The reasons why adults are remote from education can be, among others, low educational or professional/ occupational qualifications, illiteracy, unemployment or tenuous employment, coming from a family with a low social status or from a disadvantaged district. Studies show that only about 10% of the low-qualified participate in further education – among graduates of universities, the participation quote is four times as high. Therefore we focused our research also on low-skilled workers in order to increase their participation in further training and found successful and transferable projects.
The project GO wants to develop further the basic skills for adults and especially for employees. As two-thirds of the people who would benefit from improving their basic skills are employed, the project reaches out to these people and delivers in-company trainings. GO can be split in two phases: GO1 took place from 2009 to 2011 and has been piloted in big companies. In a second phase from 2012 to 2015, GO2 focused on small and mid-sized enterprises. It was organised by the SVEB (Swiss Federation for Adult Learning) and Interkantonale Konferenz fuer Weiterbildung IKW.
GO aims at low-skilled employees by providing in-company trainings in Switzerland.
The aim of GO is to identify and develop basic skills for low-skilled employees. Through in-house trainings the threshold to participate in further education is reduced and employees can take part in further education during their working hours. As the trainings are concise and individualised by considering the actual needs of the staff, it helps to improve their basic skills e.g. IT skills, language skills, or maths. A personal as well as professional development can be observed, and the participants gain more confidence in their competences. Companies that participate and invest in the further education of their staff achieve many positive results for both their company and staff, among which are a higher motivation and higher flexibility, etc.
GO looks at the needs and challenges in different companies and adapts the trainings to this. Through a five step method they guarantee effective trainings, and offer low-threshold learning opportunities while using an outreaching concept, implementing the workshops directly in the companies.
The implementation of in-company trainings is carried out in five steps:
1. Profile of requirements: Identifying the competences
required in the specific workplace.
2. Needs assessment: Identifying the further educational needs of employees in companies.
3. Training programme: Carrying out the training programme.
4. Transfer: Implementing what has been learned in the workplace.
5. Training evaluation
The methods of GO can be easily transferred to other countries. A website for companies provides information and checklists where their staff’s need for further education in basic skills can be tested ( www.weiterbildung-in-kmu.ch ).
The project has lots of helpful outcomes such as a GO Toolkit to determine the need for improving basic skills, Case Studies from the GO piloting, a GO online guideline “In-Company promotion of basic skills of adults", a GO document database, workshops for further educating trainers on how to use the GO material, and an implementation plan with a package of practical measures.
GO offers a toolkit for training providers to identify the skill-level of the companies‘ employees and potential training needs, and has an outreach approach, providing in-house training. The concept of bringing concise and well adapted courses to companies is a new approach in Switzerland. The evaluations of GO1 and GO2 show good results.
ABAG Koeln is a project funded by the national Ministry of Education and Research in Germany. It’s realized by “Lernende Region-Netzwerk Koeln e.V.” and the City of Cologne. The project develops job-oriented basic education and literacy courses for low-skilled and illiterate employees in companies located in Cologne. A sustainable implementation into the companies is the ambition. ABAG Koeln identifies these people and their specific needs to create well-adapted workshops and training courses. Possible topics are reading, writing, arithmetic, IT, communication, health care, cultural education etc.
The target group of ABAG Koeln are low-skilled and illiterate employees in small, medium and bigsized companies of Cologne. Special workshops, trainings, or other kinds of learning platforms shall be implemented to support the employees in their individual working life. The types of training and education can be variable and diverse – adapted to the target group’s needs.
The aim of ABAG Koeln is to lower the high rate of illiterate and low-skilled employees and to offer those people the chance to catch up in their knowledge with that of their colleagues. Illiterates or low-educated people face various difficulties in their average working-life e.g. they can’t understand forms, read duty-rosters or emails etc. Therefore people with those impairments face big difficulties in keeping up with others, staying in their jobs, and doing it properly.
To find out the needs and requirements of the target group, the project coordinators spoke to supervisors of the companies to find out what kind of requests low-skilled workers face in their everyday work, and what might be necessary to learn and know. According to that, they invited the target group to add their ideas of what they need to learn and what might be helpful for them. Very often new topics and requests appeared during the courses.
The idea of the project “ABAG Koeln” can be transferred to other target groups, as well as to other cities and countries. The main plot is to get connected to places where you can find the target group (e.g. at places of work). The offering of courses, workshops and education itself has to be very flexible and learner-centred, so it might be helpful to have connections with a number of flexible trainers for various trainings. It also takes time to get connected with those people, so time and patience is required.
ABAG Koeln is special, because it was planned for a very specific target group, which is disadvantaged. The implementation is very flexible and learner-centred. The achievements for the learners and their companies are remarkable and sustainable. Furthermore, the exploring character is special – ABAG Koeln reaches people in their working places by getting connected to the companies those people work in.
