Core practices to improve adult learners’ access in education activities and upskilling pathways

The MOVE-UP project develops a flexible and quality upskilling pathway for unemployed women, with a focus on outreach strategies.

The MOVE-UP project main aim is to develop a flexible and quality upskilling pathway for unemployed women, to be implemented in four European countries (Austria, Greece, Italy and Portugal).

In this context, a substantial effort of the partners is focused on co-designing a custom outreach strategy, which was tested in different national/local contexts with potential participants. In addition to the testing, the first project international meeting and webinar, held in October and November 2023, focused on collecting feedback on the strategy pillars and share experiences and good practices on how to improve adult participation in education across Europe.

The MOVE-UP Alliances activities

The events saw the participation of more than 70 experts and practitioners in the field of adult education, guidance and employment services, community learning and gender equality. The experts presented several good practices and initiatives in the four countries involved in the project and at European level (agenda available on the project website: https://academy.akep.eu/move-app) and discussed around open questions for adult learners’ access to quality education.

Lesson learnt on inclusive outreach

Several core aspects emerged across the discussions regarding effective and inclusive access for all adults to education opportunities and in particular upskilling and reskilling pathways.

The inherent design method for any education and outreach activity should be based on a bottom-up approach.

It is important to identify and and acknowledge participants’ needs and challenges in context and provide support through real life examples. To make this possible, it is then fundamental to create opportunities for unheard voices to express at a broader level and to involve participants directly in all the phases of design and implementation.

A specific cultural mindset is also needed.

the activities should always consider intersectional aspects, in reflecting and tackling the identified challenges and obstacles, and support overall (much needed) cultural changes within personal and social contexts, where the value of learning, working and self-determination as a person and as a professional should be recognised and supported, especially for women.

On the practical side, the most important is to use formats (for communication and for the activities) that are appropriate to the contexts and to the potential participants.

Activities should also always embed a peer support approach, across the whole path.

Finally, external factors and services seems to have a significant impact as well, for example the availability of custom and accessible guidance services, the support and awareness of employers about the skills acquired within life experiences (such as motherhood) and their value, and the attention to reconciliation needs, that also need custom services (such as vouchers, care services, facilitation in terms of logistics etc.).

What is next?

The MOVE-UP partners are now analysing and reviewing the results of this first round of collaboration with stakeholders (the MOVE-UP Alliances) and embedding the lesson learned into the upcoming actions’ design for 2024.  Next year, the exchange will focus on assessment tools for PSL (Personal Social and Learning to Learn competences) and basic skills and on design of related training, as well as with on developing future opportunities.

If you wish to join us for the Alliances activities or for exploring future opportunities , please, don’t hesitate to contact us!

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MOVE-UP project is funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or EACEA. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.

Text: Viola PinziPhotos: MOVE-UP project

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