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Presentation of the project research findings at the European Conference of Educational Research ECER 2023, 22-25 August 2023, Glasgow, UK. Title of the research workshop: Educational Learning Labs Interventions to Empower Young People at Risk for Social Exclusion in the Baltic Countries and Norway 

Meril Ümarik, Vidmantas Tutlys, Vegard Voen, Biruta Sloka and Ilze Buligina conducted research workshop on the educational learning lab interventions to empower young people at risk for social exclusion conducted in the fourth work package of the project.  

The key object of discussion in this workshop was conducting “Educational Learning Lab intervention” in all partner countries, in order to pilot and evaluate innovative approaches, methods and technology-based tools for supporting both young people at risk for social exclusion to develop their key skills (vocational and personal) and teachers in VET to advance their instructional approach and practices. The intervention study in Estonia is focused on development of competence of vocational teachers/support personnel to support emotional wellbeing of young people at risk for social exclusion. The intervention is implemented in several VET schools of Estonia. It consists of 5 contact sessions including executing independent tasks by the teachers between the sessions. During these training sessions VET teachers and pedagogical staff members are introduced to strategies and methods to support group dynamics, collaborative codesign in the classroom, mindfulness practices. The intervention study in Latvia seeks to strengthen the competence of vocational schools’ administration, vocational teachers/support personnel to support social and emotional wellbeing of young people at risk for social exclusion through findings of the EmpowerVET project and the Baltic Nordic experience and the results of the European Commission project “New European Bauhaus” to involve the risk groups in the ecosystems. The intervention in Latvia focuses on updating the competence and knowledge of the relevant staff by sharing the experience and findings of the Baltic and Nordic partners as well as improving their professional competence in special courses as well as discussing materials in special program on TV. The intervention study in Lithuania focuses on the development of competence of VET teachers and trainers in design and implementation of propaedeutic VET curricula (modules) for vocational integration of young people at risk for social exclusion. It seeks to raise awareness of VET teachers and trainers on the propaedeutic qualities of the VET curricula which facilitate motivation of at-risk VET students to learn and integrate themselves in the labour market, as well as to provide methodical know-how on how to design and apply propaedeutic VET curricula for training of at-risk VET students. The intervention is based on the 4 workshops for the VET teachers and trainers which is held in the 5 VET centres of Lithuania. In Norway, the intervention is initiated by the county administration and carried out by language teachers in collaboration with supervisors in the workplace. The intervention is to provide language teacher resources to VET schools to support students with a migration background, who need additional support to learn the Norwegian language. The intervention supporting the development of students’ language and communicative competence is targeted to the apprenticeship phase, i.e. the workplace practice. Two VET schools are participating in the intervention, collaborating with a language teacher hired for intervention purposes. Each language teacher is assigned 10 students (apprentices), which they teach, guide, and supervise. Besides language and communication, and in collaboration with workplace supervisors, the teachers support the students’ cultural socialization in building bridges between the school – workplace / apprenticeship transition. 

During the workshop, the four cases following the same theoretical and methodological approaches were presented and discussed focusing on the acceptance of these interventions by the VET teachers, trainers, and their contribution to the capacities of the VET schools and, especially, teaching staff to empower young people at risk for social exclusion in the fields of learning and employment. The Educational Learning Lab approach as a methodological framework was presented and discussed from the perspective of its promises and suitability for designing intervention studies in VET. 

The presentation slides: Download presentation