EUROPEAN SOCIAL FUND

CONNEXT for inclusion

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CONNEXT for inclusion

TCA acronym
CONNEXT
TCA status
Green -
Partnering projects
MAs approval status: 
Approved
Country:
Belgium (BE)
Project budget for transnational cooperation: € 31400.00

MAs approval status: 
Approved
Country:
Sweden (SE)
Project budget for transnational cooperation: € 35100.00

MAs approval status: 
Approved
Country:
Finland (FI)
Project budget for transnational cooperation: € 30600.00
Total TCA budget for transnational cooperation: € 97100.00
Main contact organisation
Rationale & objectives
Common problem
An estimated 7 million young Europeans between the ages of 15 and 24 are not educated and not at work (‘Not in Education, Employment nor Training’ (NEET)). Although recent efforts have reduced the number of youngsters who leave secondary school without a diploma, it remains troubling that 17,8% of young people born abroad are more than twice as likely to drop out (Education & Training monitor, 2017; European Commission, 2013; Pact 2020, 2009). In addition to their migration background, their home language and the presence of language deficiency also determine their chances of success in school (Flemish Migration & Integration Monitor, 2015).
The European Council recommends preventive measures being taken both in general education and vocational education and training, with special attention to groups of youth with an increased risk of becoming early school leavers. The position on the labour market of young people with a migrant background and without a diploma is very uncertain. The importance of preventing school dropout - and achieving a diploma - seems essential for this specific target group.
Young migrants have an increased risk in lacking connections to society, school and labour market, and this needs to be addressed in new and innovative ways as current skills and methods are not sufficient. In CONNEXT, new methods based on ‘gamification’ will create a higher level of engagement, participation and interaction for young migrants. Based on the self-determination theory, we want to achieve an increase in autonomous motivation, which leads to an increase in perseverance of study behaviour.
 
Common interests
Young migrants and refugees are in high risk of exclusion from society and the labour market. The unemployment and school dropout rates are high in Finland, Flanders and Sweden. These are issues that all of the partner organisations in CONNEXT want to tackle. The common interests are to prevent school dropouts, exclusion and unemployment among young migrants and refugees.
Professionals working with migrant youngsters need to strengthen their skills and they need new and innovative strategies and methods to engage, empower and motivate young migrants and refugees to be actors in their own lives. Current skills and tools for creating real opportunities for migrant youngsters to interact and participate in society, school and on the labour market, are not sufficient. In CONNEXT new methods will be developed, in a co-creative way, to increase motivation and confidence in the future for young migrants.
The methods in CONNEXT are based on ‘gamification,’ which is a concept of applying game-design thinking to non-game applications, in order to make them more ‘fun’ and engaging. Professionals will be trained in working with ‘serious urban games’ and the methods will be developed and tested with young migrants. Each country is responsible for more in-depth networking on different themes that are of concern to all.
CONNEXT stands for connecting and motivating people, both migrant and refugee youngster and professionals, to society and to the future. CONNEXT wants them to take the next step towards the labour market, building on co-creation and a high level of participation.
 
Common objectives
The common transnational objectives are linked to the European 2020 goal of the European Commission to reduce early dropout to below 10% by 2020 and reducing youth unemployment among young people with a migrant/refugee background. These are the specific objectives:
to prevent exclusion, school dropouts and unemployment among young migrants and refugees
to strengthen the skills of, and to develop new methods for, professionals working with young migrants and refugees, in order to engage, empower and motivate the migrants to be actors in their own lives
to increase the knowledge and awareness of professionals about horizontal perspectives and incorporating gender mainstreaming
share innovative strategies, good practices and results from related ESF projects in three partner countries
to strengthen the networking and to spread the best collaboration models (and further develop functioning models) between the project partners, and the local stakeholders
 
