The UPSIM Project

Upskilling Pathways for Migrant Women

The UPSIM project will ultimately provide migrant/minority women with a suite of resources that will empower and enable them to study non-formal competence (learning to learn) and the language skills required to reach life goals.

Sustainable Development Goals

We base our priorities on the challenges addressed by the Sustainable Development Goals, specifically pertaining to migration and gender equality.

The SDGs contain many important gender dimensions, because gender-specific actions and solutions play an important role in the reduction of poverty and insecurity among women and girls, and to promote their access to economic and sustainable growth, as well as to health, education, and justice.

Leave No One Behind

Recent OECD evidence shows that it takes longer for refugee women to gain a foothold in the labour market compared with refugee men. When employed, refugee women are frequently in part-time positions. They also have lower levels of host-country language skills compared to men in the first two to three years after arrival, related to the fact that they frequently receive less integration support than men, both in terms of language training and active labour market measures. With women comprising an estimated 45% of all refugees before the 2015-2016 peak and approximately one-third of all asylum seekers over the period 2015-2017, the recent arrival of large refugee populations in Europe adds to the urgency of integrating migrant woman.  

The Tools – The Support

The project will result in a set of resources that will contribute to reducing disparities in accessing and engaging with formal and non-formal education, which in turn will contribute to tackling discrimination, segregation and racism.

Social inclusion means that even though, legally, all people have rights to education opportunities. This is not always a reality which is often the case for many newly arrived people with little or no educational backgrounds, especially those who are vulnerable, such as women. The UPSIM consortium believes that certain types of vulnerability are often reinforced, not only by the lack of education experience, but also by cultural barriers, and societal expectations of what a woman can and can’t do.

The UPSIM project is based on the idea that, although upskilling pathways exist, there are certain barriers in place, that make it difficult for certain groups of people to find. During the project funded periode, the UPSIM consortium will try to uncover which barriers there are, and will work to develop resources that will help women from migrant minority communities to overcome them. The central assumptions are that the two problems that migrant women face, often consist of 1) language barriers; traditional language courses for migrants often do not provide a level of proficiency needed to attend higher education, and 2) cultural norms; reinforcing the gender gap in inclusion efforts.

The UPSIM project aims to address these issues, by providing Minority Women with the tools and support necessary to make fulfilling changes in their life situations.

Rapid Language Acquisition Tool

This tool combines available and existing language learning resources, set up around a framework for the development of learning to learn competence and the process in acquiring a higher language level in a short space of time.

This will be further strengthened with proposed strategies and options for self-learning “in the wild”.

Integrated in the tool, as part of a pedagogical set-up, we will deepen the knowledge, fostering the discussion about the recently launched European strategy in adult education, the Upskilling Pathways initiative (UP).

We will provide Migrant Women with pedagogical resources, aimed at fostering and developing the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to succeed in moving from low skilled worker to higher education, and promoting democratic equality for migrant women.

Mentoring Circles

The UPSIM project will also focus its efforts on the creation of mentoring circles. This tool provides key persons involved in assisting migrant women in achieving higher education/career development. These key persons will not only be assisted in supporting women in reaching their educational goals, we will present tools for creation of networks, working with role models and other external influences that can help them shape and achieve their dreams and life goals.

The UPSIM project includes a strong focus on empowering networks, as the success rates are much higher, if the immediate networks are on board and supportive.

The UPSIM consortium is working on promoting the support of measures that combat harmful gender-related practices, reduce democratic inequalities caused by gender discrimination, and provide pathways through which minority women and girls can gain access to decision-making power.