Life Skills for Europe - LSE

The LSE project aims to improve basic skills provision in Europe by explaining, further developing and upscaling the life skills approach. The project final beneficiaries are people from a disadvantaged background, refugees and people resistant to ‘foreigners’ and intercultural exchange.


The LSE project will explain, further develop and upscale the life skills approach with the purpose to support three different groups:

  • People from a disadvantaged background who have few possibilities to escape the low skills trap and often lack the know-how to access social services, proper health care that goes beyond urgencies, and democratic participation.
  • Refugees who not only need to learn the host language, but also acquire the knowledge on how to make a home in their new countries.
  • ‘Native’ population of Europe that respond aggressively to ‘foreigners’ through xenophobic and violent actions.

In order to support these three groups to access learning and other services, increase their participation in a democratic society and develop greater intercultural understanding; partners invite providers and policy-makers to develop comprehensive learning offers. Those should combine basic and digital skills with problem solving, critical thinking and interaction with other people as well as information and support on how to access health and social services, developing family competences and fostering intercultural dialogue and active citizenship.

LSE at a glance:

The LSE project leaflet is available in English, GreekDenmark, Slovenian and French.


Aims and objectives:

LSE aims at:

  • Increasing the participation rates of adults in lifelong learning
  • Fostering cooperation between agencies and stakeholders dealing with refugees on the one hand and the low-skilled on the other hand
  • Improving health situations, better school attendance of children, more chances for employment of the life skills learners
  • Increasing the recognition of the role of non-formal (adult) education in achieving social inclusion in the EU

LSE has the following objectives:

  • Collecting, comparing and further developing the life skills approach to learning for adults (more comprehensive provision of basic skills)
  • Provide tools and recommendations that can be used for and with the three target groups
  • Develop an overarching life skills learning framework and modules that are transferrable across Europe
  • Concrete proposals how to devise and implement a life skills strategy on the local / regional / national levels as well as a concrete advocacy tool to target regional, national and European policy-makers


The project will produce several concrete outcomes:

  • a ‘glossary’ of ‘life skills’ based on a survey among adult education organisations, desk research and interviews, to present the different approaches and understandings of life skills across Europe (IO1-a)
  • a collection of good practices of life skills initiatives across Europe, and an analysis of the practices to help understand what works and how to make it work (IO1-b)
  • a collection and analysis of tools that are being used across Europe in order to promote and enhance life skills and intercultural understanding (IO1-c)
  • a provision framework and transferable modules to create an indicative framework for life skills provision, incl. modules on; e.g., language, literacy and numeracy skills; financial, digital, health and civic capabilities (IO2)
  • an Awareness Raising and Strategy toolkit that will not only provide summaries of the lesson learnt through O1 and O2, but also contain recommendations as well as proposals for life skills strategies at different levels (IO3)

Two multiplier events will ensure a wide and in-depth dissemination of the project outcomes:

  • Workshop in Patras (Greece), April 2018
  • Workshop in Brussels (Belgium), October 2018


Four partner meetings will facilitate the smooth implementation of the project:

  • Kick-off meeting – Copenhagen (Denmark), 9-10 February 2017
  • Second partner meeting – Leicester (UK), September 2017
  • Third partner meeting – Patras (Greece), 18-20 April 2018
  • Final partner meeting – Brussels (Belgium), October 2018

Life skills approach in Europe

The alarming lack of basic skills across Europe, indicated by PIAAC survey, along with the need of skills diversification among the increasing number of newcomers to Europe has highlighted the urgent need for the adoption of a comprehensive approach to learning. Providing adequate and appropriate courses for the above mentioned target group does not only mean allowing them to escape from the low skills trap, but also to empower them to contribute to their own lives, families and communities. Non–formal adult education can and should be the driver of this change by embracing the vision of life skills. The concept of life skills exceeds the basic skills concept, since it promotes more than just a basis for survival. In some countries, adult education providers have already started initiatives to broaden the concept of basic skills and have adopted more holistic practices in basic skills provision.

The first intellectual output of the LSE is threefold.

The first part the definition of Life skills:

Life skills are a constituent part of capabilities for life and work in a particular social, cultural and environmental context. The types of life skills emerge as a response to the needs of the individual in real life situations.

The following illustration represents the eight types of capabilities that are incorporated in the definition of life skills as well as the benefits they bring to the individual and the society:

The second part is a comprehensive analysis, which provides an overview of the understandings of life skills in Europe and beyond as well as a collection of good practices and innovative tools already used in the partner countries and a presentation of the main findings of the project’s research.

The Report on the Life skills Approach in Europe is available in English:



A short 10 page summary is available in English, Greek, Danish, Slovenian and French.


The third part is a database of good practices and tools, which is available here.

