I CARE - Improving Mobility and Career Paths for Personal Care and Social Workers



Improving Mobility and Career Paths for Personal Care and Social Workers

Starting date of the project: 01-01-2011
Closing date of the project: 31-12-2012

Why was the project initiated / what triggered the start of the project?
A high number of personal care and social workers are currently mobile across Europe, but the recognition of the competences gained in other contexts (countries, institutions or systems) and learning settings (formal, non-formal, or informal ways of learning) is hardly achievable, as they do not hold specific or equivalent qualifications. Due to the raising request of personal care services, Lombardy Region hosts more than 100.000 foreign people working in the sector, of which 66% from Eastern Europe (Romania, Poland, Moldavia, Ukraine). More than 42% of them are over 50 years old and, after an average stay of five years, they go back to their countries without any certification of past learning and working experience, achieved both in native countries or in Italy.

The lack of common methodologies and frameworks for the evaluation, transfer, validation and recognition of learning outcomes and the rarity of related flexible training solutions still delays a full labour market integration and the development of human capital. The radical reform of the VET and labour regional system implemented since 2005 in the Lombardy Region makes it a qualified context for experimenting the application of the ECVET system for the establishment of a recognition model in the field of personal care. Frameworks and initiatives aimed at facilitating lifelong learning paths, as well as transition mechanisms from one qualification to another in the personal care sector, were promoted and experimental models of validation of prior learning were implemented. A further step in making qualifications more transparent, thus increasing the employability of people, is therefore suitable and could help in creating a new and applicable framework (in the specific field) shared with other European countries.

What was the intention of the project / what did it want to achieve and for whom (target group/groups)?
The I CARE project objective is to support the full labour market integration and human capital development in the personal care and social work sector throughout Europe by increasing interoperability among different countries and learning contexts. The I-CARE project addresses thus the need for an experimental application of the ECVET system, in order to establish a recognition model in the field of personal care and social work. Project partners will analyse existing qualification systems in their respective countries with the objective to develop a recognition model, that would enable evaluation, transfer, validation and recognition of learning outcomes. Partners will further establish a stable consortia for the application of the newly developed model, and they will favour the creation of a mutual trust area among their respective countries (Italy, Germany, Poland and Romania).

The I CARE project targets those interested in the development of flexible training solutions, in facilitating mobility and access to work, in addressing the need for qualified professionals in the care and social sector and in increasing transparency of workers’ competences and qualifications (VET providers, labour market services and organisations in the field, social partners and authorities).

What are the achievements / results so far?
During project first operational/development phase, activities focused on developing a background analysis of the sectoral qualification systems in each participating country (Italy, Germany, Romania and Poland) used as a basis for identifying a common methodological approach model in order to establish a shared reference framework linked to ECVET. The aim of this phase was thus twofold:
> Providing an overview of the state-of-the-art in the qualification framework (personal care and social work) in participating countries, with a focus on the assessment of commonalities and differences between the Lombardy Sectoral Qualification System and those existing in partner countries (with particular regard to regulatory frameworks and common learning outcomes/units or competences) - Identification of Qualifications relating to Personal Care and Social Work in Partner Countries
> Identifying a common methodological approach, based on the collection and analysis of existing methodologies, models and tools in participating countries, with the overall aim of defining the most suitable model for ECVET application to identified qualifications - Analysis of Existing Methodological Approaches for the Application of ECVET at the National, Regional and Sectoral Level

What are the main learning points of the project?
Methodology, approach to learning outcomes, testing and piloting phases, transnational co-operation
What experience could be transferable? How could the project experience inspire other organizations / countries?
The main impact envisaged, concerns the transparency of the qualification system underlying personal care and social work services, as well as the improvement of co-operation among partner countries. Testing and development of relevant tools for a steady application of ECVET principles and specifications are the main elements which could be transferred. Furthermore, the I CARE experience could be transferred both geographically (same sector in different countries) and sectorally (same methodology applied to other professional profiles and sectors).

Information about the coordinator:
Michela Vecchia
Fondazione CEFASS

Presentation Michela VecchiaPDF