Added value
The transnational partnership is an added value to the project due to the common challenges, that are being tackled with different perspectives, experience and approaches. Sweden, Flanders and Finland are interesting countries in the consortium because of their mix in educational models, labour market activities and the specific approaches to prevent unqualified dropouts and unemployment among young people with a migration or refugee background. The roads leading to the common goal of reducing early dropout for migrant youth, are very different across Europe, partly because of the differences in contexts and countries, but also because there is also too little international learning from each other.
CONNEXT strives for a transnational partnership where exchange of experience, best practices and mutual learning are central, leading to innovative solutions. Apart from the consortium being represented by three countries, it is also represented by a range of actors and organisations that will challenge each other’s ways of thinking and enable reflection and thinking « outside of the box ». All partners will co-create and contribute to the project with different skills, knowledge and experiences that will be shared and combined with the purpose of developing a new and innovative method with migrant youngsters.
There will also be opportunities for networking in connection to different themes in each country. The partners will learn about differences and similarities concerning challenges and practices in each country, which will inspire and lead to new local solutions. All partners play an important role in the consortium and will produce both essential input and outputs to the project.
In CONNEXT, Flanders will have the possibility to develop a transnational program for training trainers in Serious Urban Games, and Finland and Sweden will get to train trainers and develop, explore, test and implement a new method. In addition, there will be networking and sharing of experience, knowledge and best practice in connection to important and topical themes, such as gender-sensitive career counselling; labour market integration; sport as a tool for inclusion and participation; prevention of intergenerational transfer of negative social status; families, peer support and networks of immigrant youth. Throughout these themes of the transnational meetings, the international co-operation shall bring added value especially to the horizontal perspectives, as gender mainstreaming, equal opportunities and tackling exclusion.
In the transnational context there will be a possibility to test and develop the methods for new target groups, i.e. newly arrived refugees, parents and other adults.
Work programme and working methodology
Methods
In CONNEXT, the DRØME methodology will be used to design Serious Urban Games in a participatory way. The DRØME methodology was developed by Lieve Achten for [ew32] in 2010 to set up participatory processes in a structured way, using innovative tools (Engelen & Dekelver, 2010), based on the studies and publications on Information Design and Experience Design (Jacobson, 1999). Young and old learn through scenarios, storyboards, videos, photos, games and blogs to express their insights about ‘serious’ topics in an appropriate way. The DRØME approach consists of 3 different consecutive ‘Labs’ or workshops: LearningLabs, GameLabs and TestLabs:
  • LearningLabs: gain insight into the theme, both for young people and the partners.
  • GameLabs: co-creation of stories and game mechanics.
  • TestLabs: play and evaluate the game in development.
During these processes the participants immerse and enjoy themselves: they play, create and share their experiences, insights and creations with each other. These insights are picked from reality. The players learn to share their opinions and feelings with people in similar situations.
The intergenerational aspect will be integrated in the testing of the method, involving the professionals working in guidance, young people and their parents or close ones.
The Process Communication Model (or PCM), will be used in the gamification trainings as the cooperation basis for the co-creation in the Labs. PCM takes into account the characteristics of the individuals in order to achieve successful cooperation. It provides a reliable and validated method of identifying and understanding personality differences. It teaches the skills to manage the resulting behaviour (both positive and unproductive behaviour linked to the various personality profiles).
The pedagogical theory will be based on Deci & Ryan’s ‘Self Determination Theory’. In this theory, increasing autonomous motivation is possible by increasing:
  • Autonomy: freedom of choice, "I can choose/do it myself"
  • Relational solidarity: "I belong", refers to a feeling of connecting with fellow pupils and teacher. Getting satisfaction from social relationships
  • Competence: Refers to faith in and trust that one can achieve the desired (learning) results. Importance of success experiences, positive feedback.
The aim is to prevent exclusion and school dropout - and unemployment - among migrant youth by increasing their autonomous motivation through an urban game that focuses on these three basic psychological needs. Applied to the ‘Self Determination Theory’, these are the goals:
  • Autonomy: the game offers the possibility to make independent choices. It also teaches that your own choices are relevant, have an impact, and can help determine your own future.
  • Relational connection: the game is based on PCM and strongly focuses on the communication skills of young people and their environment (parents, coaches, teachers etc). This enables them to feel more connected to each other and their environment, making them more satisfied with their social relationships. Moreover, it ensures that young people can express themselves better, and thus also make it easier communicate their problems better, before they stop their education.
  • Competence: the aim of the game is to gain insight into their own talents. This way, they develop better self-assessment and higher self-confidence. They trust more in the fact that they can achieve the desired results, and that completing their education is useful.
By aiming at these three basic psychological needs, we want to increase the autonomous motivation of young people. This will make them show more perseverance, prevent school dropouts and facilitate labour market participation.
In CONNEXT there will be gamification trainings for professionals working with young migrants and refugees in Flanders, Finland and Sweden and the method will also be tested with migrant youngsters, and partly implemented, in each country. In addition to the trainings of trainers, there will be a focus on specific themes in each country, related to migrant youth participation and establishment on the labour market. In between trainings and meetings, a program for core trainers will be developed as well as an online support structure. ‘Core trainers’ organise the serious games in their own organisation on their own initiative. He or she aims to become an expert in organising the game. Local trainers accompany the games from start to finish. This person is linked to an external organisation and has followed a training on gamification. A local trainer aims to become an expert in stimulating dialogue on the local topics. Core and local trainers shall be supported on a digital platform. This ‘Serious Urban Game platform’ is a web based interactive platform in which the trainers and youngsters interact through livestreams with each other in order to show each other the way. It’s a virtual environment with real live actions.
Each transnational meeting will also consist of networking, aimed at the sharing of knowledge, experiences and best practices in relation to the different themes, as well as an encounter with the target group of migrant youngsters. These encounters will allow for cross-border learning on horizontal perspectives, intercultural dialogue, gender-sensitive career counselling; labour market integration; sport as a tool for inclusion and participation; families, peer support and networks of immigrant youths. The voice of migrants will be heard as well: they will add their (positive and negative) experiences on all these topics, and their point of view on the possible solutions. 
By focusing on the building of trust of boys with a migrant background in Finland, we want to reduce the risk for early school dropout and the subsequent intergenerational transmission of negative social status. We also want to use sport as a tool for passion based learning, inclusion and participation and ensure that the boys have a hobby and a group which they feel to belong to. In addition, we are interested in enhancing the positive effect of physical activity on learning. Specifically, the trust in the school system and community has to be enhanced in order to keep them at school. Beside Metropolia, The Finnish consortium in CONNEXT shall include key players in the field: Omnia and Stadin Ammattioppilaitos, which are the two biggest secondary, vocational schools in Helsinki Metropolitan area; Sports Federation of Southern Finland ESLU; and Helsinki YMCA (in Finnish HNMKY).
In CONNEXT, the partners will also share knowledge, experience, best practices and results of previous or ongoing ESF-projects. Karlstad has experience with ESF projects for professionals, NEETs, youngsters, people with disabilities, immigrants and refugees (i.e. KLURA, Mobilisering för ungas etablering, Porten, Värmlands Framtid, Värmlands Unga, Värmlands Nya and Värmland Tillsammans). [ew32] has been involved in two ESF projects: #WORK and Business Angels. #Work is a city game in which young job searchers are guided in their search of a job. The youngsters contact several organisations which can help with the first steps on the job. Business Angels, also a city game, is about entrepreneurship and self-knowledge. The gamers learn how a company works and find out how smart investments and creative ideas can prevent bankruptcy. Artevelde University College Ghent has been involved in 19 ESF projects, of which 11 as project lead. Topics were migrant entrepreneurship, teamwork and learning in specific groups, amongst others. Metropolia has coordinated 38 ESF projects in Finland, and is currently responsible for ‘Osuma - The Inclusive Finland’ which coordinates the ‘Skills for Inclusion’ ESF projects in Finland. The recent ESF projects on immigrants and young people have a focus on empowerment, co-creation, future orientation and gender sensitive approaches.
 