Good practices

Good practices for developing life skills were defined as examples of teaching and learning approaches that contribute to the development of life skills. Examples of good practices can be educational programs, specially developed learning and teaching didactics or methods, curricula, methodological instruments, etc.

What’s the innovation?

Special emphasis in the instrument was also placed on the description of innovative characteristics and the main benefits of good practice for learners, where the description is supported when possible by authentic quotations, photos, videos and products of adult learners. The potential of transferability and the universal character of good practice were also included in the instrument.

The LSE partnership collected cases of good practices, which are presented in more detail on the database below.


Themes and relevant capabilities
 Target group
Good practiceProject Learning for Young Adults (1999/2016)Civic, personal and interpersonalSchool dropouts, young adultsSL
Good practiceLearning for Successful Life (2003/2014)Literacy, numeracy, digitalVulnerable and marginalised groups, unemployed peopleSL, EN
Good practiceStudy circles (1993)Personal and interpersonal, civicOpen to anyoneSL
Good practiceCitizens’ Curriculum (2014-2017)Literacy, numeracy, digital, health, civic, financialVulnerable and marginalised groups, unemployed peopleEN
Good practiceRoyal British Legions industry (RBLI) Lifeworks (2012)Personal and interpersonalEx-armed forces personnel (disabled, unemployed)EN
Good practiceSt Mungo’s Broadway Citizens’ Curriculum Pilot (2012)Arts and culture; Residential programme; literacy, numeracy, digital, health, civic, financialHomeless adults, vulnerable and marginalised groupsEN
Good practiceTake Care Project (2012-2014)Literacy, healthImmigrants and refugeesAR, BG, ZH, HR, NL, FR, DE, EL, LT, PL, PT, RO, RU, ES, TR, UK
Good practice Language for Life (Taal voor het leven) (2012-2015)Literacy and numeracyLow socioeconomic background, low-skilled, immigrants and refugees NL, TR, RO
Good practice Letters for Life (2015-2017)Literacy, civic, personal and interpersonal, digitalSchool dropouts, people who never attended school PT
Good practice “Welcome to Belgium” Pedagogical kits (Mallettes pédagogiques “Bienvenue en Belgique”) (2010)Literacy, civic, health, personal and interpersonal Immigrants and refugees FR
Good practiceThe Second Chance – Systemic Development of Functional Elementary Education of Adults (2012-2013) Civic, personal and interpersonalAdults above 15 with incomplete elementary education or without vocational qualifications,  priority given to socially vulnerable target groups. SR
Good practiceTogether within (Pratto apo koinou) (2014)Literacy, personal and interpersonal, digital, civicLow socioeconomic background, low-skilledEL, EN
Good practicePublic Second Chance Schools (Public Adult Education School) (2000)Literacy, numeracy, civic, digitalSchool dropoutsEL, (EN)
Good practiceLife Long Learning Centres (KeDiViM) (2010)Environment, digital, literacy, civic, financial, personal and interpersonalOpen to anyone; vulnerable and marginalised groups, school dropouts, Roma, offenders, immigrants, people with disabilities, religious minorityEL, EN
Good practiceDanish Language and Culture (2015)Literacy, civic, personal and interpersonalYoung refugees between 18-30DA
Good practiceRecycling Design (2016)Literacy, civic, personal and interpersonal, environmentalRefugee and native Danish womenDA
Good practiceFitness – a healthy body (2009) Health, personal and interpersonal, literacy, numeracy, civic, environmentalYoung adults, people with physical/mental health issues, low socioeconomic background, low-skilledDA


Tools are a variety of didactic accessories that can be used within teaching and learning approaches. This includes multimedia tools such as videos, computer games and applications, as well as literacy and sports activities, real-life materials, handcraft and other workshops, etc.

An innovative approach

This collection of innovative tools represents relevant examples of tools that contribute to the development of life skills. The instrument for collection included several sections, which provide valuable information and ideas about the tools for potential users and also for analytical purposes. Special emphasis in the instrument was also placed on the description of applicability and the main benefits of the tools for learners, where the description is supported when possible by authentic quotations, photos, videos and products of adult learners.

To whom they are addressing to?

This selection of tools is designed to be of immediate use for informal learning providers and can be used as a basis for the development of further tools. The collection could also be used as a guideline for further research (i.e. on common transversal principles to be used in the EU for renovating adult education in the area of life skills) and as a concrete and immediately usable database of applicable and transferable ideas.

Are you an adult learning provider yourself? Want to test new tools or enrich and further expand your current practice? Check out the database below.


