The VOLCANO Project aims to develop and test a learning pathway for the target groups of indigenous BME, migrants and refugee populations who are economically inactive, and who have second or additional language to the host country for entry into the social care sector within healthcare provision. The project will provide language level testing, skills and competencies audits which will match to the sector, combined with vocational language courses and practical work experience. This is a growth sector for Europe as our populations ages; currently there are an anticipated 8.4% (18 million) jobs in the EU in this sector.
The project has several objectives:
1. To demonstrate that people with language levels of A2 to B1 can be sustainability employed in this sector, thereby providing them with opportunities (previously though to be difficult) which are commensurate with their existing skills and experience from overseas.
2. To address the known and growing skills gap across Europe which exists in lower levels of social /healthcare (due to population decline and movements, increased professionalisation and traditional low status and low pay).
3. To take advantage of greater in work learning opportunities in the sector which has opened up a new route into employment for people from overseas which means their lack of entry qualifications can be supplemented by in work learning allowing them to progress through the industry.
4. To provide a diverse labour force which more closely resembles the diverse nature of the elderly community in Europe accessing social and healthcare.
The project aims to provide preparation for entry into the sector at care assistant level. The project will address the barriers faced by the target group, which include:
Non-recognition of prior learning and experience from overseas;
Lack of confidence, motivation or the lack of chances to engage with the labour market or training;
Lack of experience of local labour market, recruitment practices and poor networks promoting employability;
Racism, prejudice and discrimination;
Poor employment rates and the employment gap between indigenous communities and BME /Migrant communities.
The project will cascade a strategy enhancing education and employability practice that meets objectives within the 2020 strategy, which has set a target of 75% employment rate in Europe. The Bruges communique, in this context, calls for VET to better respond to labour market needs. This requires and improved understanding of emerging and evolving sectors and their skills needs as well as better mechanisms to translate this understanding into corresponding training provision. The project will contribute to this by providing education and training leading to employment in the Social Care/Health care sector by targeting BME’s furthest from the labour market not currently fully provided for within many EU employability strategies. A group with one of the highest unemployment rates and poorest educational standards of any specific group within EU labour market statistics. It will provide portable skills for the target group to enhance mobility in the European social care//healthcare market.