The European Commission has designated 2023 as the European Year of Skills (EYS). The overall aim is to embed lifelong education and training in the EU while highlighting the major role of continuous learning in the society and the economy when considered not only on a country level but to a European one. The EYS programme focuses on developing a commitment to reskilling and upskilling in order to empower individuals and improve their employability, tackling this way labour shortages and at the same time it boosts the competitiveness of companies and especially SMEs. Through this Programme skills development is promoted as a tool to support social inclusion by prioritizing some target groups such as NEETs.
Stay – On project, funded by the EEA & Norway Grants Programme, strongly supports the EYS initiative. It aims at fostering youth empowerment to a direct target group of at least 1.100 NEETs, by providing adequate skills for the rural labour market, especially in traditional sectors, such as agriculture. Particular attention is given to digital skills, abilities to manage environmental impacts and personal development. The project responds to the objectives of the EYS programme through an innovative multi-stakeholder participation method. To achieve the set-out objectives, Stay – On project undertakes a series of interlinked activities that follow an amended version of the Community – Based Development Approach. Our approach initiates with the implementation of continuous life/career coaching support and a series of training courses on digital and environmental topics planned according to the local needs, aiming at the development of soft and hard skills, resulting in the formulation and collection of policy proposals. From a timeline perspective we have initiated the second iteration of the approach that will give us the opportunity to revisit ideas and critically reflect on their implications.
The approach has been successfully applied once in 5 implementing partner countries and a set of policy proposals have been collected while at the same time success stories have been created among our target group. For instance, Joana Rijo, a 26-year-old girl from Fenais da Luz in São Miguel Island. Right from the beginning, she showed her interest in starting her own business, but she still did not have her area of interest fully established. The participant said that she liked to work in shifts, but not as a waitress, which is why the coach suggested that she applies for rent-a-car and other tour companies. Joana structured a text to send by email to some companies and, under the supervision of the coach, shared her availability. Fifteen days after joining Stay – On, Joana had already received two job offers, one from a local rent-a-car company and the other from a tour guide company. Joana is now very happy as a tour guide. “It has allowed me to grow professionally”, as she said to her coach.
Stay – on Project