The SYNCLUSIVE project is a trailblazing initiative to enhance labor market inclusion, particularly for the most vulnerable groups across the European Union. The project’s strategy, rooted in a comprehensive approach, engages individuals, and dedicated regional stakeholders. Our team drew upon in-depth research on labor market inclusion across Europe, with a keen focus on the partner countries: Bulgaria, Finland, the Netherlands, and Portugal. This project invests in education and skills development to empower individuals to access better employment opportunities and contribute to a more inclusive society. The purpose is to help closing the gap and create more job opportunities for everyone through education and training. 

The Portuguese Youth Employment Observatory report makes it clear that higher levels of education are consistently associated with lower unemployment rates, and action must be taken to address youth unemployment. Vocational training and integration programs should be the focus of these policies. Training is the cornerstone for promoting the employability of young people in an increasingly dynamic and demanding labor market. Amid rapidly evolving job requirements, investment in training is imperative to broaden opportunities for both entry and advancement. Young people must be equipped with technical knowledge and practical skills, providing a solid foundation for navigating the complexities of the job market. Sector-specific skills and soft skills such as effective communication, teamwork, and critical analysis also improve job prospects and career progression (Sousa & Romana, 2024).

SYNCLUSIVE makes a compelling case that this is an essential investment for young professionals looking to build rewarding and sustainable careers. The four Portuguese Living Labs are dedicated to training young people in areas of technological innovation. They offer inclusive labor market options and collaborative efforts between academia, workers, policymakers, and stakeholders. SYNCLUSIVE provides qualifications through specialized courses that prepare participants for the challenges of the labor market and facilitate their transition into the professional world.

The Portuguese Living Lab has expanded its network in recent months by establishing new relationships with different institutions. This growth is proof of our unwavering commitment to creating a robust support system for young people and increasing our impact.

Our collaboration with the National Institute for Employment and Professional Training (IEFP), also a partner of the project, is the foundation of our efforts to support young people’s integration into the labor market. As a leading entity in Portugal’s employment and training landscape, IEFP enables us to customize training programs to meet the specific needs of our target demographic. Furthermore, our partnership with TermCerto (a temporary work enterprise, also a project partner), demonstrates our dedication to simplifying and securing the job search process. By consolidating candidate information, we streamline recruitment for employers while providing job seekers with a centralized platform to showcase their skills and experiences. Moreover, our alliance with APEA (Portuguese Association for Supported Employment) represents a significant step towards promoting the inclusion of vulnerable individuals across various contexts. Our holistic approach will enhance employability conditions and facilitate market integration, driving broad social impact. Finally, our partnership with the REDO (Rede do Empresário, a collaborative platform and network, also a project partner) opens the door to a diverse array of products and services offered by numerous companies and institutions. This facilitates collaboration and exchange, empowering us to effectively address a wide range of needs within our community.

Our initiatives thrive on strategic partnerships with the Lisbon’s City Hall and government body of Alvalade, which extend our reach and provide critical support in terms of public policy and municipal resources. Their provision of local resources and community support is integral to the successful execution of projects on a regional scale. 

Our partnership with the internationally renowned training center EAGLE INTUITION underscores our unwavering commitment to empowering youth and adults. Through their innovative methodology, which emphasizes continuous learning and the achievement of tangible goals, individuals gain essential knowledge and skills to enhance their employability. Similarly, working with Almada Mundo, an association deeply rooted in ethical values, resonates with our mission to provide education and training to all ages. Their commitment to preserving the world’s heritage aligns seamlessly with our own. In addition, we recognize the pivotal role that Casa do Artista – Associação Apoiarte plays in supporting and dignifying individuals within the performing arts sector. Their contribution is invaluable to our shared goal of fostering creativity and excellence in the field. In addition, we’re pleased to announce our collaboration with the Lisbon City Hall and APEA, facilitated by the RedEmprega Lisboa program. This initiative will effectively narrow the gap between people at risk and the labor market, promoting increased job placement opportunities.

Last but not least, we are proud to partner with leading academic institutions, including ISCTE – Instituto Universitário de Lisboa, ISPA – Instituto Universitário, Instituto Superior de Contabilidade e Administração do Porto (ISCAP), and CLISSIS – Universidade Lusíada. These partnerships provide invaluable academic support and resources, develop innovative training programs, and bridge the gap between academia and the labor market, thereby improving the quality of training and networking opportunities.

These new partnerships will undoubtedly expand the resources available to our participants, while enhancing collaboration between academia, industry, and policymakers. These dynamic and differentiated interventions empower young people and equip them with the skills they need to succeed in their careers. We are committed to increasing young people’s motivation and effectiveness and preparing them for different types of employment. As Professor Maria José Sousa, National Coordinator of the SYNCLUSIVE Project asserts: “The Living Lab is not just a specific space or room. It is all of us and the relationships we build between each organization and the young people we work with.”

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