The European Commission through the Erasmus+ programme aims to develop the level of key competences, enabling adults to secure fulfilling & productive employment in an increasingly competitive work environment. Upskilling Pathways recognises that almost 20% of adult Europeans struggle with basic reading, writing, calculation & use of digital tools in everyday life. The level of these competences is believed to have a direct relationship with quality of life.
The development of automation & artificial intelligence is already having a significant impact on working practices. This impact is expected to increase dramatically in the next 10 years with as many as 50% of low-skilled jobs disappearing as workers are replaced by machines. Low-skilled adults are therefore likely to find it increasingly difficult to access the job market. This is further complicated when one considers the impact of discrimination, ageism & Covid-19.
Work is important to an individual. It matters because we need to support ourselves & our families; it formulates social status; it provides opportunities to generate social relationships; it can also inspire creativity & contribute to individual identity.
The idea for INTERGEN comes partly from discussions at the ‘Future of VET Conference’, held in Helsinki 11-13 November 2019; partly from the results of an intergenerational pilot study in Iceland & also from observations that low-skilled adult learners at both ends of the age spectrum encounter significant difficulties in developing the necessary skills to access learning opportunities & the job market.
There is therefore a gap between the learning required by these target groups for the development of formal &/or non-formal competences & what is currently available.
Implementation / Deliverables
The INTERGEN project brings together 8 partners from 7 EU member states & aims to fill this gap by producing 4 outputs leading to a ‘win-win’ scenario – both young & senior target groups have skills & knowledge that the other needs to become more competitive for job market access.
Firstly, we will research & design an INTERGEN BRIDGE MODEL to facilitate social inclusion through intergenerational learning, by allowing young & senior adults not in employment to learn from each other & develop mutual respect. We will design opportunities to acquire key competences, digital skills & entrepreneurship, tailored to meet the needs of our target groups. We will take into account cultural differences & specific needs of partner countries to produce an adaptable programme for effective implementation throughout the EU.
We will create pedagogical materials for job centres, career guidance centres, adult educators & institutions based on the Community of Practice model to apply the INTERGEN BRIDGE MODEL in interesting, interactive ways appropriate to both target groups.
We will develop training modules in key competence development appropriate to both target groups featuring an innovative peer-leaning-based methodology.
Finally, we will produce online tutorials to link learning in the INTERGEN programme with EU tools, such as Europass CV, to best showcase competences to potential employers & access the job market.
6 Pilot Studies in 6 partner countries will extensively test the INTERGEN materials, involving 30 participants from each target age group & 10 organisations. A significant number of participants will come from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds.
These resources will be open-source, available in the 7 project languages & downloadable via the INTERGEN website.
The impact of our project will be on 5 levels:
+ The number of organisations offering intergenerational key skills & career development for low-skilled adults
+ The disparity in learning opportunities for the development of key skills for adult learners of different ages
+ Social cohesion & the reduction of age discrimination & ageist stereotypes
+ The level of key skills & competences, adding value to participants’ CV & increasing job-market access
+ Employer satisfaction due to increased availability of potential employees with the skills that they require, thereby increasing the degree of added-value to companies
Our main focus will be on low-skilled, unemployed adult learners aged 18-30 & 50+, but our resources will be adaptable for other categories of adult learners & for use in countries not actively involved in the project, thereby dramatically increasing the project impact.
The INTERGEN partners believe that the problems of adult learners in developing their key competences & securing employment are likely to increase dramatically in the coming years. The COVID-19 pandemic has further complicated the situation. Hence, the urgent need for innovative solutions, such as those that we plan to design, is clearly demonstrated.
In the words of Georg C. Lichtenberg, ‘I cannot say whether things will get better by change; what I can say is that they must change if they are to get better.’ This is what we will address through the INTERGEN project.