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3.3 Life long learning as a second and third chance

3.3.0 Introduction

3.3.1 Social requirements

3.3.2 Experiences and innovative ways to lifelong learning in best practice examples

3.3.0 Introduction

Today, in Europe some six million young people drop out of school each year – about 14% of all pupils. They are more likely to end up unemployed, poor or otherwise marginalized.

Statistics reveal that all European countries are more or less facing challenges regarding large numbers of drop-outs from school, unemployment and social exclusion. In many countries the 10th grade and the first years of upper secondary level are critical.

Early school leavers are broadly defined as 18 to 24 year-olds who have left school with a lower secondary education or less.

Beyond the cost to individuals, early school leaving hinders economic growth and competitiveness: high-tech modern economies need skilled workers, and drop-outs are more likely to claim social benefits, putting pressure on state resources.

The concern about too high drop-out rates in the EU countries is clearly reflected in an EU strategy that - through giving better access to early-childhood education, help for truants and poor performers, and through new "second chance" schools - should cut the EU drop-out rate.

The EU’s plan for tackling early school leaving aims to reduce the average drop-out rate to below 10% by 2020. It urges member countries to devise policies that cover the whole education cycle – removing the triggers of early school leaving, nipping emerging problems in the bud and giving a second chance to young people who come to regret their decision. The plan focuses on three areas:

1 Prevention

Equal access to high-quality early childhood education should be improved. Measures should be introduced that ensure all children can take part in the classroom, such as language support for children of immigrants.

2 Intervention

Warning signs such as truancy or poor performance should be met with tutoring or mentoring support, and cooperation with parents should be stepped up.

3 Compensation

Students who drop out should be given the chance to gain the qualifications they miss out on at a later stage. ‘Second chance’ schools should provide smaller classes as well as more personalized and flexible teaching methods in comparison with mainstream schools.

3.3.1 Social requirements

Youth unemployment trends

EU statistics show that the youth unemployment rates across Europe varies a lot, but in general the youth unemployment rates are too high in most countries.

Youth unemployment rates are generally much higher than unemployment rates for all ages. High youth unemployment rates do reflect the difficulties faced by young people in finding jobs. However, this does not necessarily mean that the group of unemployed persons aged between 15 and 24 is large. Many young people are studying full-time and are therefore neither working nor looking for a job (so they are not part of the labour force which is used as the denominator for calculating the unemployment rate). For this reason, youth unemployment ratios are calculated as well, according to a somewhat different concept: the unemployment ratio calculates the share of unemployed for the whole population. Recent statistics show that youth unemployment ratios in the EU are much lower than youth unemployment rates; they have however also risen since 2008 due to the effects of the recent crisis on the labour market.

The youth unemployment rate in the EU-27 was around twice as high as the rate for the total population throughout the last decade. The EU-27 youth unemployment rate was systematically higher than in the euro area between 2000 and early 2008; since this date, these two rates were very close, until mid 2010, when the EU-27 youth unemployment rate started to increase more strongly than that of the EA-17. While youth unemployment thus increased in both areas during the crisis, the increase has been more relevant for the EU-27, despite the lower overall unemployment rate in that area.

The more recent version of the statistics shows an increase in EU-27 from 21.6% in Q3-2011 to 22.1 % in Q4.

Europe’s challenges

The figures in these statistic table illustrates the huge challenges that many European countries are facing. Dropouts, truants and young people with learning difficulties are heavy problems in all European countries. A proportion of young people with difficulties in their professional development CVs is rising permanently. These youngsters are threatened from long-term unemployment, social exclusion and crime. So countries search for manifold ways to bring them back into education and training, into social activities and to empower them to a new start, the so-called second chance, really often the third chance. Motivation for learning needs very experienced and qualified trainers, teachers and social educators.

The society at many levels has to address this situation: School authorities, the employment services and the social services need to be aware of these challenges and take initiatives facing them. School authorities have to work systematically with measures to prevent drop-outs, and school authorities should have in place a system

✴ for early warning of pupils in risk of drop-out 

✴ to handle pupils in risk of drop-out

✴ to detect drop-outs that the system has not detected in due time, individuals who have already dropped out from school

This consequently means that school authorities together with the employment services and the social services should have in place a system for following up the drop-outs, and that the society should be in position to offer good alternative pathways of learning to those who are not capable to pursue their school education at the time being.

The measures that are designed for and intended to help drop-outs to get away from a negative trend, and to prevent drop-outs from school, should take in consideration the individual’s view of the situation and suggest alternative solutions based on and in concordance with the individual’s possibilities and capacities.

