Edumap policy-informing workshop at UCL Institute of Education

The Edumap policy-informing workshop took place on 7 December 2016 at UCL Institute of Education. The workshop was organised and disseminated through the UCL Centre for Post-14 Education and Work network. The Centre aims to improve the relationship between education, working life and active citizenship, internationally, nationally and locally. The Centre’s networking activity is nationally focused and includes more than a hundred participants, seeking to research current and future-oriented perspectives on post-14 education and its role within society. The workshop aimed to bring together a wide range of stakeholders involved with issues relating to education, training and the social inclusion of young adults. The event also aimed to receive feedback as well as to plan future research work and develop collaboration with relevant stakeholders.

The Edumap policy-informing workshop attracted the attention of a wide range of practitioners, within and outside the network. Expression of interest was registered by more than 40 practitioners and stakeholders and some 20 participants were able to take part in the workshop. The stakeholders who participated in the workshop include practitioners working with young adults/vulnerable young adults; policy-makers; NGO representatives and researchers.

The workshop included two parts. The first part involved presenting the project (Edumap): its background, aims, purposes and emerging findings. The second part involved discussion and feedback from participants. The discussion at the workshop was extremely helpful, and practitioners’ perspectives and feedback was invaluable in better understanding the challenges, issues, problems and approaches associated with facilitating the inclusion, integration and engagement of vulnerable young adults. The discussion emphasised the following significant issues that need to be taken into account when working with vulnerable young adults in the context of adult education and improving inclusion and participation through adult education.

The following questions were raised:

  • How can disadvantaged learners’ progression, lifelong learning and outcomes be better supported through teaching and pedagogy in post-16 sector settings?
  • How can stakeholders develop a more clear approach to vulnerability and vulnerable youth (what is meant by vulnerable?)?
  • What should be in the curriculum?
  • How can we define the concept of active citizenship?
  • How do we provide value-added curriculum activities for disadvantaged learners?
  • What constitutes quality teaching (including pedagogic approaches) for this group of learners?
  • How do we track outcomes and progression?

Some solutions/recommendations offered by stakeholders included the following:

  • It is of crucial importance to facilitate collaboration among a range of stakeholders. Cooperation between the different sectors and on different levels (European, national, regional) needs to be facilitated.
  • Stakeholders (policy-makers in collaboration with practitioners) need to provide long-term planning for the education, training and engagement of vulnerable young adults.
  • In order to achieve this, it is of crucial importance to create more links between policy, practice and research.
  • Active citizenship needs to be interpreted more broadly! (It’s not just about voting, but about different kinds of participation in social life.)
  • Stakeholders need to collaborate on the following: to define specific target groups of vulnerable young adults and develop policy measures and/or programmes that address the need for active citizenship in vulnerable young adults.

The event presented a range of opportunities to build relationships and dialogue with a range of stakeholders and facilitate collaboration. The important outcome of the workshop was that the stakeholders expressed a genuine interest in the project’s topics and developments, and were very keen to develop future collaboration and cooperation in order to provide bridges between research, practice and policies.

Natasha Kersh