For the week of November 12-16 2018, the third partner meeting for the Drop-In Project was held in Bucharest, Romania. The training project was attended by members of all five project partners including KMOP (Greece), InEuropa (Italy), CARDET (Cyprus), The Schottener Foundation (Romania) and IARS (UK). Project partners came together to discuss the situations and challenges faced by early school leavers (ESLs) and current practices being implemented to combat ESL marginalisation in each of the respective countries.

Other organisations such as Hands Across Romania, which promotes the use of a dual vocational education-training programme, and the International Organization for Migration also gave presentations on ways to help promote the sustainable integration of ESLs into the labour market. The phenomenon of dropping out is quite complex and can be caused by a number of things on both internal and external levels. Often, dropping out is seen as the fault of young people, which causes many of these individuals to remain without basic qualifications and with low skills. This increases the likelihood of unemployment or precarious work for the young people, contributing to the issue of economic recession. Ignoring underlying issues that influence young people to drop out is a great disservice to these individuals seeing as many of the barriers to education they face are also obstacles they must address to gain employment.

With the introduction of programmes such as the Drop-In project, young people can feel empowered to take control of their future by gaining skills they may not have learned on their own or in previous education. The Drop-In Project is now in its’ second year of implementation and the launch of the e-Learning platform is nearly ready to be completed. Starting in December 2018, the platform will be accessible to ESL individuals in each of the five countries. These individuals will complete a set of nine modules related to personal development, critical thinking, problem solving, career planning, and much more. Once all nine modules are complete, they will be awarded with a certificate of completion to show future employers that they are committed to advancing themselves in both the labour market and in terms of personal growth.

The project meeting in Bucharest created a space for the project partners to test the online modules, ensuring that the platform is ready for completion by ESLs. The modules are offered in four different languages to accommodate individuals from all five countries completing the programme. Following the completion of the initial launch of the project, IARS will publish a report examining the efficacy of the programme and recommendations for the future of the Drop-In Project.

For more information on the Drop-In Project, please visit https://www.dropinproject.eu/

Written by our Justice and Youth Projects Intern Jordyn McAtee