Work programme
Activity 1.
November 2018: Project planning meeting in Finland
Participants: Project management team from all three partners
  • Planning first project meeting in Belgium
  • Reviewing and finalising activity plan
  • Dissemination plan
  • Plan for integration of horizontal perspectives
  • Communication plan
  • Launching website
  • Assessment and evaluation plan
  • Risk-analysis
Activity 2.
March 2019: Project meeting in Flanders on labour market integration and sports as a tool for integration and participation.
Participants: Project management teams from all three partners; professionals from all three partners participating in training; migrant youngsters; local actors working with migrant youngsters in school and after-school activities.
Program:
 
Project team
Trainers
Day 1
  • Arrivals
  • Networking reception
  • Arrivals
  • Networking reception
Day 2
  • Gamification training: LearningLab
  • Gamification training: LearningLab
Day 3
  • Gamification training: GameLab
  • Gamification training: GameLab lab
Day 4
  • Gamification training: TestLab
  • Evaluation
  • Gamification training: TestLab
  • Evaluation
Day 5
  • Networking (study visits, best practice, workshops/seminars) with focus on:
  • labour market integration (Sweden & Flanders)
  • sports as a tool for participation and integration (Finland & Flanders)
  • A workshop on causes and solutions on gender related early school leaving
  • Migrant youth encounter
  • Networking (study visits, best practice, workshops/seminars) with focus on :
  • labour market integration (Sweden & Flanders)
  • sports as a tool for participation and integration (Finland & Flanders)
  • A workshop on causes and solutions on gender related early school leaving
  • Migrant youth encounter
Day 6
  • Steering group meeting
  • Assessment workshop
  • Planning the next project meeting in Sweden and filming of the project
  • Departure
Day 7
Departure
 
 
Activity 3.
Ongoing: Testing of the transnational methods on the local level (part 1)
Participants: Trainers and migrants (and their parents) from all three partners
 
Activity 4.
Every 6 weeks: Pedagogical online support on the gamification method
Participants: Trainers from all three partners
 
Activity 5.
Every 6 weeks: Online project meetings
Participants: Project management from all three partners
 
Activity 6.
October 2019: Project meeting in Sweden on families, peer support and networks.
Participants: Project management teams from all three partners; core trainers from all three partners as well as new local trainers; professionals participating in trainings from all three partners; migrant youngsters and local actors working with migrant youngsters in school and after-school activities.
Program:
 
Project team
Core trainers
Local new trainers
Day 1
Arrivals
Arrivals
 
Day 2
Gamification training and LearningLab
Gamification training and LearningLab
Gamification training and LearningLab
Day 3
  • Steering group meeting
  • Assessment
  • Planning the next project meeting in Finland
  • Peer support workshops
  • Evaluation
  • Gamification training and GameLab
Day 4
  • Networking (study visits, best practice, workshops/seminars) with focus on families, peer support and networks
  • Seminar on Schyst! (equal communication) and “A real man” (men and gender equality)
  • Migrant youth encounter
  • Departures
  • Networking (study visits, best practice, workshops/seminars) with focus on families, peer support and networks
  • Seminar on Schyst! (equal communication) and “A real man” (men and gender equality)
  • Migrant youth encounter
  • Departures
  • Networking (study visits, best practice, workshops/seminars) with focus on families, peer support and networks
  • Seminar on Schyst! (equal communication) and “A real man” (men and gender equality)
  • Migrant youth encounter
Day 5
  • Last departures
  • Last departures
  • Gamification training and TestLab.
  • Evaluation.
 
A shooting of the project film will take place during Activity 6 with a focus on the making of a tutorial on the new methods and transnational cooperation.
 
Activity 7.
Ongoing: Testing of the transnational methods on the local level (part 2)
Participants: Trainers and migrants (and their parents) from all three partners.
 
