Materials for Embedded Learning on the Excellence Gateway – Skills for Construction by Learning and Skills Improvement Service (LSIS) is a basic skills curriculum contextualized for the construction industry in the United Kingdom. (Note that the term “embedded” is the same as “contextualized” curriculum, that is, a basic skills curriculum in a specific vocational context, in this case, construction.) The Excellence Gateway is a learning portal which features free downloadable embedded learning materials. The curriculum is designed to improve the literacy, language, or numeracy skills learners need to succeed at work, in community-based and health-related activities, or as part of vocational training programs. It is neither a complete basic skills curriculum nor a complete construction curriculum, but rather an overlap that supports and enhances both.
The curriculum is organized into five modules: (1) The Construction Industry, (2) Health and Safety, (3) Working Skills for Construction, (4) Using Materials and Equipment, and (5) Working with Others. Each module is organized as follows: Introduction; Skills Checklist; Information and Tasks; and Theme Assessments. The modules support the teaching of a range of Level 1 qualifications in construction and can be used as an introduction to the industry and its crafts. They do not supply a complete program of learning. Instead, aspects of the training that place a particular demand on literacy, language, and numeracy skills have been prioritized. The basic skills include literacy/English language learning (listening, speaking, reading, writing, and researching) and numeracy (numbers, measures, shapes and space, and handling data).
In addition to the five content modules Learning and Skills Improvement Service (LSIS) provides learning resources, black-and-white masters, and an introduction to embedded learning methodologies.
The Excellence Gateway has many such embedded vocational curricula including catering, cleaning, entry to employment, hairdressing, horticulture, hospitality, manufacturing, painting operations, retail, social care, transport, trowel occupations, and warehousing. It also has employability curricula including first aid, food hygiene, health and safety, information and communication technology, international nurses, and this Skills for Construction curriculum. There are also other embedded basic skills curricula that are not related to employment but rather to family and community needs. Materials were developed in consultation with sector skills councils, trades unions, employers, training providers, and others, and were subject to extensive expert review. They were developed in 2005-006.
No formal evaluation results available.
The strength of this construction curriculum and some of the other Excellence Gateway “embedded” (contextualized) basic skills curricula is that they are vocationally, culturally, and geographically specific. Contextualization to a specific industry, in this case, construction, can be highly motivating for students who have already identified this as a strong vocational interest. Although the content is specific to the industry and therefore “industry centered,” if this industry is important to the learner, its content is also “learner centered.”
The weakness is the other side of that coin, that the curriculum may not easily be adapted in other countries and cultures and climates. Especially with construction, techniques and materials vary greatly from one part of the world to another. This curriculum, however, can serve as a model for a contextualized basic skills curriculum in a specific industry, and in some contexts it may be more adaptable than others.
The Skills for Construction materials and materials for other vocational settings (including catering, cleaning, English for Speakers of Other Languages support pack for catering, early years, hairdressing, horticulture, hospitality, manufacturing, painting, retail, transport, and warehousing) are available for free download on the Excellence Gateway.
For more information, please contact:
Head of Skills for Life and Employment
Department of Education and Skills, United Kingdom
Skills to Pay the Bills is a career and workforce readiness soft skills curriculum, published by the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP). It was designed and piloted with the consultation of 100 youth. It is intended for youth service professionals, especially those who work with in-school and out-of-school youth ages 1421, in the United States. The materials are meant to be incorporated into existing curricula and/or programs, and adapted to the youth they serve. Following research on what employers need most in terms of skills and work readiness, six main skills/knowledge areas were identified for the manualcommunication; enthusiasm & attitude; teamwork; networking; problem solving & critical thinking; and professionalism. Information and activities are provided for each of these thematic areas.
The thematic areas are each presented with a page or two of general information on the theme, some notes to the facilitator, and five activities. These activites are laid out including the following:
Typically, at the end of the activity are materials for the activity such as scenarios, role-play descriptions, questions, etc. The end of the manual contains some information on the the do’s and don’ts of social networking and links to other useful resources.
During development, the curriculum was reviewed at pilot test sites. The curriculum was subsequently adjusted based on comments. The curriculum was tested and reviewed at FSW, Inc., WorkSkills (Bridgeport, Conn.), High School/High Tech (Madison, Fla.), KentuckianaWorks Youth Center (Louisville, Ky.), Massachusetts Migrant Education Program (Wilmington and Boston, Mass.), Project SEARCH (Washington, D.C.), Ready to Achieve Mentoring Program (Denver, Colo.), and WorkSource/YouthSource (Renton, Wash.).
