Training and Employability

Inclusion in a Knowledge Base Economy in Europe

Using ICT in school, for work and social interaction has become a way of life however, a significant number of young people in Europe fail in acquiring essential ICT in school and do not acquire the skills and competencies necessary for their social and labour market integration. They are thus unable to respond adequately to accelerating technological, scientific and economic change in the societies in which they live.

More than 80% of schools using computers use them in classrooms in the United Kingdom, Slovenia, the Netherlands, Cyprus, Ireland, Luxembourg, Sweden, Norway and Portugal. By contrast, in Greece, Hungary and Slovakia the figure is a very low 20%. This is less than a third – in some cases even only slightly more than a quarter – of the European average usage figure (61%).
In terms of internet connections, almost all European schools have internet access. In most countries the penetration rate is slightly below or at 100%. In none country is it below 90%, and the European average is 96%. This picture changes significantly when looking at the type of internet access and thereby considering only those schools with broadband access. Here again the Nordic countries, the Netherlands and Estonia and Malta from the new member states show top rates, with figures above 90%. In stark contrast is Greece, where just 13% of schools have broadband internet access. Poland, Cyprus, Lithuania and Slovakia also show low figures ranging between 28% and 40% which are significantly below the European average of 67%.
Read the full report here:

Case studies

Case Study: Josephine Blamo

Running regional events as part of Las Palmas International Film Festival where I carried out my internship had plenty of challenges. During my placement I learnt that events can make a difference at a micro and macro level. Working with a team of dedicated people we shared our learnings, both positive and negative, at every step of the way and by taking this bold step we educate and support each other to run more effective events and further professionalise the event industry and spend event budget where they will yield the greatest results.

During my time on placement I was involved in four events. When each project was over the team brainstormed and analysed internally within our team and with our clients but very few of us publish meaningful data and outcomes from our events for others to learn from and be inspired by. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why some executives struggle to appreciate the results and return that events can bring and why we still battle to protect event budgets in times of austerity? I, on the other hand, am well aware of these shortcomings and will ensure I continue to grow in every aspect on my way to becoming a Events Manager.

Case studies

Case Study: Majid Kiani

My name is Majid Kiani, I am 23 and I come from France.

I worked in Phoenix for a 3 months work experience under the Leonardo Da Vinci Program (European program that gives the opportunity to a trainee to gain vocational, cultural and linguistic benefits from a placement within a UK-based company that is related to their vocational background).

My placement was a very interesting and beneficial experience. I was more than lucky to work for Phoenix.  As from my very first day at work  my supervisor trusted me by giving me interesting tasks that allow me to improve both my linguistic and professional skills in my area of expertise. I really enjoyed holding this very varied and versatile job. In fact, I carried out various tasks including Human Resources duties, administrative tasks, support in several events, etc.

Moreover, all the staff considered me as part of the team and I was involved in each project. I never felt bored or isolated as everybody took pride in supporting me with all my needs.

To conclude, I  would like to repeat my entire satisfaction with this program. I have not only improved my skills but I have also met fabulous people and discovered a new cultures. I am convinced my experience in Bristol/UK will be very useful in my professional and personal life and I  am really grateful to Phoenix to haven given me this great opportunity.

Training and Employability

Who are currently paying the price for Brexit?

Ask any young person this question and they will tell you that the price they are paying is extremely high. Since the UK decide to start the process of our exit from the European youth unemployment has increase to 11.9% of people aged 16-24 and fears that Brexit uncertainty will weaken jobs market even more.

Official figures show 14,000 rise in the numbers of #NEETs in July-Sept 2016, lifting the number of NEETs in the UK to 857,000 compared with previous 3 months That was an increase of 14,000 from the previous three months and up 3,000 from a year earlier.
Looking across Europe the economic cost of not integrating NEETs is estimated at over €150 billion, or 1.2% of GDP. Some countries, such as Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia and Poland are paying 2% or more of their GDP.
The economic cost is not the only one. Young people not in employment, education or training are at higher risk of being socially and politically alienated. They have a lower level of interest and engagement in politics and lower levels of trust. Even in those countries where NEETs are more politically engaged (such as Spain) they do not identify with the main actors.
EU Member States have tried a number of measures to prevent young people from becoming NEET and to reintegrate those who are NEETs. The involvement of a range of stakeholders in the design and delivery of youth employment measures is essential. In particular, a strong level of engagement with employers and their representatives is needed for measures that focus on fostering their beneficiaries’ employability. Successful policies are innovative. They introduce new ways of reaching out to their target groups, with outreach activities forming an important part of efforts to engage disfranchised young people, while incentives, ‘branding’ and marketing campaigns can be useful in the context of more universal youth employment services.

