The partners from Hamburger Volkshochschule at work
30.07.2019

Successful partnership to address unemployment

The world of work is changing and people of working age are facing challenges of adapting to new requirements. A GRUNDTVIG AWARD 2019 participant, collaborative project ICARO (Innovative Curriculum on Soft Skills for Adult Learners), set a goal to address the issue of long-term unemployment and developed a wide range of useful teaching and learning tools and supporting materials. The project demonstrates an example of successful cooperation that resulted in extensive work which made reaching out to various target groups possible.  In the following interview, Alicia Gaban from EfVET, one of the project partners, describes the ideas behind the project, its impact and best practices.

What was the main purpose of this project?

“The project Innovative Curriculum on Soft Skills for Adult Learners (ICARO) is funded by the ERASMUS+ Programme and aims at designing a customised training path adapted to the needs of each participant in order to get their (re)integration in labour market. ICARO worked with long-term unemployed adult learners, low-skilled individuals and people facing difficulties to access the labour market.

In addition, ICARO aimed at improving the training of adult educators and employment officers working with long-term unemployed adult learners. One key success factor in the practical implementation of ICARO methodology is the appropriate training of adult teaching staff for them to be able to successfully reproduce the methodology with end-users.

ICARO project stimulated adults to participate in learning, as they could see the results of the training on their employability. At the same time, the project demonstrated the effectiveness of the approach to other relevant stakeholders, such as labour market officers, teachers from vocational training schools, non-governmental organizations, small and medium-sized enterprises, local and national policymakers in the sphere of education. Those different stakeholders now have the means to extend their knowledge about soft skills development and capacities in adult education provision for increased employability.”

A meeting by SEF, the coordinator of the project, in Spain

How did the project foster the life skills approach?

“ICARO has developed a Training curriculum on soft skills for unemployed adult learners. This is an innovative curriculum on soft skills aimed at concrete target groups of adult learners: long-term unemployed adults, groups under social exclusion risk, low-skilled individuals, etc. Another product developed by project partners is a blended-learning programme “From home to work” that provides an example of how educational programmes can facilitate the creation of individual learning pathways. This training is addressed to unemployed adult learners taking part in ICARO project. Programmes are divided into several ‘building blocks’ that allow adult learners to progress at their own pace and complete qualifications progressively. Both programmes address life skills and help develop digital competences, initiative and entrepreneurship, social and civic competences and cultural awareness.”

The project demonstrated and once more supported the idea that there is a need to promote lifelong learning, raise awareness of the advantages of inclusion of adults in education, and improve the competences of adult educators.

A project partner, Social Innovation Foundation, in Lithuania

What was the best practice learnt from this project that you want to share?

“Thanks to the piloting of “From home to work” programme, we have once again confirmed that it is “never too late to learn”. According to one of the trainers, the curriculum created during ICARO project is very useful for disadvantaged learners and even more useful for educators to rethink various situations, values and behaviour in different settings. A participant from Lithuania said: “I improved digital competence and, most importantly, I understood the meaning of online privacy. The important feature of the project is an assessment of soft skills of every competence that allow me to know my strengths and weaknesses.””

ICARO

Category: European projects
Coordinator: Servicio Regional de Empleo y Formacion de la Region de Murcia
Country: Organisations from Spain, Germany, Ireland, Belgium, Lithuania, Greece.
Focus: Teaching Soft Skills
Life Skills approach: Improving the integration into the labour market through a personalized learning approach
Resources: website

 

 

 

 

Text: Aizhana KhasanovaPhotos: Hamburger Volknochshule, SEF Spain, Social Innovation Foundation

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