Activity 8.
Every 6 weeks: Pedagogical online support on the gamification method
Participants: Trainers from all three partners
 
Activity 9.
Every 6 weeks: Online project meetings
Participants: Project management from all three partners
 
Activity 10.
May 2020: Project meeting in Finland on gender sensitive career counselling
Participants: Project management teams from all three partners; core trainers from all three partners as well as new local trainers; professionals participating in trainings from all three partners; migrant youngster and local actors working with migrant youngsters in school and after-school activities.
Program:
 
Project team
Core trainers
Local new trainers
Day 1
  • Arrivals
  • Arrivals
 
Day 2
  • Gamification training and LearningLab
  • Gamification training and LearningLab
  • Gamification training and LearningLab
Day 3
  • Steering group meeting
  • Assessment
  • Planning the next project meeting in Finland
  • Peer support workshops
  • Evaluation
  • Gamification training and GameLab
Day 4
  • Networking (study visits, best practice, workshops/seminars) with focus on gender sensitive career counselling
  • Workshop with Maahanmuuttajamiestyön verkosto (network for NGOs working with immigrant boys and men)
  • Migrant youth encounter.
  • Departures
  • Networking (study visits, best practice, workshops/seminars) with focus on gender sensitive career counselling
  • Workshop with Maahanmuuttajamiestyön verkosto (network for NGOs working with immigrant boys and men)
  • Migrant youth encounter.
  • Departures
  • Networking (study visits, best practice, workshops/seminars) with focus on gender sensitive career counselling
  • Workshop with Maahanmuuttajamiestyön verkosto (network for NGOs working with immigrant boys and men)
  • Migrant youth encounter.
Day 5
  • Last departures
  • Last departures
  • Gamification training and TestLab
  • Evaluation
 
Activity 11.
Ongoing: Testing of the transnational methods on the local level (part 3)
Participants: Trainers and migrants (and their parents) from all three partners
 
Activity 12.
Every 6 weeks: Pedagogical online support on the gamification method
Participants: Trainers from all three partners
 
Activity 13.
Every 6 weeks: Online project meetings
Participants: Project management from all three partners
 
Activity 14.
September 2020: Evaluation sessions with trainers and project stakeholders in each country, coordinated by Artevelde University College Ghent.
 
Activity 15.
November 2020: Finalising project meeting in Flanders
Participants: Project management representatives from all three partners
Finalising meeting for:
  • Assessment and evaluation report of CONNEXT
  • Evaluation of transnational collaboration
  • Online transnational handbook on gamification and train-the-trainers methods  for core trainers.
  • Film with tutorial of CONNEXT
  • Implementation plan
  • Dissemination plan.
Organisation & decision-making
Steering group
CONNEXT will have a steering group with project managers from each country responsible for decision making matters in the project. The steering group will meet face-to-face during the project planning meeting in November 2018, during the project meetings in 2019 and 2020, and during the finalising meeting in November 2020. In between these meetings there will be VoIP-meetings every six weeks.
The working language in the project will be English.
Flanders
Flanders is responsible for :
  • Program and arrangements for the project meetings in Belgium.
  • Training of the trainers and online support on gamification for trainers.
  • Making an online transnational handbook on gamification and train-the-trainers methods for core trainers.
  • Assessments and evaluations including an assessment and evaluation report and evaluation sessions.
Finland
Finland is responsible for :
  • Program and arrangements for the planning meeting and the project meeting in Finland.
  • Setting up and coordination of the website for CONNEXT.
  • Communication with Policy Area Education and interaction & communication to the EU strategy for Baltic Sea Region.
Sweden
Sweden is responsible for :
  • Program and arrangements for project meeting in Sweden.
  • Making a film with a tutorial of the project.
  • Assessments and evaluations including an assessment and evaluation report.
TCA agreement
Date of signature of TCA
Wednesday, 9 May, 2018
Editorial status
Published