The Foundation for the Development of the Education System (project leader) together with the Educational Research Institute have completed the project A change – New opportunities for adults. The project responded to the EU Council Recommendation of 19 December 2016 on Upskilling Pathways: new opportunities for adults, and ran between 2018 and April 2023.

Training methodology, providers and target groups

The aim of the project was to develop and to test innovative models of educational support for adults with low basic skills in literacy, numeracy, digital skills, and social skills. In total, 31 entities participated, among which non-governmental organisations and public institutions, such as a municipal library, a labour office or continuing education centres.

Project activities were aimed at seven target groups: unemployed people (economically inactive and/or unemployed); people from disadvantaged areas (rural and/or small towns and/or post-industrial urban areas); people aged 50+; people with intellectual disabilities; people with physical and/or sensory disabilities; foreigners who have the legal right to work in the country, and employed persons (especially from small and medium-sized enterprises).

All activities were based on a three-step upskilling pathway: skills assessment, educational support, and validation. Different approaches to adult education were used, such as outdoor learning, grundtvigian style, and inter-generational learning. Classes were conducted in the form of workshops, focusing on practice, incorporating activating methods and techniques of teamwork (discussion, brainstorming, role play or pair work, simulation games). In addition to receiving educational support, participants were involved in counselling activities, such as career counselling, psychological counselling, or support from an assistant (e.g. intercultural or for a person with special needs). As a result of the project, which was implemented as a pilot, nearly 2 000 individuals improved their basic skills, which significantly exceeds the original aim to reach at least 1 000 adults.

The project conclusions show that the key to educational support is the environmental diagnosis (skills assessment) and the experience of the entities working with these groups.

Targeted support to refugees from Ukraine

In the autumn of 2022, additional activities were launched in connection with the effects of Russia's military aggression against Ukraine. A total of 38 entities, mainly NGOs, implemented a model of educational support for adults coming to Poland from Ukraine. These activities drew on lessons and good practices from the models tested in the first edition of the A chance project, and used specific assessment, validation and teaching tools. By end-April 2023, the activities had been completed. More than 3 000 participants from Ukraine took part and more than 2 500 of them confirmed their basic skills through validation.

The way forward

A handbook was published with detailed recommendations and good practices on how to improve the basic skills of adults using the three-step upskilling pathway. The handbook offers useful support for regions implementing upskilling pathways in the future from a financial perspective, and for all public and non-governmental actors providing direct educational support to adults to develop their basic skills further.

The project results will be used to develop national strategies and coordination in this area.

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Please cite this news item as: ReferNet Poland; Cedefop (2023). Poland: upskilling pathways for adults with low basic skills. National news on VET


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ReferNet Poland