Skills to Pay the Bills is a very practical training guide with many adaptable activities that can be used in a variety of settings. With a very visual, neatly laid out, consistent format, the manual is very user-friendly. Useful suggestions are provided on how to vary some activities, depending on the group of youth one is working with. The activities take into account what the learners already know based on their past experiences, and build off of this. Furthermore, the activities are participatory, engaging, and variedall necessary when working with youth.
The manual could be strengthened by having more clearly defined competency/skill-based objectives , particularly since the manual is written in response to the identified needs of employers. For each of the five activities, it would be helpful to see in a more detailed way, the competency, skills, and knowledge areas being addressed. That could be useful to both the trainers and learners so they can gauge progress being made.
While the manual could be used in an international setting, it would take some work to adapt it. Most of the scenarios, examples, etc., are very United States-based. For example, the activity about successes and failures gives examples of American sports players, television/movie producers, scientists, et al. The participatory nature of the activities, however, can be used anywhere. The manual has a lot of active, hands-on, engaging activities that seem like they will keep youth interested and engaged.
While in some lessons the content of this curriculum is thin, in others it is well-developed. If this curriculum were to be used internationally, particularly in poor countries, some of the lessons would not be relevant, and some would need major adaptation. In some places more content, advice, and information would be needed that could not just be elicited from young people who have little or no work experience. For example, the “Flipping the Switch” lesson is presumably about appropriate ways to communicate in the working world but assumes that the youth already understand the differences between this kind of communication and communication with friends and family. In many contexts, however, in the United States and elsewhere, youth who have never had experience in the wage economy, and whose family members also have not had this experience, don’t really understand the differences and don’t know what is or isn’t appropriate or expected. There may need to be some direct instruction provided.
The amount of time needed for each lesson in some cases is greatly underestimated, especially for lessons that are described as being under 30 minutes. This cannot include the time needed for journaling and for extensions of the activity.
Because this is contextualized for the United States, often resources are taken for grantedsuch as certain kinds of materials and supplies, and access by youth to the Internetthat are frequently not available to youth in poor or developing countries. Perhaps the best use of these lessons is to follow the guideline suggested by the authors; to incorporate lessons that are relevant and easily adapted into an existing work readiness curriculum.
The Tips for Improving Access to This Curriculum for All Youth section (in the Introduction) has some especially useful ideas that may not always be considered in curriculum design, for example, activities such as journaling and drawing, the advice to “Presume competence and instill confidence,” and active thinking about making accommodations. There's a list of some typical accommodations for reading, writing, audio/visual communication, math, and organizational skills. This would be a good place to begin to help awaken facilitators to the need for accommodations and universal design in any culture.
U.S. Department of Labor
Youth Build International's Working Hands Working Minds is a set of five instructional modules designed to help alternative schools and youth programs integrate classroom theoretical learning with hands-on practical training especially related to the building trades. The curriculum is specifically written for out-of-school youth and young adults ages 16-24. However, it is suitable for use with in-school and other youth and young adult populations. The program is activity-based and centers around nontechnical aspects of the construction industry that are important to master for successful employment. These include, for example, units of instruction on reading, writing and mathematics skills related to construction. Leadership development, health and safety, and responsibility and teamwork are also fostered. Although technical skill development is not covered, participants are exposed to technical terminology and concepts in the process of addressing other objectives. The curriculum has been adapted for South Africa.
Working Hands Working Minds contains five modules:
Module 1 focuses on teamwork and leadership in construction and includes 10 lesson units ranging from The Heart of Teamwork and Leadership and Diversity in the Workplace, to Effective Communication and Working as a Team. Module 2, Construction Health and Safety, has lessons on Attitudes and Behavior, Personal Safety Gear, Dealing with Emergencies, and Workplace Safety Assessment among the 13 individual units. Tools, Trades and Technology in Construction is the subject of Module 3. The nine instructional units provide a good overview of the kinds of hand tools, power tools, and other technology workers use. Module 4 covers the very basic measurement and mathematical calculations construction workers use on the job. It is a useful, basic primer, with exercises and examples designed to relate the learning of measurement and mathematical concepts and operations to practical work activity. Module 5 relates to communities. Instruction units such as Building a House into a Home, Exploring Community History, Describing a Home, and Research on Housing Needs attempt to sensitize students to the larger human and community-building role they are playing as they pound nails, cut boards, and lay rafters.
