to connect this type of tourism with sustainable development. To remedy the situation, the engagement of all stakeholders is absolutely necessary.

AccessAngels utilises the qualities of VET to consolidate all powers (stakeholders, local authorities, relevant civil society organisations, and education/training providers) to support sustainable tourism.

PAS are currently offered in some accessible cities but for a high premium. According to the “Economic Impact and Travel Patterns of Accessible Tourism in Europe” report (DG ENTR, 2012-2013), the lack of escorting is often considered a barrier to accessible travel. On average, a person with special needs, requires 1.9 escorts to travel, a substantial financial burden.


  1. offer to adults and young people the prospect of career opportunities through VET
  2. promote inclusion of disadvantaged groups in the labour market
  3. ensure the sustainability and excellence of vocational education and training
  4. use VET in support of sustainable development and in delivering social education to youth
  5. provide rural tourism with a competitive advantage to attract the accessible travel market
  6. contribute to rural economies
  7. increase awareness of the disabled people needs in rural areas
  8. foster active citizenship and volunteerism among the youth

AccessAngels will cater the following needs of each target group:


  1. use innovative teaching methods to service the needs of disadvantaged groups
  2. enhance their teaching programmes with social values content
  3. promote the quality assurance of new competences through VCC

    People with needs:

  1. eliminate a travel cost barrier
  2. have more travel destination choices
  3. increase awareness for the disabled people needs in rural areas

    Rural tourism stakeholder/ Local authorities:

  1. use VET as an alternative form of education for their unqualified youth
  2. increase influx of people with special needs to the rural areas
  3. use VET as an alternative form of education for their unqualified youth
  4. use innovative services to revive their struggling economies


  1. acquire a new certified competence
  2. gain the prospect of employment
  3. be introduced active citizenship
  4. appreciate volunteerism