In December 2013, the EU adopted the European structural and investment funds (ESIF) regulation for 2014 – 2020. The reformed cohesion policy proposes overall objectives for investment in Europe’s regions, cities and economies, and provides up to €351.8 billion of support for member states to achieve the Europe 2020 goals, by creating growth and jobs, tackling climate change and energy dependence, and reducing poverty and social exclusion.
Education is prominent among these priorities, as one of the 10 thematic objectives. This objective looks in particular at the lifelong learning dimension, and the labour market relevance of education and training, the strengthening of vocational education and training (VET) systems and their quality.
Among the interesting novelties of ESIF 2014-2020 is a result-based approach with clear targets, set at the beginning, and monitoring of programme performance. In order to ensure a solid policy basis for the programming instruments, specific ex-ante conditionalities are required.
It was 1998 when FEGGA first visited Estonia with a board meeting. At the time this was part of visiting three Countries, namely Sweden, Finland and Estonia. Much development has take place since that time, especially in Finland and Sweden. Golf is now starting to have more of an impact in Estonia, it was therefore with great enthusiasm that we were returning with the first of three committed Roadshows in partnership with the R&A. This is an initiative that is aimed at providing assistance for the golf emerging Nations, helping them with all the ingredients that go towards growing an industry to support the game of golf.
As part of this initiative we also provide invitations to Latvia, and Lithuania, two neighbouring Countries that also need our support in their early years. It’s fair to say that this kind of project is exiting but also their is the unknown in terms of the support that it will generate in people actually turning up to participate. To have some form of a chance of being successful, you do need to have a leader, someone that not only has connections, but also the respect of their fellow peers. I believed I had found this person, her name being Kristel Mulle-Vaik.
The coincidence also being that she was the Assistant Head Greenkeeper at golf club, which was the course we visited in 1998. I have to say, Kristel lived up to every expectation, and worked so hard in helping to achieve the success that was achieved at this first Roadshow. It really was a great success, with over 50 people gathering at Luaa College for the two day event.
There were certain objectives that we wanted to achieve, and one of these was for Estonia to eventually create a Greenkeeper Association. I never really expected this to be achieved during this meeting, but the momentum that we had created carried forward to this meeting and on the evening of the first day, the Estonian greenkeepers met and agreed to the formation of the fist Estonian Greenkeeper Association. this was real history in the making, and something that I was very happy to witness at the meeting.
Like all conferences of this kind, we try to introduce the delegates to all the tools that they can have access to, especially as an association, which they now will have. We were able to introduce them to some of our prominent partners, and the roles they play, and how these can make a difference to their clubs, and the work they engage in on a daily basis.
Finally I want to thank the R&A for their support in working with us to make this event possible, I know that there are many people now in Estonia knowing a little more about the R&A work and also grateful for the support given.
There is much to work at during the next year for both FEGGA and Estonia, and we look forward to working together, and planning the year two event in 2015.