Poverty, economic vulnerability and marginalization of large groups of population have become burning issues for the societies of the ETF partner countries in Western Balkans and Turkey.
Their involvement in multiple and simultaneous transitions - political, economic, social, demographic - has resulted in the erosion of social fabric and social capital, rupture or low performance of social welfare systems and traditional social safety networks, deepening of poverty and social exclusion. The same countries, on the other hand, share common present-day aspirations for EU membership and are involved in the process of accession to the European Union, for which social inclusion is a highly relevant policy area, identified as a key challenge in the Enlargement strategy 2011-2012. After the first ETF intervention in this field in the region (Social inclusion through education and training) in 2007-2011, ETF is supporting a follow up intervention for 2012-201 "VET for Social Inclusion".
ETF interventions in this field so far have been aiming to increase participation and to encourage equitable access to quality education, training and decent work in the partner countries, on the one hand, and on the other to highlight the potential of education and training in general, and of VET (Vocational Education and Training) in particular, for combatting poverty and exclusion in society.
The project will also focus on capacity building of national stakeholders in the Western Balkans, Israel and Turkey to establish policies and practices for enhancing the role of VET and its multi-dimensional contributions, not only through its skills dimension, but also through its socialisation, civic, social and equity dimensions. In doing so, ETF aims to acquire the knowledge and understanding of the situation in the countries on the role of VET in promoting employment, equity, social cohesion and active citizenship. The project is driven by the discussion of the ETF facilitated regional policy network, consisting of stakeholders from the region (a mixed profile of academics, policy makers and practitioners coming from either public institutions or NGOs), representatives of international organisations active in the region and representatives of the European Commission.