National projects

CONNEXT is an international ESF project with partners from Belgium (Flanders), Finland and Sweden. In this context the national projects are described. For more information on the transnational project, please read here.

Aim and target groups

The national project of CONNEXT for inclusion in Flanders focuses on the co-creative development of a new S_U+G Serious Urban Game®, which is a project and registered brand by Lieve Achten. This game can be used for example as a tool to reduce early school dropouts.

The main target group of the game are youngsters (age from 15 to 29) with a migrant background and a higher risk on early school dropout. Flemish research shows that young people who do not speak Dutch, drop out of school much more often than young people whose native language is Dutch. This problem mainly occurs in the big cities. In addition to this, the numbers are not gender neutral: for boys with a migrant background, the numbers are a lot higher than with their female counterparts.

Project partners

The project CONNEXT Flanders has two main partners. Their experience is complementary: the organisation [ew32] is a Belgian non-profit organization with a focus on the implementation of S_U+G Serious Urban Games®. [ew32] has experience with working with diverse target groups around gamification. Artevelde University College has experience with innovation in education, early school leaving and the development, implementation and evaluation of new methods. Artevelde can also rely on broad expertise about development research in education and youth work.

Activities and outcome

The development of the game is a bottom-up approach. This means that the wider world of young people will be actively involved: friends, leisure time actors, parents and other supporting institutions. The co-creative approach makes use of a new blended methodology which increases the trust in the school system and the future of the gamers. Through several workshops (‘labs’) and bottom-up cocreation the gamers play on a crossmedia platform in which storytelling is used. The outcome will be a new Game which aims to raise the gamers self-insight and self-confidence.

Time frame

The co-creation processes to develop and design a new game starts in January 2019. The game is offered to education and youth work in September 2020.

You can find more information in Flemish at ew32.be and in English in brochure.

Aim

The aim of the Finnish national project of CONNEXT is to support the immigrant youth to find their educational path and to commit to it. Simultaneously their families are supported with an intensified collaboration. The aim is to strengthen the gender and culture sensitive counselling skills of professionals working with youth as well as to familiarise them with gamification related and sports inspired pedagogy.

Target group

The project focuses particularly on young men with an immigrant background, who are in the transition from upper comprehensive school to upper secondary or vocational school (ages 15-29). Some of the development work is carried out with the families of the youth, because in finding one’s educational path and one’s own place in the society, the community plays a crucial role.

Professionals working with the youth, inlcuding study and career counsellors, teachers as well as counsellors in student welfare and free-time activities are the target group for tools developed and education arranged as part of CONNEXT. Everyone is welcome to join and benefit from the outcomes of the project, although for funds related reasons the activities are targeted particularly to the Southern part of Finland.

Activities

In Finland the activities of CONNEXT are the following:

  1. Developing participatory, gamified pedagogy.
    The project provides an opportunity to Finnish professionals to get acquainted with S_U+G Serious Urban Game® methodology developed by its Belgian partner ew32 and to contribute to its further development. S_U+G® is a systematic, pedagogical approach connected to a gamified city race. It makes use of a digital platform and can be applied to different topics. The core idea of the methodology evolves around involving the youth themselves intensively in developing the city race. In Finland also the family members are engaged.The S_U+G®methodology is used in schools and associations in order e.g. to support finding an educational path or to promote well-being. The S_U+G® methodology is considered a useful tool for professionals working with youth to support motivation, initiative and sense of ability.
  2. Producing bridging stydy and career guidance material.
    Plenty of study and career guidance material exist for youth in Finland. However, benefiting from it fully may not be possible, if language skills or knowledge about the surrounding society isn’t very strong. In CONNEXT new guidance material targeted particularly to youth with an immigrant background and their families is produced in order to support a transition from upper comprehensive school onwards. With this bridging material the use of other existing guidance material becomes easier. While producing the material gender in addition to different languages and cultures is paid attention to.
  3. Developing sports inspired pedagogy.
    Always finding a study place isn’t a complete solution to a youngster, if the studying environment feels strange or one doesn’t find one’s place in the student group. One possible way to support students to commit to their studies is to consciously make use of their strengths and passions. In the Finnish national project of CONNEXT sports inspired pedagogy is developed for  preparatory classes of vocational schools particularly with young men with an immigrant background.During the development process, close collaboration is carried out with associations and municipalities, which have a long history in using sports as a tool to support integration. The aim is to compile their best insights and practices in order to be benefited also in a school environment. Simultaneously more connections between schools, families as well as sports associations are created. Into extent possible also S_U+G® methodology is used.

