Nikola Benin. STRAIGHTEN Basic Skills project

Nikola Benin, Ph.D


Work-related training as a tool to encourage adult learning

It is estimated that one in five adults in Europe have poor literacy skills – around 55 million people between the ages of 15 – 65.  Not only does this make it hard for them to find or keep a job, it also increases their risk of poverty and social exclusion, and limits opportunities for cultural and political participation, lifelong learning and personal growth. And this is not simply a question of reading skills. Today, a whole range of personal, work and social activities are mediated through technology, placing digital and literacy skills at the heart of everything from finding work to keeping in touch with friends. Participation rates in the kinds of learning that help adults to develop these skills vary considerably between EU countries, but generally low rates of participation are a challenge. In England, for example, participation in adult literacy and numeracy provision has fallen by around 25% in the last five years.

Recently, there has been increased interest among EU and national policymakers in the role that learning in the workplace can play in helping to tackle European needs for improved basic skills. The evidence suggests that policies which support the provision of work-related training can motivate adults to participate in learning, as well as encourage employers to train and develop their employees. The workplace is a natural setting for learning to take place – indeed, in most workplaces, a great deal of informal learning already takes place. Opportunities to learn at work, particularly where there is the prospect of improved or more sustainable work, have the potential to encourage participation in more formal learning, training and opportunities for ‘upskilling’. This is particularly so for adults who might not consider returning to college, or ‘going back to school’.


The STRAIGHTEN Basic Skills project

However, poor basic skills can inhibit participation in learning and training in the workplace, and for many will limit their employment prospects altogether, along with the ability to participate in employment-related training. So in order to support adults to access the kinds of higher level technical skills and training which benefits employers, improves productivity and supports the wider economy, there is also a need to create effective progression pathways which address individuals’ basic skills needs, both for adults seeking work and for those already in employment. This would have the advantage of not only addressing basic skills needs and supporting progression to further learning and better work, but also unlocks the potential of the workplace as a natural location for learning to take place.

The STRAIGHTEN Basic Skills project(link is external) has been examining these issues for the last three years. Funded by Erasmus+, six project partners representing Austria, France, Germany, Norway, Romania and the UK, have come together to explore effective policy and practice in work-related basic skills. Earlier in the project, we shared our first output, a summary of ‘success indicators’ or pre-conditions for effective policy and practice in work-related basic skills(link is external). Over the past two years, we’ve examined the situation in partner countries, and held a transnational training event in Romania, bringing together over twenty practitioners and trainers to share their approaches to work-related basic skills teaching, learning and training.

The partners have now concluded their work with the final project output – a ‘European Roadmap’ for work-related basic skills. As well as summarising the main lessons of the project, it highlights ways in which policymakers, providers and practitioners can take forward and develop basic skills in the work place. Among these are:

  • Developing national frameworks, sustained funding, and a clear definition of basic skills – these provide an enabling environment in which providers can develop a clear offer to employers.
  • Professionalisation of the trainers – effective work-related basic skills teaching and learning is oriented towards the workplace and uses relevant approaches, e.g. integrating the learning into workplace tasks.
  • Engagement of all relevant stakeholders – work-related basic skills requires close partnership working between training providers and employers, as well as between practitioners and employees / learners, to tailor the content to meet the needs of all involved.

SEARCH FOR PARTNERS for Project on posted workers

Nikola Benin, PhD


We are currently looking for the partners from host countries, especially the employers’ associations, Labour Inspectorats, research and academia centres, trade unions and NGOs are welcome.

You can join the project both as coapplicant and as associate partners.

For more information for partners and Fund subscribe to the Billetin PROJECT AND FUND

Price for 1 year € 120

6 months € 60

PARTNER SEARCH – Danube 4.0 project (Interreg Danube Programme)

Nikola Benin, PhD


We are looking  for Danube4.0 project which will be submitted in Interreg Danube Programme. We need pairs of PPs from the same region: Business support actors (chambers of commerce / clusters / innovation centre / technology parks / RDAs) + regional or national level public administration from Danube.

Please send your expression of interest to Petra Cisarova:

The NewP@ss project

Nikola Benin, PhD


These new e-passport technologies will be introduced from 2015 to 2020 and represent a complete shift of paradigm which will be demonstrated in the project both through innovative and sometimes disruptive technology concepts (high-speed interface, multi-applicative embedded SW platform, on-card components (display, keypad,..), mobile and low cost readers but also use cases showing a large scope of new possible functionality (including in an international European airport).

15 partners from 5 Eureka countries are working on the project concept and realization, which will also address interoperability at application level, testability tooling and proactive input to world standardization.

Headed by Gemalto, world leader in digital security, NewPass designed and tested the next generation of electronic passports – documents capable of storing unprecedented levels of personal information in the chip on them. The team’s experts worked to ensure the passports would allow passengers to move through airport security checks quickly while not being easy to hack or copy by criminals.

“We’ve prototyped the world’s fastest and most secure e-passport with a combination of high-processing speed and the most advanced cryptographic mechanisms,” said Michael Gerassimo, project coordinator on NewPass from Gemalto’s Government Programs Solutions Group.

Project “Energy Efficient Baled Straw” – 3 participants

Nikola Benin


Project “Energy Efficient Baled Straw Ecological House” (Activity 1 – Contact Making Event) that will be implemented in period of 3 – 10 December 2016 in Belluno, Italy.

Keep an eye on: Bulletin Project and fund

 For more information subscribe to the Billetin PROJECT AND FUND


Author: Nikola Benin


The project, named “EMOtional technologies and innovative tools for the cultural heritage valorization within cross-border Undergrounds” – “EMO.Undergrounds”, aims at developing a European territorial cooperation network made up by Greek and Italian municipalities finalized to the valorisation and better fruition of the identified cultural assets (castles with undergrounds), through the use of advanced Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) – New Media and emotional technologies – and innovative marketing tools.
For more details, please contact to:

Looking for partners. Project about media literacy

Author: Nikola Benin

The goal of our project will be to develop a training-program and to provide media-literacy training for professionals in care settings for persons with (mild) mental disabilities in three membership countries. Not only will professionals be trained in their own digital media literacy competencies but they will also be trained in transferring and embedding these acquired and enhanced competences in their organizations and directly towards clients with (mild) mental disabilities. For reaching this goal we can lean on the expertise we gathered during the Flemmish Mediatrain project, where we developed a training for care workers for marginalized young people.

We are currently still looking for (national or regional) organizations with expertise or training experience in online media literacy, or network organizations that represent organizations in care for persons with (mild) mental disabilities.

If you want to participate or would like some more information, please provide us with some background information about your organization, your specific interest in the project, and the specific expertise you can add to our project.