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Electronic Platform for Adult Learning in Europe



How do young adults navigate through life?

by Simon BROEK
Language: EN
Document available also in: HU EL

/en/file/young-adults-enliven-projectYoung Adults ENLIVEN project

Young Adults ENLIVEN project


Simon Broek on how the ENLIVEN project addressed some of the challenges faced by young adults trying to integrate into adult society.


One group of vulnerable people is vulnerable for many different reasons – young adults.

  • Firstly, these people are in transition into adulthood.
  • Secondly, they are in transition from a (secure) school or training environment to a serious working environment. This might also include a new living environment, moving out of their parents’ house, and changing social circles.
  • And lastly, they might witness macro-economic and social developments whose consequences for their lives they cannot fully understand; and this might cause them to have a negative outlook on the future.

Young adults are even more vulnerable when they have had negative experiences in school (e.g. drop-out; low educational levels) or bad social experiences (e.g. bullying).

The situation is clearly presented in the following video, prepared by the Horizon2020 project ENLIVEN (Encouraging Lifelong Learning for an Inclusive & Vibrant Europe):


Consequences of young adults’ vulnerability

All the changes experienced by this group (aged between 15-25) can have serious consequences for their overall well-being, social inclusion and labour market integration. As economic literature shows, when young people are not able to make a relatively quick transition into the labour market after completing their studies, it can inhibit the accumulation of the human, social and economic capital that will help to develop their careers. Furthermore, the longer the period of disengagement from the labour market or education, the higher the risk of social and economic exclusion as concluded by Eurofound.


How to better support these young adults?

The ENLIVEN project studied this particular group of young adults in the last three years. A recent research report of the ENLIVEN project Barriers to and enablers of participation in different types of provision of young low-qualified adults looked at the learning experiences of these adults and paid specific attention to their situational and dispositional barriers and how education and training institutions have (not) succeeded in lowering institutional barriers to accommodate young adults’ learning needs. Based on the research, recommendations are provided to European and national level policymakers, which include:

  • Move beyond the focus on the individual responsibility of the adult to participate and encourage education and training institutions to actively help adults to gain access to learning.
  • Increase the collaboration of education and training institutions and other social services to break down the cumulative disadvantages of young adults.
  • Reserve adequate budgets for work in the lifelong learning and youth sectors and provide decent pay for staff members.


ENLIVEN conference 17 September 2019

The ENLIVEN project final meeting will take place in Brussels. The aim of the event will be to enable policymakers at the EU, national, regional and organisational levels to enhance the provision and take-up of learning opportunities for (young) adults, leading to a more productive and innovative workforce, and reduced social exclusion.

Simon Broek has been involved in several European research projects on education, labour market issues and insurance business. He advised the European Commission, the European Parliament and European Agencies on issues related to education policies, lifelong learning, and labour market issues, and is Managing Partner at Ockham Institute of Policy Support.

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  • Éva Szederkényi's picture
    Ezért is fontos a pályaorientáció-pályatanácsadás lehetősége.
  • J Christophe Wells's picture
    This is such an important are in our modern society. Looking forward to hearing about the results of the conference.