RIPESS has been engaging in educational and training activities at different levels, mainly through it’s member organisations.

Since September 2016, RIPESS Europe has started to work with some of its members on Initial Vocational Education and Training (IVET) through an Erasmus+ project (“Social and Solidarity Economy in Europe: affirming a new paradigm through IVET curricula innovation”).

The countries directly involved in the project were: Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Greece, Germany, Italy, Portugal, and Romania.
The partners were:APDES – Portugal (Coordinator), ASPECT – Bulgária, CRIES – Romania, Glafka – Tzchech Republic, IED – Greece, RIPESS Europe, Solidarius Italia, Technet – Germany

This project aimed to affirm the Social Solidarity Economy (SSE) in Europe through curricula innovation in Initial Vocational and Educational Training (IVET). Its main inspiring vision is a comprehensive training and professional development of younger generations, which integrates alternative socio-economic models and paradigms in their framework of ideas and attitudes.

Duration: 2 years (Set. 2016 – Aug. 2018)

Objectives of the project:
1. To assess the opportunities and obstacles to the promotion of SSE in IVET programmes at national and European level.
2. Develop a set of training modules on SSE.
3. To promote the inclusion of training modules in PEF programmes at national and European level.

Target groups:
VET providers at local, national and European level, who develop training in economics, management, finance and social issues in the upper secondary and non-tertiary levels
– Local, national and European SSE organisations.
Political decision-makers at national and European level.
IVET trainees at local and national level.

A brief description of the project can be found in the SSEE IVET Erasmus flyer (pdf).

Main outcomes and results:

  1. Mapping report

The Social Solidarity Economy (SEE) increasingly asserts itself as a vibrant and promising socio-economic model in the EU and in various parts of the world. Although it is not easy to find a common definition of SSE throughout Europe, this survey asserts SSE as a transformative approach towards all socio-economic activities, which promotes democracy at work and in the community, social justice in the benefits distribution (both in terms of positive impact and surplus) and ecological awareness of the planet’s limits, intelligent use of natural resources, and limiting or not permitting the private exploitation of common goods.

A change in paradigm requires a change in consciousness. This is why education and training are a fundamental piece of this process – and particularly Initial Vocational and Educational Training (IVET) with its great potential to transform younger generations into citizens and professionals who are more knowledgeable and aware, as well as more able to deal with current societal challenges. SSE stakeholders are developing specific economic mechanisms, based on cooperation, equity and solidarity in labour organisation, inclusive and sustainable development regarding the sectors organisation, the distribution of wealth and the assessment of value, instruments and partnerships organising the co-designing and co-building of public policies aiming at general interest and a solidarity bond between generations.

Therefore, this report aims at identifying the opportunities and constraints in the countries involved to achieve this goal of including SSE in IVET national curricula, adding some transversal insights to the depiction of each country situation. It is the result of a research through a common template to collect information and data related to SSE in IVET curricula in different European countries involved in the project, in order to “map” the existing situation.

2. Training modules SSE IVET

This document is the first part of a package of pilot training modules aimed at promoting the Social Solidarity Economy at the level of Initial Vocational and Educational Training. This package is composed by the following training modules:

These training modules are a tool for trainers working in initial vocational and educational training (IVET). IVET covers several pathways through the education system, usually before entering working life, and can start at age 14 and be stretched out potentially to age 25 (age limits differ from country to country in the European landscape).

We believe that it is crucial to invest in the education and training of future generations so that young people can grow up as citizens who develop their professional activity with a more critical view on the current economic system. For this we need a more innovative IVET curricula, which promotes discussion around alternative socio-economic models and paradigms – such as the Social Solidarity Economy (SSE).

3. Policy brief

The experience throughout the 2 years of this project allowed us to come up with some first conclusions and recommendations towards national and European policy and decision makers, which have been summarized in a Policy brief.

This document has been presented during the final seminar in Oporto (Portugal), on the 13th of July 2018together with an action plan.

4. Action Plan for affirming SSE in IVET curricula

The Action Plan is a tool in a common advocacy strategy for affirming SSE in IVET curricula at European and national levels. From the project onwards, it was necessary to identify strategic partnerships in order to create strong alliances for achieving good results and sustainability of the project. This document presents the partners national action oriented strategies to advocate for inclusion of modules in the IVET curricula and also the joint European main strategies to affirm SSE in the training and professional development of new generations entering the labour market. On the base of a policy brief and their national plans, each partner presents its own advocacy strategy based on their national reality (RIPESS based on the European context).

Needs and challenges

The project rationale is based in two main assumptions:

– SSE as an alternative socio-economic model

The Social Solidarity Economy increasingly asserts itself as a vibrant and promising socio-economic model in the EU and in various parts of the world. The SSE is rooted in inclusive values and practices, and comprises organizations of the Third (citizen’s) Sector, as social enterprises, social movements and citizens who develop alternatives to the multilayered crisis that we face today (greater inequality, lower levels of democracy, increased structural unemployment, loss of social cohesion, environmental challenges, forced migrations, dismantling of welfare states, etc.). The current dominant economic paradigm is no longer providing answers to the deep aspirations of the people and the planet, and so there is a call to a sustainable model that highlights local communities’ social bounds and emancipatory relationships, on a reciprocity and solidarity basis.

– IVET as a tool for social change

A change in paradigm requires a change in consciousness. This is why education and training are a fundamental part of this process – and particularly IVET with its great potential to transform younger generations into citizens and professionals who are more knowledgeable and aware, as well as more able to deal with current societal challenges. These challenges call for an approach that evokes IVET, namely in upper secondary and non-tertiary levels, as a high quality choice on skills/vocational development and on transversal and general knowledge acquisition, to train highly skilled and educated young adults. In order to achieve this, IVET curricula need to be innovative in order to respond to contemporary labour market and social challenges.

In this context, the partnership – with diversified expertise and similar concerns – brought together the potentials of SSE and its reflections in IVET, creating a synergetic field to address the challenges and needs stated below.

Challenges/needs addressed by the project:

  • Contents regarding the SSE are mostly inexistent in IVET curricula in most European countries
  • Modules regarding SSE are not included systematically as a transversal content in IVET of existing professional profiles
  • Training courses on the social economy are increasing in the last years, but they are generally very specialized, with no reference to the solidarity economy, and lack a systematic vision for a critical transformation of the current economic system
  • These training courses are often focused on individuals or organisations already working in or engaged with this field, specifically active professionals
  • SSE is a promising but still largely unexplored subject of action, research and policy, and its concept is largely unknown, vague or strange to most people, professionals and decision makers

Past research and experience of partner organisations has revealed a number of weaknesses in available training and learning packages for the social economy: they relate to national/regional or even organisational frameworks and lack a European/international perspective; they tend to focus on special aspects of setting up/running/funding certain types of enterprises, lacking a holistic approach which reflects the overall social and economic framework in which these organisations operate; they operate in an assertive way given their geographical, cultural or administrative limitations and are accepted without critical debate, lacking a strategic policy to intervene in the political, cultural and economic environment. To overcome these weaknesses we need an integrated historical/cultural perspective and an effective collaborative approach to change economic paradigms. Moreover, people’s geographical mobility in education, training and at labour market is now a reality that also requires an integrated European perspective on younger generations’ knowledge and skills development. This is why affirming SSE through IVET curricula innovation can best be resolved by a European approach.

Partners and funding