SkillHUBS Engine work in progress
10.09.2019

Transforming lives of inmates: introducing the ‘Engine’

The SkillHUBS pilot projects are underway at prison institutions in Slovenia, Romania and Malta, with Belgium set to join later this summer. Now we can reveal the essence of the SkillHUBS Teaching and Learning Model, and what makes it radical and innovative. In September, SkillHUBS is launching a community of practice in EPALE, giving prison educators the opportunity to share experiences and access detailed information of the Model.

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The SkillHUBS Mentor Training week in May introduced the Model to teams of educators from the SkillHUBS partner countries. The feedback from participants has been enthusiastic and positive with one describing the training week as a ‘true festival of information and knowledge very useful in my professional activity’, while another commented, ‘I set out to broaden my professional horizon, and that I most certainly did. I’m keen to try out some of the principles and put news ways of teaching and coaching into practice’.

The SkillHUBS Model comprises three parts: the first is a methodology for doing research with local employers to find out what skills they look for in employees, and the third is a template for an Individual Learning Record as a public statement of a prison learner’s accomplishments and skills. At its heart is the Skills Training Curriculum Framework, or Engine. The Engine is a co-creative approach to teaching and learning, drawing on Theory of Change and the six dimensions of learning (see diagram below).

The focus is on short, informal, vocationally-grounded courses especially selected to satisfy local employers’ skills requirements for employees. The key feature of the Engine is that the learners work with educators to co-design and co-create the course objectives, the content, and course evaluation.

Another key element is the Learner Contract where learners choose their own project to research, or create something of their choice: they set the project aims, boundaries and also determine what will be delivered – a presentation, a model, a creative image, a video or a story, for instance. This is their project, with learners given the opportunity to develop skills in research, critical evaluation, problem-solving, creative thinking and much more.

The SkillHUBS team looks forward to seeing what types of projects prison learners develop in the coming months, and to the outcomes and results of pilot evaluation early in 2020.

SkillHUBS community of practice coming to EPALE

In September, we’ll be launching our new SkillHUBS community of practice on Epale, giving prison educators from across Europe the opportunity to access detailed project documentation including the SkillHUBS Model and Engine in full, as well as a host of especially selected resources for prison teaching and learning. Educators will be able to contribute and share their knowledge and experience with others, building a strong network of professionals committed to offering prison learners a second chance to positively transform their lives.

The SkillHUBS project aims to develop a transnational counselling and training model for inmates and to elaborate recommendations for the introduction of the model into national prison education systems across Europe.

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Text: Lesley Crane PhD - Learning and Work InstitutePhotos: SkillHUBS Consortium

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