Participants who took part in the Go Further Reach Higher project included young people who have experienced social exclusion, have additional support needs or were early school leavers.
As a result of the Key Action 1 VET mobility project 84% of the participants who undertook a two-week work experience placement abroad are still studying in their chosen subject areas and progressing in their professional lives.
The project is led by not-for-profit organisation Everything is Possible. Based in Yorkshire, it has been providing inclusion opportunities to UK participants for over 16 years.
Working with five diverse UK vocational institutions, over the course of the project over 90 young people from the UK have experienced an international training opportunity. In addition, 43 VET professionals have also undertaken a professional placement abroad.
Promoting inclusion through mobility
The young trainees were all selected from UK VET Providers from either the animal management or carpentry provisions and ranged between 17 and 25 years old. Many participants were on the verges of their vocational courses, struggling with integration or experiencing significant obstacles outside of college. Much of the training programme related to soft skills and aimed to develop the young people’s job-readiness, appropriate social behaviour, work ethic and cultural awareness.
Erasmus+ has helped us to further the lives of young people that are on the verges of exclusion. - Clair Brown, Everything is Possible
VET organisations involved in the project from the UK included Askham Bryan College, York College and Kirklees College. Participants took part in a two week work experience placement which was relevant to their vocational field. This included carpentry organisations in Portugal and Sweden, a cat sanctuary in Malta or a donkey sanctuary in Aruba. Participants took part in practical activities in line with their chosen industry and studies back home.
Tracey Law, a trainee veterinary nurse from Huddersfield, travelled to Aruba to develop her professional skills and gain work experience to help her reach her goal of becoming a vet. During the placement at a donkey sanctuary she carried out various health treatments for the animals including tetanus vaccinations. Since returning, she was offered a full time job in a vet practice.
Personally I learned I can communicate with anyone even with a language barrier. The placement helped me to gain more work experience and the skills to put forward for becoming a vet. - Tracey Law, participant
One of the biggest learning outcomes from the project was the improved communication of participants. On their return to the UK, the young people were asked to present their experiences in a number of innovative ways. This included creating a comic strip of their placement, Powerpoint presentation, videos and sharing verbally with other students in their tutor group back within their own college setting. See the participant’s testimonies and comic book stories on the project website.
In this video interview project co-ordinator Clair Brown said Erasmus+ had been a wonderful mechanism for Everything is Possible. “It has introduced us to new partners and it’s helped us to grow up. When the programme changed we were a little bit fearful that inclusion would go off the agenda. But by introducing Erasmus+ there has a been a lot of opportunities we had not considered before which really fit naturally with our organisation. It helped us to further the lives of young people that are on the verges of exclusion and allows us to work with colleges and VET providers, to help prevent them getting to that stage.”
Would you like to find out more about how Erasmus+ supports inclusion? Visit our widening participation themed webpage for policy information and best practices.