ERASMUS+ - RISE - Realising Integration through Social Enterprise, 2018-2020

The RISE Project aims to investigate the integration of unemployed adults and young people into the labour market through the mechanism of Social Enterprise. Each of the partners in this proposed RISE Project has substantial experience in the provision of vocational education and training for socio-economically disadvantaged learners, most of whom are immigrants and early school leavers. The partners also have previous experience of collaboration through the ERASMUS+ framework, delivering innovative activation solutions in order to increase the employment focus of provision (EU 2020). Between our six countries, the rates of unemployment span from 4% (Germany) to 23% (Greece) and an analysis of the conditions which have given rise to such variance will provide very useful information for the advancement of the Project.

The Action Plan for the Integration of Third Country Nationals (European Commission 2016) emphasises the need to promote early integration into the labour market of migrants as they continue to face barriers in accessing employment and who are at risk of poverty and social exclusion compared to host country nationals. The Commission recommends: 1) encouraging entrepreneurship through tailored business training and mentoring; 2) the identification of best practices to promote and support migrant entrepreneurship and the funding of pilot projects for their dissemination and 3) the production of handbooks and toolboxes for practitioners (p.19). According to SESBA (2016), the development of the social economy and social entrepreneurship is an important part of EU policy to tackle the social exclusion of vulnerable people (p.129). For the RISE Project, the particular appeal of the Social Enterprise model relates to its strong social purpose while also operating as a sustainable commercial entity. It is a model that is particularly relevant in the VET sphere as it facilitates learners to gain autonomy through creativity, co-operation, innovation and risk-taking all of which are necessary for the implementation of a successful Social Enterprise. It is against this backdrop that the RISE Project puts forward the following objectives:

  1. Share and document information regarding the level of social enterprise activity (including social enterprise training resources) in our respective countries, including examples of best practice.
  2. Role of education providers focussing on our target groups with its special needs.
  3. Exchange of information during the 5 project meetings

The RISE Project will focus on the creation of positive social change for individuals and communities while at the same time enabling our learners to harness their entrepreneurial potential in order to deliver a viable, commercial product or service within a spirit of co-operation and collectivism.