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European Steps to Employment
Start date: 01 Aug 2016, End date: 31 Jul 2018 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Wolverhampton Adult Education Service strives to help young adults learn employable skills and develop behaviour and attitudes that will best equip them to enter the job market and flourish in society. Several areas of Wolverhampton are marked by high levels of multiple deprivation and the city has suffered severely during the economic crisis. In this climate many young people and those suffering from job loss in mid-life despair and lose motivation. They are unaware of opportunities that exist through collaboration in Europe to build a better future for themselves, seeing others come to Wolverhampton seeking to improve their lives but feeling excluded from this type of mobility themselves. This project will provide a uniquely motivating opportunity for students to gain first-hand experience of working in their field in two economically buoyant and forward-looking cities in Italy. It will also offer a change of direction for mature students needing to reinvent their careers while providing a European dimension to our suite of Steps to Employment courses that have been cited as examples of outstanding practice by OFSTED. Current thinking and our own direct experience point to the need to explicitly develop personal and social skills alongside vocational competence. Martin E.P. Seligman has a vision of a revolution in world education expressed in his book “Flourish “ to which this project aspires, namely that: “All young people need to learn workplace skills, which has been the subject matter of the education system in place for two hundred years. In addition, we can now teach the skills of well-being, of how to have more positive emotion, more meaning, better relationships and more positive accomplishment.” In working towards these goals we will be collaborating with two organisations in Italy who bring to the partnership their experience in working with disadvantaged youth from all over Europe, their methodologies for fomenting holistic personal growth and their well-established collaboration with high quality work placement providers. The project aims over a two-year period to provide 40 students in the fields of Caring for Children, Hospitality and Catering, Art and Design, Youth Work Practice, and Supporting Teaching and Learning the chance to learn new skills in Italy and thereby inspire creativity, innovation and confidence. Students will follow a 10 week preparation course in Wolverhampton followed by 3 months on placement in Italy, with follow up, consolidation and evaluation activities on their return. The programme will encompass the following elements: learning to speak basic Italian and use it both socially and in the workplace; learning specialist techniques for work; developing a positive approach in the workplace including good self-presentation, communication and reliability; raising awareness of health and safety at work; through a process of reflection and evaluation, increasing autonomy as life-long learners; taking part in inspirational visits to centres of excellence ; through coaching on mobility heightening awareness of European values; establishing friendships and working relations with individuals and organizations that will outlast the life of the project. The project will not only make the individual participants stand out in the job market but will also help the partnership organizations develop new working practices and share areas of expertise. Success stories from the project will be promoted to prompt businesses and other organizations to get involved with work experience programmes and open up the doors to further European wide communication and cooperation.
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