Vision 2020 Supporting vulnerable groups

Methods to improve inclusion in lifelong learning and employment

European project within the Leonardo da Vinci-programme ‘2020 VISION – Identifying Methods of Improving the two-way participation between established and new communities, promoting inclusion in lifelong learning and employment.' This project aims to develop a tool for teachers and other professionals to improve the guidanceand support of vulnerable groups on the subject of lifelong learning. 

In this project a broad definition of vulnerability was used. Vulnerability can emerge in different ways: language problems (mother tongue and/or foreign languages), a physical disability, learning problems, difficulties to combine family and caregiving / work / study, poor digital competences, financial barriers, a lack of support from the social network, lower SES, low self-esteem, etc. Together with our partners we decided to focus on the strengths and possibilities of the target group instead of emphasizing their weaknesses. We started to define ‘strengths’ for both the disadvantaged and  the professional target group. (OR We started with defining the ‘strengths’ of both the disadvantaged and the professional target group.)

Professionals in an educational context or in a volunteer organisation cannot work on the vulnerability  of their students. They can only try to reduce the impact of such vulnerabilities on the (academic) functioning of the student. Professionals can  enhance and adapt their practices to improve inclusion in lifelong learning and employment.


The partners gathered information about good practices within or outside of their own organisations, in their own countries and abroad. They exchanged information about their good practices and activities.

Focus of the good practices was: 'how to empower professionals/ volunteers?'

Each partner organisation developed its own specific objectives and activities targeting the most relevant key competences of their organization:

  • Blind Assistance Foundation in Poland organised three workshops 'My profession, my job, my future' for people with visual disabilities and a fourth workshop to evaluate  said workshops.
  • Greta Loire Morvan organised training sessions with teachers in December 2014.
  • The Higher Institute of Family Studies organised a training day for teachers, advisers, tutors, etc. but also for colleagues of the administration because they also play a key role in  the interaction with the students.


The process resulted in seven guidelines for teachers, tutors, trainers, volunteers, etc.  forsupporting vulnerable students and other vulnerable target groups in lifelong learning. An evaluation of the organised activities provided insight in the strengths and challenges of these guidelines. You can read all about the main findings, the guidelines, their strengths and weaknesses, and the process of how we established them in the booklet 'Guidelines', which you can find in the 'Downloads' section on your right. A video about the process of the research project is available on YouTube.

A listing of the guidelines

1) Bring teachers/ students/ volunteers together, to talk about vulnerability

2) Recognize signals of vulnerability and be attentive

3) Be aware of your own vulnerability as a professional

4) Provide a comfortable environment for vulnerable groups

5) Keep teachers and trainers motivated

6) Give teachers/ trainers the tools to work reflectively with vulnerable groups

7) Trainers/ teachers should keep in mind to focus on strengths as well (not only on weaknesses)


Researchers (Belgium)

Kathleen Emmery, Alexandre Reynders, Pieter Rondelez, Antje Van Overstraeten


August 2013 - July 2015

This project was financed by the European Commission in the context of the Leonardo da Vinci-programme.

The responsibility of this message lies solely with the author; the Commission cannot be held accountable for the use of the information it contains.


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