No formal evaluation results available
Working Hands Working Minds is a well-designed, easy-to-use set of instructional units in five modules intended for use with out-of-school [youth] and youth preparing for employment in the construction industry. Some of the material focuses on developing basic mathematical and reading and writing competencies relating to construction work. Others deal with generating positive attitudes about construction work, working with others, and personal job responsibilities. The material is logically organized, with an easy-to-follow format. The instructional emphasis is on active participation by the students through many well-designed exercises. The activities relate to learning the content. It is very learner-centered material presented in a way to tap student interest. This is probably one of the better quality sets of material of its kind available. The fact that it was developed in 2001 does not make it outdated because of the general but relatively timeless character of the content covered. Concepts of reading, measuring, adding and taking personal responsibility do not change very much over time. The material is not dated, but it relates primarily to the US context. Adaptation to other country contexts, however, can be easily achieved.
Education Development Center, Inc.'s Cyprus Workforce Initiative for Skills and Education (WISE) project was a one-year pilot project implemented in the Turkish Cypriot community from July 2006 to July 2007. The project aimed to support the education authority's efforts to implement a reform in technical and vocational secondary education through four components: (1) bridging the gap between educational programs and the private sector to make education more demand-driven; (2) developing supplemental curricula modules on work readiness and technical skills to strengthen existing curricula; (3) providing professional development for a group of educators on active teaching skills to shift from a theoretical to a practical and engaging methodology; and (4) increasing awareness of technical and vocational career and livelihood opportunities among parents and students. The curriculum under review is contained within the WISE Final Report as Annex Section B: Developing Curricula for the World of Work.
The material includes a teacher handbook and eight modules, five of which are for student use. Two of the modules are designed to promote career awareness among 6th-, 7th- and 8th-grade students: Air Conditioning and Hotel and Hospitality Industry. Three modules are designed for 9th- and 10th-grade students and focus on employability skills: Finding a Job; Interviewing; and Employer Expectations. The student material is “activity-based” and students engage in activities grounded in community work-related situations, including interviews with employers, observation and discussion among themselves, research projects, and the completion of activity sheets and performance assessments, among other assignments that engage students in active learning. Some of the material is designed for the teacher to use with students, and some for direct student use. The Teacher Handbook provides an overview of active learning and how to plan, design and conduct a project.
Cyprus Workforce Initiative for Skills and Education (WISE) Modules:
The material is self-paced and can be used individually or with groups. All five modules for student use follow a similar format: learning objectives are stated, followed by student project activities and teacher activities. Student modules are designed to be completed in about four weeks, but may require additional time.
No formal evaluation results available
Annex Section B: Developing Curricula for the World of Work presents what basically is “standard” career and awareness information that has been available through various sources for over 30 years. What makes these instructional modules different is that they are prepared specifically for the employment environment in the Turkish Cypriot Community. Also what sets these materials off from more conventional materials is that they are “project” or “activity-based.” Student learning takes place through interaction with the employment community and students actively engage in investigating and completing various assignments, either individually or in groups. A modularized, self-paced, project-based approach is used throughout the material.
A good treatment of career awareness and employment skills development is provided. The material is a good source of ideas for the creative teacher. The modules offer many ideas on how to engage students in the active investigation of careers and employment and it can be adapted and supplemented to fit different student groups and employment contexts. The material probably can be most effectively used prior to specific skill development.
The instructional delivery format basically relies on “paper and pencil” assignments. While this is a low-cost option, students may not get an adequate exposure to the IT applications that are sweeping through the work world. Moreover, greater variety in the kinds of project activities may work to enhance students’ interest and learning. However, there is enough flexibility in how the instructional material can be used that the creative teacher can easily build on the instructional foundation that is already built. This is useful training material and a source of good ideas. Good reading and writing skills among students are needed to most effectively use the material. Teacher instruction and oversight is required.
