Skip to main content
European Year of Skills

OCEANS: Developing leadership and employability skills in Erasmus+ alumni

At OCEANS - Organisation for Cooperation, Exchange and Networking: Student & Alumni network of international exchange programmes – a group of alumni teamed up to develop leadership and employability skills in Erasmus+ alumni in the EU and beyond. 

OCEANS project

Three months of developing knowledge, skills, and resilience 

The 12-week project was initiated by a group of Erasmus+ alumni. It involved training modules on skills essential to effective leadership and one on one coaching. 61 participants from the EU and beyond got an opportunity to improve their leadership skills, find out more about change management strategies, and develop personal resilience.  

Meet Nikshan and Ana, seeing a tangible influence on their careers 

The training provided a targeted opportunity to match the learning and development needs of many students and young professionals.  

Nikshan – a 26-year-old Erasmus Mundus student from Spain – says that the training allowed him to learn about self-reflection and develop priority-setting skills. For him, coaching sessions offered a practical way of exploring different leadership styles and made him better understand how these styles could be used as part of a team.   

The impact has been even more visible for Ana – a 32-year-old Serbian living in France, who works for Erasmus Mundus Association as Country Representatives Network Coordinator. For her, the project offered a combination of relevant theory with practical insights and tools. As she reveals, the insights from the training help her when faced with important professional decisions.  

Meet Diana and Sharon, empowered to launch their own initiatives 

The training also empowered young professionals to start their own skills development initiatives.  

Diana Marcela – originally from Columbia – is a social and cultural psychologist living in Norway. In the past, she has already led various projects on Diversity and Inclusion and intercultural competences. Following the training, she has now started a new initiative related to Artificial Intelligence. Cooperating with some fellow training graduates, she is excited to apply new skills and a broader perspective:  

“I learned about different topics which are essential for leaders. In particular, emotional intelligence and understanding the different leadership styles and how they can be implemented to motivate people. [...] I have had the chance to implement some of these learnings in my current projects, and I am already seeing the positive difference. This process motivated me to take action in my life.” 

Sharon – doing her master's degree in chemical innovation and regulation – says that the training improved her teamwork and communication skills. But more importantly, it helped her build self-confidence: “The main thing I learned from my coaching session was the belief that I am enough”. Empowered through the training, she recently launched a storytelling initiative that will inspire students to participate in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics programs at universities.  


The project was financed by The Erasmus+ Student and Alumni Alliance, which serves as an umbrella organisation for Erasmus Students Network (ESN), Erasmus Mundus Students and Alumni Association (EMA), garagErasmus (gE), and Organisation for Cooperation, Exchange and Networking: Student & Alumni network of international exchange programmes (OCEANS). Its mission is to bring together all alumni of EU-funded student exchange programs. Developing leadership and other entrepreneurial skills forms part of the European Skills Agenda for sustainable competitiveness, social fairness and resilience (Action 7), which guides the Union’s policy on skills.