The ABC+ project is about developing a virtual learning platform to promote work-related written language skills in people with reading and writing difficulties. The learning platform is available online for free at www.abc-lernwerkstatt. de. Its purpose is to help people with reading and writing difficulties to improve their work-related reading and writing skills by themselves. The learning platform was developed by specialists with long years of experience in working with the target group.
The target group of ABC+ includes people whose native language is German and who work in the cleaning, catering or gardening sectors. In Germany, these are the sectors in which the percentage of people with reading and writing difficulties is particularly high.
The aim of ABC+ is to develop an online platform containing loads of interesting information and exercises and to motivate people to study autonomously. Thus, the project managers hope to reach people with poor literacy skills all across Germany. The materials can be used for literacy classes, workshops for adults with learning difficulties and migrants with advanced language skills and for promoting the skills of weaker vocational schools students.
Due to the experience from a previous project called ABC the target group was well-known, a fact which simplified the task of creating the platform. The work-related contents are conveyed through easy-to-read texts, all of which have been recorded to audio files and can be listened to. Most of the texts are complemented by exercises. Furthermore, work-related vocabulary can be trained by playing learning games. To look up words learners can consult professional dictionaries. Short videos provide explanations of relevant devices used at work and there are a lot more things to be discovered. All materials have been checked by professional experts and tested with learners from the target group. To get the target group to use the platform different steps were taken:
1. The learning platform was presented to a great number of learners at lectures and workshops at conferences and in working groups. 2.Information was spread across the world of work (cleaning companies, restaurants employing low-skilled workers, garden centres etc.). 3. T hrough g etting i n c ontact w ith d ifferent u mbrella organisations relevant for the target group (Volkshochschulverband – German association of adult education centres, Bundesverband Alphabetisierung – German association dealing with the promotion of literacy), and employers.
The idea of the ABC+ project is innovative and well-adapted to the target group, e.g. it is planned to adapt the platform for use on smartphones as well. Unfortunately, the project is quite expensive and developing, testing and implementing such a platform takes a lot of time. On the other hand, its effects are very sustainable and a great number of people can be reached easily!
ABC+ develops a sustainable possibility for illiterate workers to self-determine their learning – in their own time and way. It is free of charge and after its implementation it is available everywhere you have Internet access. Only few projects reach such a high number of people in the target group!
The Mobile Learning Workshop is a mobile and flexible learning offer that is offered on-site in rural communities. The aim is to enable educationally disadvantaged women to build up basic skills in the ICT sector, language and communication competences, and self-directed learning competences.
The Mobile Learning Workshop expresses a didactic view that places the learners at the centre of the learning process: The learning process facilitators develop an individual learning schedule and set learning goals together with each participant. In the course of the Mobile Learning Workshop participants are guided gradually towards self-directed learning. The high applicability of the contents is central to the programme. In terms of content the offer is structured by means of socalled “educational shares” and encompasses 200 teaching units. Each unit focuses on a specific topic and is manageable in terms of time; the units are adapted to the participants’ interests, competences, and possibilities. They include the following contents:
➜ Getting to know each other and team development ➜ Educational diagnosis; reading-writingspeaking ➜ Communicative competence – listening and speaking ➜ Information and communications technologies and e-government applications ➜ Learning competence – learning how to learn ➜ Autonomous Learning Meeting – selforganised study group
The collaboration with the respective community in which the mobile offer is realised forms one of the crucial prerequisites for this project. The communities are sensitised for the topic of “holistic educational strategies in rural areas”, and they actively contribute to the realisation of the offers. The collaboration with mayors, other local government officials and multipliers, ranges from contacting the target group and supplying a suitable space for the courses, to using the media channels of the community and the final presentation of the certificate of participation by the mayor.
The successful project shows that women in rural areas can in fact be reached given that they are addressed in the right way and that the offer is adapted to their needs and possibilities. The communities also profit from the educational offers and a higher quality of life. The communities’ self-perception undergoes a change as they take on the role of co-designers and active supporters of educational offers.
Literacy@Work is a European partnership project, which has been financed by the Lifelong Learning Programme of the European Commission. Workplace literacy refers to the skills needed for effective performance in today’s businesses, including literacy, language, numeracy and ICT skills. Workplace literacy is all the more challenging given that almost 80 million adults in Europe – a third of the workforce – have only low or basic skills, and estimates show the percentage of low-skilled jobs in the EU is expected to decrease by nearly 30 % between 2010 and 2020. This means that today’s jobs require better skills and more education and that in the future the workplace will become even more literacy- dependent. Thus improving workplace literacy level is the foundation of companies and workforce development. The project is implemented by a transnational partnership made of ALPES (France), BFI OOe (Austria), CDI (France), and Zukunftsbau (Germany).
