Learning Networks - Employability

At the last event

26 September 2019

At the last Learning Networks event, the Employability workshop looked at employment and entrepreneurship, with attendees discussing issues linked to this theme, as well as hearing from case studies and the UK National Agency.

We invited Neil Finnie from Corkscrew Ltd, Trevor Burgess from Rinova Ltd, as well as Heather Hedley and Heather Houston from Belfast Metropolitan College, who all shared their experiences of running entrepreneur-focused Erasmus+ projects. We were also delighted to welcome Gursimran Vim, an Erasmus+ participant who spoke about how her experiences abroad helped to develop her business idea. 

You can download the event notes (464 KB) and view the presentation from the day.

5 December 2018

At the December event, the Employability workshop looked at employability through three key perspectives: the Erasmus+ participant, research and beneficiary organisations. Attendees heard from Leicester College and University of Nottingham, as well as listened to the experiences of EuroApprentice Rebecca Finn and EuroPeer Teodora Agarici. 

You can download the event report (922 KB) and view all the presentations from the day.

How does the topic relate to Erasmus+?

According to the Programme Guide, the Erasmus+ Programme aims to contribute to the Europe 2020 Strategy and the Education and Training 2020 (ET 2020) strategic framework.   

“The Programme supports actions, cooperation and tools consistent with the objectives of the Europe 2020 Strategy and its flagship initiatives, such as Youth on the Move and the Agenda for new skills and jobs. The Programme also contributes to achieve the objectives of the Education and Training Strategic Framework for European cooperation in Education and Training and of the European Youth Strategy through the Open Methods of Coordination.

This investment in knowledge, skills and competences will benefit individuals, institutions, organisations and society as a whole by contributing to growth and ensuring equity, prosperity and social inclusion in Europe and beyond.” Page 5

The Europe 2020 strategy aims to deliver economic growth through more effective investments in education, research and innovation that will deliver sustainable job creation and poverty reduction. ET 2020 aims to support countries in making improvements to their national education and training systems; in particular, by helping to raise attainment levels, supporting progression and transition through the education system and improving transition into the labour market.

 UK and Devolved Administration policy priorities reflect the Europe 2020 country-specific recommendations for the UK (2013) which include:

  • Improving the quantity and quality of apprenticeships;
  • Strengthening engagement with employers; and
  • Reducing the proportion of young people with poor basic skills.

You can read the latest Europe 2020 report on the UK on the European Commission’s website. You can also download the 2016 UK country report and the finalised recommendations for 2016

In November 2015 the Council of the European Union published a joint report with the European Commission reviewing the implementation of the Strategic Framework for European cooperation in education and training (ET202020) and priorities for European cooperation in education and training.

Projects across the three Key Actions of Erasmus+ have employability as an aim, and this is relevant to all sectors covered by the programme. For example one of the horizontal priorities for Key Action 2 Strategic Partnerships is:

"Transparency and recognition of skills and qualifications: priority will be given to actions that facilitate employability as well as learning and labour mobility and facilitate transitions between different levels and types of education and training, between education/training and the world of work, and between different jobs. Priority will be given to actions promoting recognition as well as transparency and comparability of qualifications and learning outcomes, including through the provision of better services and information/guidance on skills and qualifications." Page 121

More specific information for organisations interested in applying for funding in this area, can be found in the apply for funding section of the website.

There are many projects already working on employability across the different fields of education, training and youth.  Results from across all participating countries can be found in the European Commission’s Project Results Platform. The platform allows you to search by key words such as inclusion or equal opportunities and includes:

  • A project database including links & summaries;
  • A database of project results giving access to learning outcomes;
  • The showcasing of good practices and success stories.

Eurydice summarises employability as a combination of knowledge, competences and personal attributes. The presentation also reflects on the combination of ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ skills that makes up employability, and considers the challenge of how employability can be measured. View the presentation (3.53 MB) to find out more.

Other useful resources recommended by Learning Networks participants are:

  • Monash University's employability skills webpage was recommended as a useful starting point for identifying employability skills.
  • Outcome Stars was suggested as useful tool to measure soft skills for voluntary organisations working with people with specific needs or those with fewer opportunities.

You can also find below some case studies of UK projects working in this area. Case studies will be added on an ongoing basis. If you are working in this topic area, why not send us your own case study?

Policy information

UK policies relating to employability in education, training and youth are generally dependent on country and sector.

We have selected some useful links below, but please note this doesn’t necessarily represent all sectors or countries. We will update links as policies change or are announced:

In Scotland, the overarching strategic approach is to produce the skilled workforce necessary to realise Scotland’s Economic Strategy and to develop policies and approaches to improve productivity and reduce inequality.

Vocational education and training

In England, the Government has pledged to support three million new apprenticeships. It has pledged to improve skills training by replacing lower level classroom based further education courses with high quality apprenticeships and a rollout of degree level apprenticeships. Further Education will be improved through a network of National Colleges for specialist high-level vocational training in sectors critical to economic growth.

In Scotland, a programme of reform has resulted in the creation of larger, more influential colleges with a sharper focus on helping learners enter quality employment or progress to higher level education. The Scottish Government will implement the recommendations for Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce to reduce youth unemployment in Scotland by 40% by 2021 by ensuring closer collaboration between schools, colleges and industry.

In Wales, the Welsh Government, in line with the Programme for Government, aims over the next five years to create a minimum of 100,000 high quality all age apprenticeships that aligns with economic need. There are over 120 apprenticeship frameworks in Wales and the range of industries that offer Apprenticeships is now bigger than ever. The Welsh Government’s Policy Statement on Skills identified the work that is currently ongoing which links future provision to meeting the needs of individuals, employers and the local economy that will strengthen the relevance of both the Apprenticeship Framework and Further Education Learning programmes.

In Northern Ireland, the apprenticeships strategy includes the provision of opportunities for apprentices to undertake an international placement. Resources have been allocated to Colleges NI to support promotion of EU programmes including Erasmus+ in the Further Education sector and to facilitate exploration of potential partnerships. The Further Education Strategy ‘Further Education Means Success’, launched in January 2016, is currently being implemented with the aim to further develop the professional and technical education and training system in Northern Ireland that will support the economy and provide pathways for all to reach their full potential.


In England, the Government has aimed to abolish long-term youth unemployment by providing support to those 16-17 year olds not in education, employment or training and to those who risk becoming so. The Government has also committed to guaranteeing a place on the National Citizen Service for every 16 and 17-year-old who wants one. 

In Scotland, Education Scotland, the Scottish Government and YouthLink Scotland are currently working collaboratively to advance the national Youth Work Strategy’s implementation plan. 

In Wales, the Welsh Government’s Traineeship Programme will provide some 25,000 places over the next four years on its training programme for 16-18 year olds and those not otherwise engaged in education or employment. The programme seeks to improve skill levels through the delivery of entry level qualifications up to NVQ Level 2.

Join the group

Photography of employability Learning Networks group

Learning Networks meet twice a year in different locations across the UK. Take a look at our events page for detailed information about the last event. Would you like to join the Employability group? Sign-up to our mailing list and we will contact you to let you know when the next event is taking place!

Case Studies