Innovative approaches for disadvantaged youth
Institut equalita carried out from May 2012 to July 2013 a cooperation project with Bulgarian partners on the integration of disadvantaged youth in vocational education. The project aimed to support the participating partners and their colleagues and beneficiaries from Bulgaria and Germany for the exchange of ideas and plans for implementation of innovative approaches for identification and responding to vocational education and training needs of youth in disadvantage due to ethnic, racial, religious, cultural, gender, social, economic or other reasons.
Background of the project
The application of approaches for cultural and peer learning has still not been deeply infiltrated into the EU practices, despite the fact that it has been used as an extremely successful training method in some projects in cooperation with culture youth groups from Asia, South America and Africa for decades now. The innovativeness of this type of training is rooted in the fact that training is taken out of the boundaries we are familiar with, namely the teacher-trainee relationship and turns all participants into trainers and trainees at the same time. This approach is based on the understanding that every person is able to give some knowledge to the others.
On the other hand the information and communication technologies are still mainly listed in the group of media influencing the youths and their involvement in the educational process in a negative way. Youths are attracted to the Internet and the ICT so remarkably strong and this should be used more successfully training purposes. Distance learning – many geographically dispersed or situated in a single place trainees or trainers, working from a different venue, working online simultaneously or implementing personal tasks separately – creates possibilities, which would otherwise be impossible for youths living in remote EU regions or excluded from the educational system, but interested to get qualifications. Distance learning is innovative in its unlimited opportunities with regard to topics, programs, languages of training provision, duration and so on.
Objectives of the project
The project aimed to support the participating partners and their colleagues and beneficiaries from Bulgaria and Germany for the exchange of ideas and plans about:
- fight with discrimination and integration
- professional inclusion (labour market integration) and social inclusion
- lifelong learning and using information technologies
- job seeking and equal opportunities for disadvantaged young people
A main intention was the application of innovative approaches for identification and responding to needs for professional VET disadvantaged of youths due to ethnic, racial, religious, cultural, social, economic or other reasons.
The direct beneficiaries of the project were approximately 120 youths (16-24 years old) at a disadvantage as well as experts working in the sphere of professional training and consulting for youths from the districts of Sofia and Gabrovo in Bulgaria.
The indirect beneficiaries were youths (16-24 years old) at a disadvantage as well as training organizations, which work with such trainees in Bulgaria and Germany.
After an analysis of education systems in Germany and Bulgaria and their offerings and integration potentials for disadvantaged young people, two studies were created.
In the first study methods weredetermined and presented for the identification of training needs for disadvantaged young people in Germany who may be eligible for application and adaptation in Bulgaria.
In the second study approaches for the development of appropriate training programs for disadvantaged young people in Germany were analyzed and presented that may be suitable for adaptation and transfer in the Bulgarian education system.
After analyzing numerous practices for vocational training for disadvantaged young people in Germany and subsequent discussions with teachers of the affected target groups by several evaluation workshops seven innovative practice approaches for a possible adaptation and use in vocational training system in Bulgaria were selected.
Following up the Bulgarian partners were presented in several project visits and excursions practical examples of the use of these innovative methods meet in Germany on integration of disadvantaged young people. For these practical examples ultimately seven approaches were selected after intensive discussions with Bulgarian target groups and stakeholders that appear suitable for adaptation and use in Bulgaria. These will be adjusted in future projects for use in the Bulgarian education system for better integration of disadvantaged young people to their specific needs and designed for their continued support. For details, refer to the articles below and the PPP.
Partner of the project
Responsible partner was the Foundation for development of the cultural and business potential of civil society in Sogia, Bulgaria
Partners were Sdruzhenie „Mladezhko druzhestvo za sport I turizam 'Zdravets'" in Gabrovo, Bulgaria and Institut equalita in Cologne, Germany.
The project was implemented with the financial support of the Human Resources Development Operational Programme 2007-2013, co-financed by the European Social Fund of the European Union.