Training and Employability

EPODS Tackling Early School Leaving Part 2

In part 1 of this article we focused on the European Commission communication Tackling early school leaving: a key contribution to the Europe 2020 agenda’ and began to explore what teachers can do to prevent early school leaving. Here we look even closer at strategies teachers and educators can use to tackle this challenging issue.

Closer Observation
When students are struggling and falling behind their peers, they may drop out of school because they feel hopeless. Teachers can prevent this tragedy by working with the student one-to-one to help him or her catch up to the rest of the class. This process may involve tutoring, assigning make-up work or offering extra credit. If the teacher doesn’t have time to work with the student, the teacher can refer the student to another tutor or mentor. In Bristol Cabot Learning Federation is piloting the concept of mentoring linked with businesses/industry. They are looking for approximately 500 business mentors for young people.

Being proactive
Teachers often believe that they only need to worry about secondary school dropouts if they work with secondary school students. Unfortunately, many students start on the path to dropping out much earlier. To prevent future failures, teachers of primary school students should always look for students who seem to be struggling with the subject matter, as well as those who are uninterested in school. Identifying these students early on and working to improve their educational experience may prevent them from dropping out of secondary school years later.

Students who drop out of secondary school often suffer from low self-esteem. Teachers can address this problem by working to build each struggling student’s confidence in his or her abilities. With a little encouragement from a caring teacher, some students find the strength to keep going until they finish school and may even decide to go onto further or higher education.

Training and Employability

EPODS Tackling Early School Leaving Part 1

Most Europeans spend significantly more time in education than the legal minimum requirement. This reflects the choice to enrol in higher education, as well as increased enrolment in pre-primary education and wider participation in lifelong learning initiatives Nevertheless, around one in nine children leave school or training early and this has an impact on individuals, society and economies.

In January 2011, the European Commission adopted a Communication titled ‘Tackling early school leaving: a key contribution to the Europe 2020 agenda’. This outlined the reasons why pupils decide to leave school early — including for example, learning difficulties, social factors, or a lack of motivation, guidance or support — and gave an overview of existing and planned measures to tackle this issue across the EU. Unfortunately, many teachers don’t know how to help prevent students from dropping out.

The EPODS project is working with teachers, trainers and other educators to develop innovative tools and other material to help teachers utilise different methods and ways at tackling this difficult area. Here are some effective strategies teachers can use to improve retention rates and encourage their students to stay on in school.

Alternative schooling

Some students drop out of school because they don’t believe they are learning anything useful. They don’t plan to go to college, and they feel that the subject matter being taught is inappropriate for their future. If a teacher identifies this problem, he or she can encourage the student to transfer to an alternative program, such as a vocational school. In these alternative programs awards of diplomas are won but it allow students to learn skills for certain careers they plan to pursue, such as mechanical skills.


In Part 2 of this article we look at and examine other strategies that teachers can use to keep students from dropping out of school early such as close observation, being proactive, offering encouragement and highlighting the importance of staying in education.

Training and Employability

Controlling Education, Controlling Futures: Whose Voices Should Be Heard?

What if students could have more of a say in their GCSE choices? What if they could influence syllabus content and how they are assessed?

This might sound like a radical idea, but why should our current education systems not be shaped by those inside them? Why not let young people choose how their futures are formed? After all, education does just that: it creates and shapes the futures of those within it.

The prevailing suspicion remains that given the choice, young people will opt for the easy option, or at least not act within their own interests. However, a recent, in-depth study by Queen’s University Belfast has been able to categorically denounce these long-held beliefs, finding instead that ‘students have the capacity to make considered judgements and do not automatically opt for what they perceive as the easiest option.’1 Moreover, the study was able to recommend that young people should be given a consulting voice in decisions about their education at a national, school and individual level.

If we accept these findings, we are presented with a new set of intriguing possibilities around the management of both curriculum inequality and subject choice. Reimagining choice in education as a dialogue between pupil and teacher is one avenue to explore, as is the behaviour and decision-making of pupils in an environment of opportunities. Key to all of this is that young people feel that they are heard through their education and that decisions and policies are made in their interest and not that of more powerful stakeholders.


Inequalities and the curriculum: young people’s views on choice and fairness through their experiences of curriculum as examination specifications at GCSE (accessed 25/07/17)1