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A competence building framework for NEETs’ engagement and empowerment: Introducing the SPECIAL training curricula


During the implementation of SPECIAL Project Result 2, Partners mapped what are the specific needs and challenges preventing NEETs from overcoming their situation of isolation/marginalisation from the world of education and/or labour market at local level. The Countries taken into consideration were those of the Consortium: Iceland, Spain, Italy, Romania and Sweden. IHF – SPECIAL’s partner operating at International Level – provided a general mapping of the phenomenon all over Europe. The main challenges seemed to be faced by young people without proper formal education, preventing them in accessing wide employability opportunities and, generally speaking, more long-term reliable occupations in the labour market. These trends are even more tangible within the socio-economic “texture” of rural, remote and isolated areas, which per se lack of the same opportunities provided by urban hubs and centralised territories. The results emerging from the analysis, partners will develop a training curricula which learning outcomes are informed by the specific dynamics stemming from literature review, namely: skills-gap at national and international level that seem recurrent and common among all countries. Training material and other education deliverables will match the training areas and related sub-competences of two of the most robust European Training and Education Frameworks for development of entrepreneurial attitude and sense of initiative (i.e., EntreComp); and learning to learn, personal and social competences (i.e., LifeComp). Based on our analysis, out of the framework there seem to be several training areas of interest that more than others match the skills-lag that projects partners wish to address through their education and training offer. These are: Spotting opportunities Identify and seize opportunities to create value by exploring the social, cultural and economic landscape Identify needs and challenges that need to be met Establish new connections and bring together scattered elements of the landscape to create opportunities to create value Valuing Idea Judge what value is in social, cultural and economic terms Recognise the potential an idea has for creating value and identify suitable ways of making the most out of it Self-awareness and self-efficacy Reflect on your needs, aspirations and wants in the short, medium and long term Identify and assess your individual and group strengths and weaknesses Believe in your ability to influence the course of events, despite uncertainty, setbacks and temporary failures Motivation & perseverance Be determined to turn ideas into action and satisfy your need to achieve Be prepared to be patient and keep trying to achieve your long-term individual or group aims Be resilient under pressure, adversity, and temporary failure Taking the initiative Initiate processes that create value Take up challenges Act and work independently to achieve goals, stick to intentions and carry out planned tasks Planning and Management Set long-, medium- and short-term goals Define priorities and action plans Adapt to unforeseen changes Working with others Work together and co-operate with others to develop ideas and turn them into action Network Solve conflicts and face up to competition positively when necessary Learning through experience Use any initiative for value creation as a learning opportunity Learn with others, including peers and mentors Reflect and learn from both success and failure (your own and other people’s)   The training material will is available for free and in open access format via the official Open Education Resources Platform of the project:

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A transnational assessment of the NEETs’ phenomenon in EU: Evidences, findings and results from the SPECIAL project


NEETs are a heterogeneous group that faces certain barriers in the labour market. For example, the transition phase of life, lack or limited work experience are just some of the obstacles that young people may face in the labour market. A significant problem facing young people in Europe today is the lack of professional opportunities for people without higher education. This refers to the fact that some of the lowest positions in the structure of the organization require higher education, although it is not relevant to the job itself. This can be a problem for young people who, cause of some reason, do not have the opportunity to study. Some young simply do not have the means to finance their studies or maybe live in rural or remote areas or are disabled or for some other reason have limited access to high-quality education and training and social services. They are more likely to have future unemployment or reduced levels of future earnings. Besides that, the problem can be a lack of information about opportunities available to young. While on the other hand, harmful childhood experiences such as parental mental illness, divorce, and domestic violence impact result in a loss of confidence in other people and limited opportunities for those young people. Loss of motivation is a problem that young people often face. Moreover, some individuals stop looking for work due to a long period of job search and/or numerous rejections. They, same as young people who have lost faith in institutions, are unable to use their potential to help society. The increase in the number of NEETs was led by the economic crisis of 2008-2013, as well as the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in an increase in the rate to 15.2% in 2020 compared to a 14% in 2019. 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 Based on all of the above, the SPECIAL project (an international initiative co-financed by the E+ programme of the European Commission) aims at developing new education and teaching tools available to professional of the education and training ecosystem to better engage young people while supporting and sustaining their (re)integration in the labour market and in society in general. The full report is available for free and in multilanguage version via the official Open Education Resource Platform of the project:

