In the wake of the economic and financial crisis, the European Union has taken significant steps to fight rising levels of unemployment and return to economic growth. Unemployment rates for young people in Europe are generally much higher than those for all other ages. A 2009 EU Youth Report also found that there are still a large number of young people in Europe who leave education and training without holding any labour market related qualifications. People who are struggling to find employment may be interested in starting up their own business. However, start-up activity is difficult, there is high risk and more than 50% of new businesses fail within the first 5 years. Strong and well-performing Vocational and Educational Training (VET) can help deal with the challenge facing start-uppers in a competitive economy coming out of the global recession. The University of Wolverhampton is now working on two EU-funded projects to target this issue.
App.t is a consortium of 5 European partners, led by the University of Wolverhampton in the United Kingdom, aiming to create an app to support target groups who are unemployed and their trainers. It will contain interactive training content which focuses on developing business start-up skills based on the principles of social enterprise.
VET4Start-Up is a consortium of 6 European partners, led by EURO-NET, an Italian company, aiming to create training materials (including a Massive Online Open Course) for people who are interested in starting up their own business.
Both projects are funded under the Erasmus+ Key Action 2 Strategic Partnership programme for Vocational Education and Training.
Kick-off meetings for both projects have already taken place, giving partners the opportunity to meet each other and discuss the plan of work within the project in order to reach the set objectives. The VET4Start-Up meeting took place in December 2014 in Potenza, Italy, hosted by EURO-NET and the App.t meeting was hosted by the University of Wolverhampton in March 2015.
The next international project meeting for VET4Start-Up is in June 2015 in Malta, and for App.t is in June 2016 in Prague.
Both projects are currently working on identifying existing practice in the partner countries, including examples which have successfully helped people to start-up a business. This information will be used to inform the production of the training resources.
The projects will be running events where interested members of the public can come along to find out more and get involved with testing the products. More information is available at: http://apptproject.eu/wp/ and http://www.vet4startup.eu/.