Evidences, findings and results from the SPECIAL project

Operational Guidelines and Policy Recommendation 

SPECIAL aims to strengthen, reignite and nurture “life” and “soft” skills of EU NEETs so as to sustain them in (re)integrating in post-COVID societies and labour markets. The project targets the design, provision and exploitation of innovative training content that embeds agile thinking as an umbrella framework for soft skill development. SPECIAL is a Project co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Commission, Key Action 2, Strategic Partnerships for VET – Cooperation partnerships in vocational education and training. SPECIAL involves seven organisations from six European countries (Romania, Spain, Belgium, Iceland, Sweden, Italy)

According to ‘21 data from EUROSTAT, in Nov ‘20, nearly 3.2 Million people < 25 y/o were unemployed. Compared to Nov 19, youth unemployment increased by 456.000 units with 9.3 Million of people “not in employment, education or training”, the number of NEETs is on the rise: COVID-19 outbreak exacerbated the conditions of many young Europeans already facing the risk of socio-economic marginalisation with serious repercussions for their mental health and well-being (EUROFOUND, May ‘21)

Some of determinants that result in a high proportion of young people who are not in employment, education, or training are:

  • the inability to study at a higher institution for financial or other reasons,
  • living in a rural or remote areas
  • care for family members (this applies especially to women)
  • adverse childhood experiences like domestic violence or divorce
  • illness, disability
  • loss of motivation due to a long period of job search and/or numerous rejections

In such context, SPECIAL has identified training and educations areas that can nurture and trigger NEET’s sense of initiative so as to motivate them in overcoming their condition of isolation. The project targets the design, provision and exploitation of innovative training content that embeds agile thinking as an umbrella framework for soft skill development

As the project nears its formal conclusion, partners are now in the process of finalizing the last two major deliverables; the development of PR4 Operational Guidelines and Policy Recommendation. The 2 deliverables are strategically relevant for the uptake of the project and its sustainability.

  1. A set of operational and theoretical guidelines to promote the uptake of project results and deliverables beyond the scope of the partnership and the scale of the project. This document serves as the “digital legacy” of the SPECIAL project. It is a compilation of critical information and key findings and results that have emerged during the project’s implementation. However, it is much more than a mere archive; it stands as a fundamental guide for anyone looking to fully harness the results and experiences gained throughout the SPECIAL journey:
  2. It offers guidance to those seeking to incorporate the SPECIAL training curriculum into their professional practices and operational environments;
  3. This document could represent a valuable asset for organisations and individuals that want to transfer and replicate the SPECIAL project and its training in various contexts.
  4. Those wishing to develop initiatives inspired by SPECIAL will find this document as a wellspring of inspiration and guidance.
  • Policy recommendations that inform policy makers and relevant stakeholders on the dynamics of engagement and inclusion of NEETs to nurture their sense of initiative and proactivity. It uses the experience and results of the project as elements and recommendations for the “policy and practice” and establishes clear operational and policy linkages between the project and the public policy level.

 This document, the SPECIAL policy recommendations, are a good, timely and reliable reference for new governance actions aimed at sustaining new policy “triggers” for youth empowerment, development of sense of initiative and entrepreneurial attitude among youth.

The SPECIAL policy recommendations:

● provide for evidence on key areas of interest that should be tackled by policy makers to enhance and increase better opportunities for socio-economic emancipation of people at risk of marginalisation (NEETs).

● indicate a concise and comprehensive overview of the most relevant EU pieces of legislation / policy & programme actions in the field of education & training, to which local and regional policy makers should adequate to, and embed into their governance framework.

● highlight those strategic interventions that not only benefit NEETs, but the entire ecosystem of practitioners and stakeholders involved (vet providers, employment centres, etc), and their reactiveness / responsiveness to the phenomenon of youth unemployment & social disengagement.

Both documents will be accessible in the free version in six languages (English, Spanish, Italian, Icelandic, Romanian and Swedish) for viewing in October 2023 on the official Open Education resource Platform of the project.: https://projectspecial.eu

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