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First face-to-face meeting of SPECIAL: Transnational Project Meeting in Pescara


On 20 June 2022, the consortium joined the second transnational meeting of the SPECIAL project, held in face-to-face format in Pescara, Italy. SPECIAL project, which brings together seven partners from six European countries (Sweden, Italy, Iceland, Belgium, Spain and Romania) and is co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Commission, aims to strengthen, reignite and nurture the “life” and “soft” skills of young people who are neither studying nor working in the European Union (NEETs) to help them (re)integrate into post-COVID societies and labour markets. During the meeting, the partners were able to strengthen their partnership by having a face-to-face meeting for the first time, as well as to discuss the status of the project in its administrative aspects, and the ongoing deliverables: the OER platform (PR1) and the needs assessment of the target group in each country (PR2). The OER platform, as the main output that will host the products resulting from the project (reports, training, guidelines and recommendations), is now available at in six languages (English, Spanish, Italian, Icelandic, Romanian and Swedish) to ensure the visibility and transfer of the results, as well as the promotion of the training of European NEETs in a simple and intuitive way, free of charge and without login. Furthermore, the consortium started the definition of the next output, the SPECIAL Training Toolkit (PR3), taking into consideration the results of the training needs assessment and the European LifeComp and EntreComp frameworks for the creation of attractive and effective content for young people not in education nor in employment. In the coming months, partners will work on the development and peer reviewing of the training contents of SPECIAL, as well as on its subsequent uploading and implementation on the OER platform. Stay tuned on the news of the SPECIAL project through the platform and the social nerworks Facebook and Youtube!

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Special OER Platform opened!


The Consortium is proud to announce that the official frontend of SPECIAL project is now available and open to the public in the link It will host all the project information, implementation, its objectives and background, as well as a specific section describing the partners involved. Here you will also find the OER platform where all the project results, contents, trainings and guidelines will be made freely available to the public. SPECIAL, a project co-funded by the European Commission, involves a Consortium of 7 partners from 6 European countries: Iceland, Belgium, Romania, Italy, Spain and Sweden. The objective of SPECIAL is 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. With this purpose the Consortium will develop tailored training contents and toolkit to enhance soft and transversal skills for career development/employability/self-empowerment of NEETs.

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An Online start for a new Erasmus+ project SPECIAL Supporting and Promotion EntreComp through Innovative Advanced Learning


SPECIAL consortium met on ZOOM with 7 Partners from 6 European countries for an online KICK-Off Meeting in the a new Erasmus+ project: SPECIAL Supporting and Promotion EntreComp through Innovative Advanced Learning. SPECIAL is a project co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union, Key Action 2, Strategic Partnership for Vocational Education and Training. 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. In SPECIAL the partners will design, develop and test training programmes that are flexible, demand-driven, tailored on targets’ needs and learners-centred. During this meeting, the Partners had the opportunity to get to know each other and discuss the work ahead. The Consortium kick-started the Project implementation by discussing the structure and design of the OER Platform under Project Result 1. Then, Partners outlined the work under Project Result 2, a transnational needs assessment where partners will map NEETs post-C19 dynamics and benchmark them against EntreComp + LifeComp. The Kick-Off Meeting also represented a great opportunity for Partners to agree upon the project logo and the web domain, in order to foster project visibility and to launch dissemination activities. For more information about SPECIAL and its partners:

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SPECIAL Approved


Approved SPECIAL Project to design, develop, test and validate a new training framework for VET operators that is instrumental to: reignite NEETs’ sense on initiative nurture NEETs’ perception of self-awareness and self-efficacy strengthen NEETs’ flexibility and adaptation to social and market labour dynamics empower NEETs’ social and life skills enhance NEETs’ employability opportunities and/or entrepreneurial spirits increase NEETs’ proficiency in critical and creative thinking for self-employability/job hunting/development of business ideas Stay Tuned!

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