The main goal of the project Literacy@Work is to develop and improve the quality of workplace literacy trainings in Europe in favour of first-level employees and business the performance of companies. The target groups of the project are illiterate people, who are employed; companies which employ illiterate people and adult trainers, who work with illiterate and employed people.
The struggle against illiteracy is strongly linked to the workplace. Companies have discovered this phenomenon quite recently due to economic changes (quality procedures which impact on the whole production chain including lowly qualified workers), use of ITC, etc. The current literacy training in companies is most often not linked to the needs of the companies and the illiterate workers.
The starting point of the project is based on an experiment conducted in New Zealand, which included the development of a methodological guide aimed at adult training providers and a website aimed at raising company awareness. During the two year project the partners worked on the adaptation of the methodological guide and the website for companies, which had been developed by the organisation in New Zealand. In the second step the adapted tools were tested and validated in 6 companies with at least 30 employees in Austria, France and Germany. Training workshops were organised among adult trainers to disseminate the methodology and the approach, and to stimulate new training approaches accordingly to the literacy@work approach. Last, but not least the project partners organised awareness raising campaigns among companies, in order to stimulate workplace-base literacy training according to the literacy@work approach.
The tools are developed specifically for illiterate people at work. The tools have been validated in 3 countries and can therefore be implemented in other countries as well.
Jekuntmeer.nl (youcandomore) is an initiative of De Omslag, an independent, visionary project and network organisation for issues in the field of participation and employment. De Omslag is the axis for several organisations in following industries: health and welfare, social rehabilitation, addiction, disability-specific support services, well-being and education. By supporting as well as linking these organisations to each other, De Omslag can achieve social participation and the integration of disadvantaged people.
The website jekuntmeer.nl gives a complete online overview of the possibilities for learning, working and doing in Amsterdam, Utrecht and Leiden. The website matches supply and demand in the field of work, learning and doing, which particularly fits to the needs of disadvantaged groups. Jekuntmeer. nl is a digital social map that provides a clear overview to disadvantaged groups and social organisations on all available activities, work and learning opportunities. The public part of the site is available to everyone but naturally is intended especially for those who are disadvantaged in one way or the other and want to participate actively in society. In specific this includes the following target groups: people with autism, people with a chronic disease, homeless people, people with dementia, handicapped people, people with learning disabilities, people with acquired brain injury, people with mental health problems, people who use alcohol or drugs, people with an intellectual disability, people with a visual or auditive disability, migrants, young people at risk and other disadvantaged groups. All of them have difficulties in finding employment, training and education opportunities and need specific support structures to be included in a learning and working environment.
The providers of the work, activity and learning opportunities, are mostly social service providers, social firms and volunteer initiatives.
Jekuntmeer.nl is developed in close cooperation with the support agencies of the local governments in Amsterdam, Utrecht and Leiden. Furthermore, social service providers in all cities and affiliated regions are actively being involved in the development and content of the website. This means that the website is build on the overall principle of cooperation and networking.
The website gives the opportunity to disadvantaged groups to look for appropriate work, activities and learning opportunities. The website is user-friendly and enables the user to search and filter, and to match the supply with the individual interests and needs. This can be done individually – without any interference of a mediating service – or with the support of a referring organisation.
Each region has a specific website administrator who, in close cooperation with the different organisations in the field of welfare and care, is responsible for the content of the website. Suppliers of work, activity and learning opportunities are being trained and supported by the administrator, which enables them to upload their 'offer' directly to the website. By doing so, they will increase the access to their offer and promote their activities more broadly. Suppliers are also actively involved in the further development of the website to make it more effective. Their input has been used to update a version of the website with improved usability, which will be released in the summer of 2015. As most of the suppliers do have their own websites a special feature has been developed, which directly links the content of the organisations website with jekuntmeer.nl. By doing so, the content on both websites is always up to date. Referring support agencies receive a unique login code, which enables them to match the needs of the 'client' with the supply. The website will display an overview of 'matches' and indicates directly whether the selected match is appropriate and available. Supplier can be directly contacted by email or phone to discuss further details and prerequisites.
Jekuntmeer.nl has already been developed for a broad target group. Specific target group selections can be made. The concept is easy and can be adapted to the needs in different countries. However, a good network and a strong coordinating organisation are needed to organise and administer the website.
Jekuntmeer.nl is a perfect online tool to match supply and demand in the field of work, activities and education. It takes into account the specific needs of disadvantaged groups and is built on the principle of cooperation and networking.
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