UNESCO’s Starting My Own Small Business was published in 2006 to respond to a lack of technical and vocational education materials. The curriculum was designed during a two-day workshop with input from technical and vocational education policymakers from 11 East African countries. Starting My Own Small Business provides supplementary knowledge to young people receiving technical and vocational education and training (TVET) in formal or nonformal settings so that they can acquire an entrepreneurial mindset and the knowledge to set up a small business. The objective is to motivate youth and adults who have not received a formal education and to equip learners with the rudimentary skills and knowledge to engage in some form of self-employment.
The materials used in the curriculum are a 40-page facilitator's guide and accompanying participant's workbook of approximately the same length. Each of these materials is divided into 15 units. For each unit, the student workbook contains short essay-style questions and space for learners to write their answers.
The facilitator’s guide provides information such as the definition of terms and instructions on how to use the provided questions to lead the training.
Starting My Own Small Business Units:
The units provide the information and structure necessary for conducting training in entrepreneurship. The facilitator’s guide also includes a table with the learning objectives for each unit. The participant's workbook contains a checklist (yes or no questions) for students to use in determining what they have learned during the training.
No formal evaluation results available
UNESCO explains that the curriculum makes “no claim to be a complete resource material on starting a small business. Rather, they are programs that outline key topics on entrepreneurship.” An organization could use this curriculum to outline an entrepreneurship training program. Such a program could be strengthened by adding a unit on value chain analysis that is missing from UNESCO’s training.
The strength of Starting My Own Small Business lies in the first two units which help learners identify their own unique skills. Such an activity is important in helping entrepreneurs realize that they have latent skills that are important in the business world. The curriculum is also strong in providing a basic foundation that can be used to guide in the design of future entrepreneurial curricula. Another strength of the curriculum is that it is easily adaptable to a range of locations since it presents business concepts.
Finally, the UNESCO curriculum is strong in terms of determining the learning-based achievements. The objectives of the curriculum are laid out in an easy to understand table found at the end of the facilitator’s guide as well as in a checklist in the student workbook. These two tools can be used to design a monitoring and evaluation system and help learners reflect on what they have learned.
However, the curriculum also presents some important weaknesses to consider. While the introduction to the materials states that facilitators should use participatory techniques, there are no guided activities throughout the curriculum. As such, concepts remain mysterious and difficult to apply for learners. For example, a learner comes to understand what profit is, but he/she never recognizes how it is used in real life. The curriculum therefore requires a very strong and experienced facilitator to bring the curriculum to life by inventing activities (dramatizations, group work, site visits, games, etc.).
Second, presenting complex content is positive, but when no examples are provided it can be frustrating to learners. Some of the units contain words such as “overheads” and “depreciation of equipment” that may be difficult to understand. Other concepts such as calculating labor wages (not customary in many places) is also present in the curriculum. Such complex concepts are introduced very quickly. For example, “profit should be calculated as a percentage of the cost price. The profit margins should always be reasonable.” Moreover, learners often must “digest” complex topics on their own. For example, in one unit learners are asked to consider questions such as “Why do my customers like or dislike my product,” or “where should the product be available?” Such questions can be broken down and made even easier for learners. For example, when learners consider where they should sell they can first identify different types of selling points, then they could identify the advantages and disadvantages of each. The point is that it is difficult for learners to consider the question without a guided discussion that helps to answer a larger question such as “where should I sell my product?”
The topics for each unit were well defined, however I think the activities that accompany each unit could have been a little more creative. Six of the thirteen units only had participants discuss certain topics, rather than explore them through an activity. Lessons should provide students with more hands-on and interactive activities. For example, rather than showing a video of someone going to the bank and going through each step of depositing and withdrawing money, students could actually go to the bank and practice on location. This would be more useful than simply discussing or passively viewing the process.
Download materials here:
The New Youth Entrepreneur: Intermediate from Education Training and Enterprise Center (EDTEC) is designed for use with upper-middle school through high school students and introduces youth to entrepreneurship and business development. It can be offered as part of a school curriculum or as course, seminar or workshop outside of the academic setting. It is written for a domestic audience and has been adapted internationally.
Course materials consist of an Instructor's Guide, two Participant Workbooks, and an optional CD containing all materials. The two Participant Workbooks contain 13 modules, written directly for the student, with instructions for small-group activities and individual work, including self-assessments and problem-solving scenarios. The Instructor's Guide contains suggested answers and background information for all the materials in the Participant Workbooks; sample end-of-module test questions; and supplemental handouts. The Instructor’s Guide also suggests activities designed to foster learner-centered teaching.
