The SIVSEN (Social Innovation through VET and Social Enterprise Networks) project learns from the social enterprise sector to ensure that the knowledge, skills, and mindsets applicable to working in a social enterprise are embedded in Vocational Education to create enhanced opportunities for growth and internationalisation of social enterprises.


…we have initiated SIVSEN project

Evidence shows that young people want to work in socially responsible businesses. A social purpose at work leads to a higher level of engagement and higher levels of productivity. Unfortunately, young people are not always made aware of the opportunities that exist in the social enterprise sector and, on the other side, the social enterprises do not do enough to spread the word.

This situation has led to talent becoming a bigger issue for social enterprises, particularly larger employers. VET colleges, as well as schools and universities should work with social enterprises to ensure that young people entering the workforce are aware of the opportunities to work in social enterprises on both a local, regional and international level.


…we plan to implement the SIVSEN initiative

SIVSEN project is developed under the Erasmus + programme by five partner organisations based in the UK, Italy, Sweden and Romania: City College Plymouth, Plymouth Social Enterprise Network (UK), Foreningen Urkraft (Sweden), Materahub (Italy) and Fundatia Danis (Romania). 

The partners bring their own experience and knowledge and seek to learn from each other and mostly from the social enterprise sector, in order to enhance new and existing work placement opportunities for young people, and support social enterprises to grow and internationalise their activities.

SIVSEN project brings together:

  • educators from VET and higher education, 
  • employers from the social enterprise sector, and 
  • young learners interested in exploring work placements in social enterprises. 

This collaborative approach allows the transfer of knowledge among the three groups, enhancing the most engaging working practices and aspects of working in the social enterprise sector for work placements.

Social enterprise activity can impact positively on mental health, self-reliance/esteem and health behaviours, reduce stigmatisation and build social capital, all of which can contribute to the overall health and well-being of young people.


…SIVSEN projects offer

During 2021-2022, partners undertake a comprehensive range of activities to develop new work placement pathways, stimulating innovation in the transition from education to employment in this sector:

  • A Comparative Analysis is conducted to consider the transition from education (e.g. Vocational College) into a social enterprise workplace, including international programmes that exist within partner companies, other sectors, VET and higher education institutions. 
  • Partners develop and test a Social Enterprise Programme Framework – a developed work experience placement programme that can be transferable to any SE organisation in Europe.
  • A Return on Investment Guide for Internationalising a Sustainable Programme is offered to social enterprises to demonstrate the benefits of providing work placements to young people, including in an international context, and promote collaborative work with the VET and higher education organizations.