University of Deusto, in Bilbao – Basque Country, was the venue for the last ENLIVEN National Dissemination Event, organized by the Spanish project’s team on June 24th. Based on the findings of different work packages (1, 5, 6 & 7), the workshop aimed at promoting the debate about adult education in different educational contexts as well as allowing for the exchange of good practices related to the education for vulnerable groups. It counted with the participation of academic and non-academic stakeholders and specifically approached the following themes:
- European lifelong learning policies
- Projects directed to lifelong learning in different social and professional contexts
- Lifelong learning challenges and opportunities
Attendance was varied, with participants from academia, practitioners and policymakers in the field, as well as a group of young researchers. The organization of the meeting was approached in a dynamic way where data presentations were debated by practitioners. This system, together with the variety of participants, favoured the exchange of experiences and ideas from a wide range of perspectives.
The event was divided into three parts. The first introductory part started with a welcoming session by ENLIVEN’s member and University of Deusto’s Vicerrector for Research and Transfer, Rosa Santibañez. Her introduction to the event was followed by a presentation of ENLIVEN project by Josu Solabarrieta, Dean of the Faculty of Psychology and Education at Deusto and also a member of the project’s team. He explained the main objectives of the project and their comparative approach.
The second part of the workshop presented some reflexions on the conceptual framework adopted by ENLIVEN project and the findings derived from Work Package 1 (WP1) in relation to the analysis of vulnerable groups on EU Lifelong learning policies. In this direction, Concepción Maiztegui, University of Deusto, introduced ENLIVEN’s Dynamic Model of Vulnerability and discussed how the vulnerable collectives are represented by European policies. She also highlighted the following main findings of the study:
- the study explores the processual nature of the concept of vulnerability, within an individual life course and relating to social changes across time and also the degree of intersectionality inherent in policy concepts on vulnerability;
- according to findings, employability is considered the main paths to promote social inclusion.
- there is a need to identify a combination of barriers faced by vulnerable collectives and to address structural factors rather than focusing only on the individual;
- policy efforts targeting youth inclusion should pay attention to both lifelong learning policies more generally and to youth-specific measures and environments;
The third part of the workshop was organized around three round-tables which aimed to show how European lifelong learning policies have been materialized in practice in Spain under three domains: (1) youth learning inside companies, (2) youth preparation to the labour market and (3) the role of peer support in adult learning. Each roundtable was composed by ENLIVEN’s members in Deusto, a stakeholder presenting a practice related to the respective theme and an external mediator who commented main results and open the debate.
The first roundtable approached the development of young people inside corporate settings. Iciar Elexpuru and Fernando Díez, from the University of Deusto, presented ENLIVEN’s results related to Work Packages 5 and 6 and counted with the participation of Iker Usabiaga, Director of Social Management at Danobat Group. He talked about the challenges faced by companies when hiring and developing people inside their structures. The stimulating debate focused on the possibilities of training in one’s own company as a necessity for one’s own company, as well as for young professionals. Motivation and career opportunities as well as the combination of personal and working time were some of the topics discussed.
The second case analysed how ‘Youth Guarantee’ programme funds. Alvaro Moro, University of Deusto, presented the main features of the Youth Garantee program, as well as the main findings from the case studies on Wp1 related to this program. Karmele Artaraz, from Sartu. Gastaroa  one of the sites of our research, introduced the characteristics of the education programme which uses tailored mentoring to equip youngsters from vulnerable areas with skills to find a job. Finally, Roberto Fernandez, from Kooperatiba Peñascal, opened the debate on the educative strategies for vulnerable youth population and the role of the practitioners. In this case the presentations and comments revolved around the concept of individualized professional guidance as a strategy used to involve young people who have had complicated school trajectories. The debate stressed that it will be important not only to focus on the development of employability skills, but also to examine the structural features and changes introduced on the demand side in order to overcome the high levels of youth unemployment that still persist in a number of European countries.
At the last table, Marisa Dominguez, from the Department of Adult Education of the Basque Government, led a debate on the relationship between equals in different educational contexts (non-formal and informal). It started with the presentation by the organization Acción contra le Hambre/ Action Against Hunger. Represented by Lorena Hernandéz, the institution makes use of different learning strategies, and especially of peer support, in order to help vulnerable collectives to either find a job or become entrepreneurs. Deusto’s ENLIVEN team presented main results from WP1 and Wp7. Among others, two major themes were identified. Firstly, the importance of reflection on the personal situation and the learning process itself, as a preliminary measure for progress in personal development and employability. Second, the variety of educational opportunities (including informal ones such as participation in the trade union or associative world) that are complex to classify as educational at face value. However, the opportunity to interview people involved has allowed us to advance in the analysis of the outcomes that come from participation in these processes, such as greater personal security, communication skills or new social relationships.
In summary, the workshop was an enriching experience for participants, who had the chance to exchange views and practices and to discuss possible pathways for better development, interpretation and application of lifelong learning policies inside the European context.