The curriculum is presented in 13 modules:
Module 1: Entrepreneur? Who, Me? Yes! You
Module 2: Getting Ready for Entrepreneurship: Opportunities: They are all around you
Module 3: Getting Ready for Entrepreneurship: Business ideas for all communities
Module 4: Big picture: Economics, Pricing, and the Global Marketplace
Module 5: Money to Get Started
Module 6: Where to Do Business
Module 7: How to Sell Your Idea
Module 8: Types of Business Ownership
Module 9: Where to Get Help
Module 10: Records and Books: Did You Make Any Money?
Module 11: The Rules of the Game
Module 12: How to Mind Your Own Business
Module 13: You Can Make It Happen: Yes! You: The Business Plan
No formal evaluation results available
The New Youth Entrepreneur course is an up-to-date, thorough, and relevant entrepreneurship course for youth in the United States. The 13 modules contain a lot of useful and interesting activities and lead young people through exploration and consideration of all facets of starting and running a business. The course could be adapted for other countries, especially for developing countries, but a lot of work would need to be done to make the examples and materials appropriate and relevant.The Participant Workbooks are easy to follow and understand for the most part. There are a lot of photographs, illustrations and quotations used throughout the manuals, and plenty of space is provided for writing answers to questions or notes for activities. The materials assume good reading skills on the part of participants, and some pages are text heavy. Some of the instructions for participants may be confusing, or lacking in sufficient detail. As an example, Module 3 contains about 50 pages of ideas for businesses, with information on equipment, transportation, first steps, marketing, advantages, and risks for each one. The only guidance given to the participant is to try out one business idea, individually or with a group, or to “use them as triggers to spark your own ideas.” There are no instructions for the Instructor regarding these pages, nor are they mentioned in the Instructor's Manual.
The Instructor's Manual is designed in a way that is not familiar to this reviewer. There is very little overall guidance for the instructor, and each module focuses on the answers to questions posed in the participants' workbook, with minimal suggestions on facilitating discussions or setting up activities. There is no big picture overview of the course content and the activities contained in each module, nor are there any references to or guidance about the time it might take to work through a module or to implement the full course of 13 modules. The Instructor’s Manual does not discuss the teaching and learning methodologies that underlie the course, nor does it discuss the role of the Instructor. Because the course is workbook-based, it might be easy for an inexperienced instructor to have students focus on completing the individual activity pages in the workbook, and by-passing the group work or activities that might take place outside the classroom. There is little guidance for instructors on using discussions to reflect on ways to link the workbook topics and activities with personal experience, summarize contributions of students and small groups, and link the completed module with what is coming next. The degree to which the participants take ownership of their own learning; collaborate with others to learn rather than compete with each other; and apply or try out new skills in their daily lives (among other best practices) seems highly dependent on the skills, experience and preference of the instructor. However, there may be a training of instructors’ component to this program that addresses this reviewer’s concerns.
The strength of EDTEC’s [Education Training and Enterprise Center] The New Youth Entrepreneur is that it is designed with both the end user and instructor in mind. The end user is a US high school student. The workbook uses case studies and examples so that youth are able to focus their thinking around a particular issue. The curriculum then guides youth to analyze their findings and organize their analysis. In the end, the important aspect is the ability to make decisions. By presenting youth with questions and problem-solving challenges, the curriculum is interesting and youth have the flexibility to make the learning relevant to their own life.
The curriculum is also designed for ease of use for the facilitator. The guide is complete with possible answers, worksheets, supplementary activities, and tests. Also, the instructor does not have to be a business expert in order to conduct the training. By following the activities and preparing in advance instructors have all that they need. The supplementary activities are useful for an instructor in order to be able to tailor the timing of activities.
Another strength of The New Youth Entrepreneur curriculum is the mix of theoretical concepts with practical application. For example, when students consider a market the instructor can point them towards the data that the Department of Commerce provides to determine what population is needed to support certain business activities. In addition, the theoretical lesson on supply and demand is coupled with an exercise that has students look up the historic prices for gas. These activities are useful because they provide learners with the ability to obtain real information and to analyze and understand that information through the theoretical lens provided by the curriculum.
