The number of refugees and new migrants who reach Europe, escaping from wars or critical life conditions and looking for new life opportunities, has increased dramatically in recent years and is likely to continue growing in the coming years. These newcomers face many challenges in settling into Europe and among these are the obstacles to accessing the labour market or continuing their studies.
Migrants and refugees are in practice often prevented from enjoying their rights by many legal and practical barriers. This also represents an obstacle to their integration in hosting societies. One of the main challenges newcomers and refugees face is that, although they are often educated and skilled, their competences may not be recognised in the host society. There are many reasons for this: their skills and knowledge may not fit into predefined bureaucratic policies and procedures; documentation is lacking; or the curriculum they followed does not match certification structures in the host country. This hinders their access to the labour force and to continuing their studies, jeopardises their chances of fully integrating in the new society as citizens, and represents a source of discrimination and social marginalisation. The main purpose of the VINCE project is to adapt existing proven methods to include disadvantaged people in higher education (HE), so that they meet the needs of the newcomers.
An efficient assessment of migrants' and refugees' prior learning can be critical in enabling them to access the labour market and/or continue their educational studies and improve their qualifications. Recognising and validating the skills and competences acquired through non-formal and informal learning supports the social inclusion and empowerment of migrants, who often have limited opportunities to access formal education. The process of validation of non-formal and informal learning helps to bridge educational inequalities, and offers further pathways for the development of the skills needed in life and in the labour market. Furthermore, by being given the chance to describe their educational and employment experiences and supported in a reflection and analysis of their prior learning, they will be enabled to begin to establish links between that and future opportunities for in education and work, bridging the gap between past and future.
EILEEN stands for Enhancing Intercultural Learning in European Enterprises. EILEEN is a 2-year project funded by ERASMUS+, which seeks to promote intercultural competences and a welcome culture in enterprises.
The EU is making significant efforts to eliminate the barriers to labour mobility. However, most of the enterprises in European countries do not necessarily have the essential intercultural know-how for receiving employers with a different cultural background. At the same time, often the foreign employees are not ready to face the challenge of working in a different country, and encounter difficulties in identifying the new cultural paradigms, accepting the differences and acquiring cultural knowledge.
The Erasmus+ partnership ON THE MOVE just released a best practice guide on how to reach out to and include persons from vulnerable groups in the world of Lifelong Learning. The publication is based on reviews of more than 100 European projects, providing outreach educational guidance and low-threshold learning opportunities.
A major aim of the project is to make staff in counselling and educational institutions in Europe aware of "alternative approaches (predominantly of the outreach kind) bringing educationally remote and low-qualified people to further education and will implement these in their countries".
RISE aims to remove the gaps in key competencies that create barriers to employment for refugees, by developing the focussed curriculum and accompanying learning materials, including interactive desktop and mobile games based learning resources, which are engaging and accessible to the target groups.
The RISE partner organisations worked with refugees and employers to identify the gaps in key skills that create barriers to employment for refugees. Workshops were held with groups of refugees from the three partner countries, to establish their support needs. There then followed a process of co-design with our end users, which confirmed the RISE project end products.
One of the big talking points at last weeks DISCUSS conference in Munich was the current influx of refugees into Germany and the challenges for public services. It seems up to 5000 refugees are arriving daily at Munich’s main railways station.
Most participants at the conference would agree with Marcel Fratzscher, the head of the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW), who is reported in today’s Guardian newspaper as saying the hundreds of thousands of newcomers this year as well as the hundreds of thousands more expected over the coming years, are a major opportunity for Germany and that its strong financial position makes it ideally placed to welcome them.
In 2013 (Jan. 1st), around 34 million persons born in a third country (TCNs) were currently living in the European Union (EU), representing 7% of its total population. Integrating immigrants, i.e. allowing them to participate in the host society at the same level as natives, is an active, not a passive, process that involves two parties, the host society and the immigrants, working together to build a cohesive society.
Policy-making on integration is commonly regarded as primarily a matter of concern for the receiving state, with general disregard for the role of the sending state. However, migrants belong to two places: first, where they come and second, where they now live. While integration takes place in the latter, migrants maintain a variety of links with the former. New means of communication facilitating contact between migrants and their homes, globalisation bringing greater cultural diversity to host countries, and nation-building in source countries seeing expatriate nationals as a strategic resource have all transformed the way migrants interact with their home country.
The other universities are University of Malta, Open University of Cyprus, Tallinn University and Universiti Sains Malaysia. A distinctive feature of this programme is the connection between theory and practice, gained through focused placements and mobility periods between the partner universities. It draws together the recognised strengths of the consortium partners into a relevant, joint degree that engages with and responds to such issues as social inequality, migration and intercultural cooperation.