Outcomes

During the project the following outcomes are expected:

  • Trainings on S_U+G® methodology are organised mainly abroad and on participatory game-based learning in Finland. Additionally a learning network is created and material produced on game-based learning for professionals working with the youth.
  • Study and career counselling material targeted at immigrant youth and their families is produced and professionals are trained to use it.
  • The best insights and practices from associations and municipalities using sports as a tool to support integration are turned into a publication. Lessons learnt are benefited in developing sports inspired pedagogy.
  • In close collaboration with schools and sports associations pilots are organised on sports inspired pedagogy. Also material is produced and training is organised to professionals.
  • National and international lessons learnt are documented on the CONNEXT website and good practices are disseminated in the final seminar, trainings and other occasions.

Project partners

The Finnish national project is co-ordinated by Metropolia University of Applied Sciences. The project partners consist of the following:

Additionally important collaboration partners are e.g. Maahanmuuttajamiestyön verkosto (network for organisations working with immigrant men), Myllypuro upper comprehensive school, Finnish Refugee Council, Kölvi (multicultural youth work), Poikien talo (house for boys), Finnish Multicultural Sports Federation FiMu, 09 Helsinki Human Rights and Icehearts.

Time frame

International collaboration in CONNEXT is carried out within over two years (11/2018 – 01/2021). The Finnish national project lasts for three years (11/2018 – 10/2021).

Aim

The main aim of the Swedish national project of CONNEXT is to develop innovative methods to facilitate establishment in the labour market for newly arrived migrants and refugees.

Target group

The main target group in the Swedish project is newly arrived migrants and refugees between the ages of 15 – 65 with residence permits who are far from the labour market.

The secondary target group is professionals working with the main target group.

Activities

Serious Urban Games

Core trainers

Eight professionals from different platforms in the municipality of Karlstad will get training in becoming game masters through the S_U+G Serious Urban Game® methodology. The trainings will take place in Flanders (March 2019), Sweden (May and December 2019) and Finland (March 2020). In between the trainings they will get regular on-line support and will test and use their skills together with the main target group. Eventually they will also become core trainers, which means that they will be able to train new game masters, and will be able to create new S_U+G®.

Game masters

Another 15 professionals working with the main target group will get training in becoming game masters in Sweden in December 2019. After their training they will get support from the core trainers.

Learning network

In addition to the trainings in each country there will also be networking days where the professionals will be able to network with other professionals from Finland and Flanders, share best practices and experience with each other, learn about the ESF-projects, participate in workshops and study visits, meet with the primary target groups and learn about horizontal perspectives.

The project team and steering group will continuously work on developing the learning network together with the transnational and national partner organisations.

Outcomes

Serious Urban Games

The project will strengthen the skills of, and develop new methods for, professionals working with newly arrived immigrants and refugees, in order to engage, empower and motivate them to be actors in their own lives.

Learning network

Some of the outcomes of the learning network will be:

  • Increase the awareness and knowledge about horizontal perspectives.
  • Increase the knowledge of other ESF-projects.
  • A new platform for learning and exchanging experience with other professionals on national and transnational level.
  • A new platform for networking and collaboration.

Project platforms

The national project platforms are:

  • The department of newly arrived refugees, labour market and social service administration, Municipality of Karlstad
  • Jobbcenter (Insteg Karlstad and Värmlands Tillsammans), department of integration, income support and employment, labour market and social service administration, Municipality of Karlstad
  • Värmland Tillsammans – ESF-project in 10 municipalities, labour market and social service administration in collaboration with the department for adult education, Municipality of Karlstad
  • The unit for Swedish for immigrants, department for adult education, Municipality of Karlstad
  • The unit for young adults (Värmlands Framtid), department of integration, income support and employment, labour market and social service administration, Municipality of Karlstad

Time frame

  • Analysis and preperation phase: 181001 – 190228
  • Implementation phase: 190301 – 200930
  • Finalisation phase: 201001 – 210131