Young people leaving school early face a multitude of problems eg. decreasing job availability , lack of work experience, increasing casualisation of the labour market, and conflicting pressures to complete their schooling and/or to take on volunteer, unpaid or part-time work. If they do not complete their compulsory period of education, their problems are compounded. Wider contextual issues affecting them include increasing economic and social instability, social expectations, a growing incidence of homelessness and poverty, and problems of self-identity, particularly for those alienated by their school experience.
The issue of early school leaving is a complex one. At an EU15 level the average rate is 18.3%. However, this average percentage masks big differences between Member States. The differences range from below 5% to over 35%. This picture becomes even more complex in the context of EU25. In the picture that emerges from the NAP's from the New Member States, early school leaving is not a significant problem currently, however, there are concerns of this becoming an increasing problem. In other words the "pre-cursors" of the problem are evident in a number of new member states.
Since the extension of universal compulsory education, failure at school which initially was an educational phenomenon without any real social consequences is increasingly perceived as a major social problem. Those young people who are excluded from participation in society have in fact most frequently been victims of failure at school at some time or other in the course of their education. More than ever, failure at school begets social failure, which means a life of uncertainty, marginalisation and dependence on the structures of social assistance.
It is becoming increasingly evident that those who have not received adequate preparation, or who have not had educational opportunities, or whose qualifications are inadequate, are increasingly in danger of being marginalised, excluded from the labour market or reduced to filling casual and badly paid jobs (job placements, temporary or seasonal contracts). In the OECD countries, young people aged between 20 and 24 who have received higher education or training are three to four times less likely to be unemployed than those who have only basic training.
The project overall goal is to establish an action learning, transnational peer review exchange programme between partners which will focus on three interrelated sub-themes:
- initiatives that are being taken to develop more flexible approaches and greater diversity in pathways, breaking down the historical demarcation between work, training and education.
- exchange of experience in relation to seeking to develop/mainstream a broader view of learning;
- innovatory approaches which incorporate the active involvement of young people who have had direct experience of the reality that "early school leavers" face.
In addition the project will develop an online good practice exchange and development forum, which would bring together access to resources, case studies connections with practioners and policy officers for developing services for the target group. The aim being to pool the experience within the partnership and beyond in order to create an online resource that can be useful in disseminating good practise. This would draw on the work undertaken in the workshops but also include a wider mapping exercise.
Finally the project will undertake a mapping exercise at a local level in order to identify the needs of the target groups and also the gaps in local provision. The aim here would be to support the creation of local action plans which provide a means for wider dissemination and implementation of outcomes.
The project would have the following outcomes:
- The production of three peer review exchange reports.
- The production of an "overview" report
- The production of three linked case studies reports
- Establishing a peer review exchange programme that would involve over 150 participants. Of these at least 20% would be participants with direct experience of the realities facing the "target group".
- Seven local mapping reports and linked action plans
- An online good practice exchange and development forum.
- An annual dissemination and mainstreaming workshop in each partner location
Central project management team
The central project management is based in Brussels and is responsible for overall strategic management of the project.
The project coordinator is Giorgio Zoia. He has a legal background and has extensive experience in European Institutions and programmes. He is fluent in Italian, English, French and Spanish.
Rue Vieux Marché aux Grains, 48
Tel: +32 (0)2 524 45 45
Fax: +32 (0)2 524 44 31
Project Steering Group (PSG)
The Project Steering Group consists of one representative from each partner. The PSG is responsible for the development and implementation of an agreed action plan to achieve the project goals as well as undertaking regular monitoring of progress against stated targets and outcomes. The project steering group will meet for 3 days at the start of the project and thereafter every six months for 2 days. In addition there will be, as required telephone conferencing in terms of ensuring effective co-ordination and implementation of agreed actions.
Members of the Steering Group:
Eddie Adusei, Stadsdeel Zuidoost - Amsterdam, Netherlands
Hector Deane, North and West Belfast Health and Social Services Trust
Jagroop Kaur Dhillon, Olmec - London, UK
Lidia Garcia , Federacion de Municipios y Provincias de Castilla la Mancha - Toledo, Spain
Ioanna Svirkou, "IDS" Municipality of Thessaloniki, Greece
Mojca Polak, Centre of Republic of Slovenia for Vocational Education and Training - Ljubljana, Slovenia
Haroon Saad, QeC-ERAN
Pim Veltkamp, Municipality of Den Helder, Netherlands
Maria Zeitler, Kreisausschuss des Odenwaldkreises - Erbach, Germany
First Steering Group Meeting
The first SGM took place in Brussels (QeC-ERAN venue) on December 11-13, 2005. Participants discussed the aims and objectives of the Restart -Early School Leavers project and agreed on a work programme for the coming year.
Second Steering Group Meeting
The second SGM took place on 21 and 22 May 2006 in Brussels at the offices of QeC-ERAN.
QeC-ERAN (Quartiers en crise - European Regeneration Areas Network)
District administration of the Odenwald region (Kreisausschuss des Odenwaldkreises)
Municipality of Thessaloniki
Municipality of Den Helder (Gemeente Den Helder)
District Council Amsterdam South East
(Stadsdeel Zuidoost Amsterdam)
Castilla la Mancha Municipalities' and Provinces' Federation (Federacion de Municipios y Provincias de Castilla la Mancha - FEMPCLM)
Center of the Republic of Slovenia for Vocational Education and Training
(Center Republike Slovenije za poklicno izobrazhevanje)
Presentation - OLMEC
North & West Belfast Health and Social Services Trust
With support from the European Union *
*Sole responsibility lies with the author. The European Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained therein