Finally, the curriculum provides a mix of both skills and information. The information such as the types of businesses is useful for a US audience because the stability of the economy predicts that the information is not likely to need very much updating. When this information is paired with a skill such as how to think about the advantages and disadvantages of each type of business, the learner is able to make strategic and well-informed decisions.
While the EDTEC curriculum has plenty of strengths it also has weaknesses. One of the weaknesses is the reliance on in-class activities. Case studies, quizzes, worksheets, and reading and writing activities are the mainstays. There is less reliance on interactive activities such as role plays or learning games. Such activities motivate learners to continue through the training program as well as provide ripe material to debrief learners about the experience and draw out learning. A second weakness is that adapting the EDTEC curriculum would require significant effort as the material is based on US teaching style (assumed US classroom or out of school program) and examples.
Developed in partnership with McGraw-Hill, Education For Employment Foundation's (EFE’s) Workplace Success Curriculum is an interactive work readiness program that teaches youth how to get and keep a job. The curriculum is designed to guide youth in overarching workplace principles such as work ethic, communication, and self-confidence. The program also provides detailed lessons on daily challenges such as how to prepare a presentation, interact with customers, work in teams, and manage time. The program has been implemented in several countries in the Middle East and North Africa. EFE works with local business leaders and training experts in the region to adapt the program’s content and structure to local market needs. As a result, Workplace Success lessons may be adapted to reflect the context and requirements of a particular business sector. The curriculum is available in English, Arabic and French. Workplace Success Curriculum topics include these:
The program includes 48-126 classroom hours over one to three months, depending on student and employer needs. One-third of the classroom teaching hours include interactive training; one-third are used for guest speakers from business; and one-third are for group activities, simulations, and role plays. Homework and other class-related learning activities are expected of participants and are intended to be equal to the time spent in class. For example, each participant has an internship or on-the-job training. The course is delivered by experienced local trainers who are certified by EFE after having successfully participated in the Workplace Success Training of Trainers program, in-class observation, and annual continued training. The training is offered in the Middle East and in North Africa. Facilitators must be certified by EFE after having successfully participated in the Workplace Success Training of Trainers program, in-class observation, and annual continued training. The training is offered in the Middle East and in North Africa. Although the Workplace Success Curriculum was first developed in 2005, the curriculum itself was customized multiple times based on each country’s needs (five countries total and three different languages). What makes the program unique is the pedagogy that the trainers follow as it applies to today’s market needs. EFE works globally with employers and the students to ensure that applicable topics (based on both students and employers’ needs) are covered during the training program.
The Workplace Success Curriculum training materials consist of four books and two instructional support manuals:Book 1: The Workplace: Today and TomorrowBook 2: The Workplace: Interpersonal StrengthsBook 3: The Workplace: Personal SkillsBook 4: Chart Your Career
EFE has two review processes for Workplace Success Curriculum:
Results of multiple EFE reviews for Workplace Success can be found here.
I reviewed four textbooks (in English) in the Professional Development series used with Workplace Success. These include:
Book 1: The Workplace: Today and Tomorrow
Book 2: The Workplace: Interpersonal Strengths
Book 3: The Workplace: Personal Skills
Book 4: Chart Your Career
EFE says its target group is out-of-school youth in developing countries and domestic youth from diverse educational and economic backgrounds aged 15-24. The textbook content suggests to me, however, that the target audience appears to be college level or high school or vocational school students who are seeking professional careers. The photographs, while they include a range of students from many cultures, appear to be of those who are headed toward white collar jobs. The curriculum would appear to be especially relevant for those who are headed toward careers in high-demand industries and career clusters such as: Information Technology, Health Science, Retail/Wholesale Sales and Service, Communication and Media, and finance and Accounting.
Book 1 focuses on occupations that the authors believe are most likely to have job openings in the coming years, how students can prepare for these jobs, and what the workplace environment is like: "professional business protocol, professional presence, and a customer first attitude are also explored and discussed." Book 4, as another example, offers guidance on planning a career and on developing, changing, and maintaining it with accurate information. Book 4 includes such topics as researching jobs and careers, writing a resume, advancing through promotion, networking and interviewing.