The programme aims to deliver a curriculum that enables people to work with adults effectively and competently in changing socially diverse contexts. Students will receive a theoretical grounding in adult education, as well as intercultural and practical skills development through teaching placements, focused seminars and online courses.
The programme exemplifies a community of practice that has co-constructed the programme working in collaboration with associated partners who are practitioners in adult education. Co-construction will be a continuing feature of the programme as it is implemented from 2016. Very importantly the programme has attracted European funding to support some 60 funded studentships.
A number of recent events have highlighted the importance of lifelong learning in the promotion of integration of refugees and migrants in Europe.
On October 21, the Lifelong Learning Foundation of Finland brought together stakeholders in the area of adult education in Europe. Dr. Katarina Popović, Secretary General of the International Council on Adult Education focused on the importance of sustainable development goals in the field of adult education and learning in working with refugees, and on the theme of immigration. The President of the European Association for the Education of Adults (EAEA), Paludan Hansen, addressed one of the key trends of 2015, in relation to the integration and lifelong learning of refugees and migrants. through strengthening adult education opportunities, life skills for individuals, active citizenship in democracy and better sustainability can be achieved.
The main aim of Bazaar is to promote language learning and at the same time the exchange experiences, knowledge and ideas amongst adult learners with a migrant background. Bazaar stands for ‘Learn and Exchange at the Market Place’ and is co-funded by the Lifelong Learning Programme of the European Commission.
The educational approach is based on the key concepts of learner centricity; informal learning; learning embedded in everyday contexts; social inclusion, community and citizenship. By these means Bazaar tries:
The Role of Hume Global Learning Village Committee in building communities of practice & social capital in Hume, Australia.
When Hume City Council established the Hume Global Learning Village in 2003, they set up a dual structure of a high level Advisory Board and a locally- based Committee to support and facilitate the initiative. The role of the Advisory Board was to set strategic directions for the initiative while the Committee was to give a local voice and access to local organisations ad networks. The Committee has continued to facilitate the village since then, despite a significant change in its status in 2014, and in the process has built communities of practice across Hume that facilitate communications, shared understanding and knowledge, and above all trust in supporting successive Village strategic plans.
The Hume district of Melbourne is a diverse area with successive waves of migrants so that the Global Learning Village had to address a broad range of social, cultural, and economic issues. The Committee, as the local voice of the initiative brought together representatives of schools, Neighbourhood Houses, a broad spectrum of community organisations, and individual advocates for a better Hume. It was chaired by a high school principal who was also a member of the Board with an academic member of the Board also participating in the Committee.
The MMS project is developing tools to assist migrants and minority communities to be part of the society and community in which they are living. Its aim is to provide a practical approach to addressing the reality within migrant and minority communities of being at the margins of society. One of the fundamental principles of Europe is the freedom of movement as exampled in the European Year of Workers Mobility 2006. There are many studies and research papers which demonstrate the economic benefits which derive from mobility.
However this can bring and particularly at a time of economic recession social and political pressures of resentment from the indigenous community. This sense of prejudice can lead members of the target groups to having low self-confidence and lacking a sense of ownership in local society. We need to address this by ensuring public services are inclusive and recognise cultural backgrounds.The focus of our project through training and workshops is to enable this dialogue to take place between the public sector and citizens from migrant / minority communities who are on the margins of society.
In many European countries migrant youths or young people from ethnic minorities do not have any role models in future-oriented fields throughout their job careers, neither within their families nor in their social contexts. If at all, they tend to take up traditional job trainings and jobs, as they and their families do not consider other options for various reasons.
Therefore it is considered crucial to offer youngsters mentors from their own ethnic communities who accompany them on their way to a successful VET and job career. Mentors are meant to support these youngsters as a role model in the education and training phase which is vital for their future career. It is considered crucial to offer youngsters mentors from their own ethnic communities who accompany them on their way to a successful VET and job career.
The MIGRANTS+ project aims at developing lifelong learning opportunities for adult emigrants in basic skills, developing the skills of training staff, administrative staff, who frequently deal with migrants, support staff of NGOs how to facilitate personal development and enhance the learning opportunities of migrants, enhance active participation of migrants in the host societies as equal members and preventing their marginalisation.
MIGRANTS+ has adapted and further developed the software tool produced by the FIL Leonardo project, which detects learning needs in basic skills such as numeracy, ict, use of internet, communication skills, human relations, occupational health and proposes users individualised training curricula. It has developed tests (pools of questions and respective set of curricula) for further skills, as language literacy (CZ, DE, EL, FR, IT, PL, TR), legislation (civil rights, employment laws and social security), knowledge of the culture of hosting country.