In those of the European countries where the unemployment rate is low, we think that the measures put in place to help drop-outs should have fair chances to succeed, as the labor market is in need of new workers in almost all brands.

But in In those of the European countries where the unemployment rate is high, the authorities are obviously facing extremely huge challenges. The important question is: How can a society efficiently meet the employment needs of the young generations when the unemployment rate amongst young people exceeds 20%, 30% or even 40%?

Sources: Eurostat and other EU sources

3.3.2 Experiences and innovative ways to lifelong learning in best practice examples

Departing from the knowledge that the problem of high drop-out from school exists in all European countries, and that it has negative effect upon those who are in risk of social exclusion, we will try to give some examples of how the different societies in the five partner countries of the Pro-Learn project try to meet these challenges.

Czech Republic


Short Summary of a Best Practice for a 2nd and 3 Chance for obtaining a final professional degree

ABU gGmbH Berlin developed fundamentals of this Best Practice in 2004 and subsequent years. The development work was carried out in context of projects for modularisation and quality assurance in vocational training, supported by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

The core of the Best Practice is individual and effective arrangements of final vocational degree related second chance training by application of training modules. 

It opens new chance to people without formal qualifications and who are because of different reasons not eligible for formal initial training or retraining, to acquire a professional degree through external IHK (ICC) examination. The courses are individualised and take existing professional skills and experience into due account (by use of competence assessment methods) Thus, their chances in the labour market raise, learning is motivated by the expected practical benefit and a possible shortage of qualified workforce is counteracted.


Best Practice in the field of SECOND AND THIRD CHANCE

Giotto Cooperative offers to public administrations and companies:

  • Planning activities, maintenance and realization of green areas, cleaning, planning and management of car parks, museum services, waste collection, housekeeping, supervision.
  • Design and implementation of social projects to integrate disadvantaged people in the labour market

In 1986 a group of young graduated and students of the last year in agricultural and forest sciences decided to merge their forces to keep, working together, a friendship born during the university years. They founded the social cooperative and started activities dealing with planning and maintenance of parks and gardens.

During the years, this focus on people has led to a particular sensitiveness to the social sector that, after the law 381/91 came into force (regulation of social cooperatives), is included in the social cooperative of category B, offering work to disadvantaged people.

In parallel their intervention fields increase, such as cleaning, maintenance services, management of car parks, reception in museums and so on.

This project offers working activities and a second chance to disadvantaged people such as disable people and offenders.

The social and entrepreneurial aspects are two inter-related ways: social reasons have encouraged and motivated the start up of a new business.

The main aim of this cooperative is to give value to the characteristics of each person, in order to enable everyone to express their potential and implement their most suitable task. They are animated by a passion for the people without differences and obstacles. Their “mission” is to combine “social” and professional, offering to most disadvantaged people, disabled and offenders, an opportunity to enter the social and labour network and at the same time keeping a high quality of the services offered to private and public companies.

Thanks to their expertise and commitment, they have reached high quality standard certifications.

It can be considered a best practice for its growth from the initial small cooperative to a cooperative that has a great importance now at local level. 

Above all the fact to have a direct contact with public bodies and private companies and disadvantaged people that need to reconnect to the social and labour network is an asset of this practice.


Exposure of a Best Practice in the field of second and third chance through the IMM-model – using the example of the County of Hordaland

NY GIV (2010-2013) is a three year project which aims to get more young people to complete and pass the secondary school. An important step towards achieving this is to establish a lasting partnership between the state, counties and municipalities. It is implemented in both national and local level, including intensive training, close supervision, summer activities, vocational orientation of common core and the development of statistical data that all aim to ensure that more young people successfully complete secondary education.

The Best Practice itself is about giving a new chance to young people inside school, or if they are already out of school or outside school: Combining training and education outside and inside school. The project will improve the transition of pupils from secondary school to attend compulsory. The target group of NY GIV is the 10 percent weakest performing pupils. 

NY GIV shall assure all transitions to avoid people to fall between or to fall out. NY GIV builds short courses for young adults who are demanding a certificate, so that these youngsters can see an immediate result of their participation in the course. Pupils participating in the project feel that they have been seen and met at the level where they are. 

Phase 2 of the New Deal project started January 2012. In the project 134 teachers are following courses. 

United Kingdom

Employment 1st targets young people who are long term unemployed. Its fast paced and intense training teaches key skills required by employers and ways to look for  and secure employment. Newham College worked with local employers, job centres and job brokerage agencies and was able to turn large numbers of long-term unemployed people into confident and motivated job-ready candidates.