I found the content of all four books quite interesting and helpful to students who are exploring work, their first job(s) and careers. The clusters chosen are very likely to be in high demand in many of the countries where the program is currently operating. My only concern is that these were developed in 2005 and have not been updated since then and much has changed in the world economy in this time period that may need to be reflected in these books. In addition, this program is focused on what students heading into a professional work world will need, so it is based on expert knowledge of that world rather than on students' individual needs and perceptions and a curriculum that emerges from those needs. The classes are described as having interactive group activities and perhaps the curriculum is tailored through these or through the internships or on-the-job training.
The EFE Training of Trainers (ToT) manuals were not reviewed and the facilitators' guides were reviewed as they were made available to Ready for Work by EFE.
The material and flow of lessons follow a clear structure and logical evolution of knowledge and skills from one level to the next. The text is quite detailed and gives enough theoretical information and data. The program is designed to address the needs of unemployed youth in developing countries and domestic youth from diverse educational and socioeconomic backgrounds (age 15-24). If well delivered, the training can provide youth with a first step to economic activity and full engagement with the community. Yet, the language seems to be at a high level for the intended audience in certain lessons. It is worth looking at the adapted curricula to learn more about how the material was simplified and the text was converted to interactive, hands-on training activities, particularly when translated and adapted to various countries and cultures. The flexibility of the training duration and number of sessions encourages training institutes to use lessons as they see fit, but with this level of flexibility there needs to be a clear road map for redesigning the training course without missing the core competencies and to guarantee connectivity and smooth flow of the trainings which EFE provides.
Academy for Educational Development's (AED's) Passport to Success: Leader's Guide and Student Workbook, also known as the "Career Passport," is designed to help youth systematically capture the skills and knowledge gained in school, at home, or as a volunteer and apply them to the workplace. The curriculum aims to develop creative thinking and critical-analysis abilities, as well as self-esteem among students as participants begin to develop a professional resume that demonstrates their individual skills.
The Student Workbook is made up of worksheets that together form the sections of a professional résumé. The categories include personal information, education and training, work experiences, volunteer and community experiences, family-related activities, hobbies, interests and achievements, skills, strengths and abilities, plans, and references. The workbook is intended for use in a classroom but may also be applied to non-school based youth programs. Rather than providing a particular set of skills, the workbook provides a step-by-step approach for students to gradually develop a professional profile and the tools to self-evaluate their progress and development. The Leader's Guide is part of an umbrella program called Connections: School to Work Transitions Package. The guide provides instructions to facilitators on how to use the Student Workbook and offers suggestions for supplementary activities designed to accommodate the various learning styles of youth.
No formal evaluation results available
The Career Passport does not offer specific "life skills" and/or "employability skills," but is instead focused on tracking the skills gained from education, volunteering, and employment. It is therefore intended to complement other life and employability preparedness programs. It is an essential program that, if integrated by grade ten (at the latest), would allow youth to build a profile that reflects their personal and professional development, and help them to develop the skills to become self evaluators. While the curriculum is clear and straightforward, the Career Passport could benefit from a redesign to make it more visually appealing, or adapted as an online tool. If digitized, it would be even more interesting to youth, since technology is a language they all understand and can relate to.
Given that putting together a resume is fairly straightforward and requires information to be written down, the Career Passport manual offers a systematic way to do that. It doesn't necessarily lend itself to participatory activities. The flow of the manuals makes sense and is essentially in the order one would find information in a resume. While the student manual is comprised mostly of worksheets, the teacher's guide does try to point out what types of things should be discussed in depth for each topic and suggests supplemental activities. The program is primarily geared towards youth in secondary school but it can be adapted to other settings. As long as the youth going through the program understand the need for a resume, they might be willing to go through the worksheets. It could be helpful, perhaps, to bring youth who have gone through the process or used a resume to find a job to come as guest speakers or as assistants/facilitators of the program.
In addition, although the Teacher's Guide lists student-learning objectives at the beginning of each of the main sections, there isn't a measurable way of seeing if the student has achieved these objectives beyond the student filling in the worksheets and completing a career passport (resume) as a final product. Given that the curriculum is comprised mainly of worksheets, I would not say that it fosters critical thinking and creativity. It helps the learners to validate their past experiences and understand that this information can be incorporated into a resume, be useful in job interviews, etc. Finally, while the materials are easy to understand they are not geared towards learners at low literacy levels.
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