TypeTitleThemes and relevant capabilities Target groupLanguage
ToolEducational movies  about key competences (2012-2014)Key competences (literacy, digital, civic, personal and interpersonal)Vulnerable and marginalised groupsSL, (EN)
ToolBBC Skillswise (2002/2011)Numeracy, literacyAdultsEN
ToolCitizens’ Curriculum resources (2015-2017)Literacy, numeracy, ICT, health, civic, financialImmigrants, homeless and vulnerably housed adults; young adults; offenders/ex-offenders; people experiencing or recovering from alcohol or substance misuse; people with physical/mental health issues; vulnerable and marginalised groupsEN
ToolValue My Skills for Young Adult Carers (2014-2017)Personal and Interpersonal, health, civicYoung adult carers, could be tailored to support careers guidance for other target groupsEN
ToolDialogic Literary Gathering (1980)Civic, literacy, environmental, personal and interpersonalOpen to anyone, low socioeconomic background / low-skilled; children; teenagers;
young adults; families; adults, elderly people;
ToolVoices In Pictures project – picture databank (2013-2015)Literacy, civic, personal and interpersonalImmigrants and refugeesEN, FR, DE, ES
ToolI want to learn ( (2004)Numeracy, literacyLow socioeconomic background / low-skilled; autonomous learning tool for individuals, but can also be used as part of a courseDE
ToolI want to learn German ( (2011-2013)Literacy, personal and interpersonalAdult learners, Immigrants and refugees; Autonomous learning tool for individuals, but can also be used as part of a courseDE
ToolThe Real Game (1994/2012)Personal and interpersonal, civicTeenagersDA, NL, EN, FR, DE, EL, HU
Toole-Reflect (e-Regenerated Freirean Literacy through Empowering Community Techniques) (2015-2017)Civic, digital, personal and interpersonalEducators working with school students, educators working with university student, educators working with adultsEN, EL
ToolNESSIEPersonal and interpersonalDisadvantaged groups, vulnerable and marginalised groupsNL, EN, DE, EL, IT, RO, SE
ToolUs & Them (2015-2017)Civic, personal and interpersonalEducators working with adultsEN
ToolThe Competence Game (2014)Civic, personal and interpersonalAdult learners, educators working with adult, guidance counsellorsDA, EN
ToolBoard of Overview (2013)Civic, personal and interpersonalAdult learners, young vulnerable adultsAny
ToolValue-cards and drawings (2012)Civic, health, personal and interpersonalAdult learners; school students from lower and upper secondary educationAny


The Learning Framework

The LSE framework offers an overarching framework for life skills learning that is applicable across Europe.

The framework aims to establish a common understanding of life skills by defining eight key types of capabilities necessary to be an active participant in life and work. For each capability there are two aspects, difficulty of skill/capability level and familiarity of context, which allow for a range of starting points and support the recognition of learners’ progression.

The framework is not a curriculum, syllabus or scheme of work to be followed but a simple, yet powerful, tool to facilitate life skills curriculum development.

The framework is available in English, Slovenian, Danish, French and Greek.


Awareness Raising & Strategy toolkit

In order to raise awareness of the difficulties that many adults face when it comes to poor life skills, the LSE consortium put together an awareness raising kit that addresses a number of target groups.

The toolkit not only provides summaries of the lesson learnt through the lifespan of the LSE project, but also contains concrete recommendations as well as proposals for life skills strategies at different levels.

More specifically the Awareness Raising and Strategy toolkit includes:

  • An Introduction to the concept of life skills and its benefits
  • Good Practice and Tools examples
  • Recommendations for adult education providers
  • Recommendations for policy makers
  • Recommendations for stakeholder organisations working in life skills areas
  • Learners stories
  • Proposals for life skills strategies on local, regional and national level

The toolkit is available in English, Slovenian, Danish, French and Greek.


The LSE consortium brings together 5 organisations from as many countries.

European Association for the Education of Adults – EAEA (Europe)

The LSE project is coordinated by EAEA – the European Association for the Education of Adults. EAEA is a European NGO with around 141 member organisations in 45 countries working in the field of adult learning.

Danish Adult Education Association – DAEA (Denmark)

DAEA is a branch organization for 34 Danish member organizations which are all operating on a countrywide basis. All its members represent non-formal or informal adult learning and participatory democracy (‘folkeoplysning’).

The Learning and Work Institute – L&W (UK)

L&W is a new independent policy and research organisation dedicated to lifelong learning, full employment and inclusion. They bring together over 90 years of combined history and heritage from the ‘National Institute of Adult Continuing Education’ and the ‘Centre for Economic & Social Inclusion’.

Dafni Kentro Epaggelmatikis Katartisis – DAFNI KEK (Greece)

DAFNI KEK basically plans and implements actions and learning activities targeting to social disadvantaged population and groups at risk (unemployed, single mothers, rural habitants, migrants and Roma) responding to the Official Calls either in National and European Level or in local area by organizing workshops on active consciousness.

Slovenian institute for adult education – SIAE (Slovenia)

SIAE is the main national institution for research and development, quality and education, guidance and validation, and promotional and informative activities in the field of adult education since 1991.