Boosting Human Capital in the 21st Century

Priority axes

Technological and Social Innovation

Specific objective

Social Innovation

Lead partner

Provinciale Ontwikkelingsmaatschappij West-Vlaanderen


Diana Faifer

Start Date


End Date

3 760 208 €

Project Budget

2 256 125 €

ERDF Amount



Common challenge

Unemployment rates of low-skilled people (level 1-2 in the EU Qualification Framework) in the 2 Seas region remain high, while there is a continuously growing number of operational job openings amongst others in the manufacturing sector.

A study of DG Employment and Social Affairs (2015) mentions that a common cause is skills mismatch, either because there are not enough jobseekers with the necessary skills to fill open vacancies or because job requirements by employers do not fit with the competences of jobseekers. This study advises EU members to train the (un)employed. However, learnercentred training is underused in the manufacturing industry, training doesn’t account for barriers to learning experienced by low-skilled people (LSP) and fails to provide solutions to overcome these challenges (Nielson, 2011).

Therefore vocational training services for the manufacturing sector in the 2 Seas Region need modernisation by combining expertise of work and education (Marope et al., 2015).

Main outputs

The main outputs are pilots for real-life testing of the outcomes of two series of tests to integrate Innovative Learning Technologies and modern pedagogical approaches in vocational training for low skilled people (LSP) for the manufacturing industry. Aided by innovative recruitment methods, these pilots will help to identify and mitigate learning barriers and enhance understanding of the potential of ILTs and pedagogical approaches. Public employment services, LSP and companies suffering skills shortages will all benefit. A new training model, including the training of work floor coaches, will be jointly developed, tested, validated & evaluated.

The final output is a feasibility report based on the pilots, demonstrating the economic and sustainable viability of the BHC21 training model. Improved quality of training (from a learner’s perspective: increased motivation, less stress, high perceived usefulness) helps SMEs to find/retain qualified personnel and helps LSP to establish sustainable careers.

Overall objective

BHC21 aims to contribute to the development of more efficient and effective vocational training services for low-skilled people (LSP) applicable in the 2 Seas region. To do so, the project will develop a generic 21st-century training model which (a) makes use of innovative learning technologies (ILTs) and accompanying instructional design, tailored for easy adoption by Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) and (b) integrates new recruitment and training approaches to increase the success rate of the training.

The model will be developed bottom-up, through a process of co-creation in which employers, LSP, (public) vocational training organisations, knowledge institutes and public employment services are involved. By boosting the learning motivation, skills and career competences of LSP and stimulating a culture change among (manufacturing) SMEs regarding the investment in training of LSP, BHC21 wants to contribute to a reduction of unemployment rates amongst LSP in the 2 Seas area.

Cross border approach

Cross-border cooperation enables development and testing of a versatile training model that can be easily adopted in any vocational training context in the 2 Seas region, regardless of the national legal or educational framework.

Working crossborder, but with a joint focus on SMEs in the manufacturing industry, allows to take into account any local factors that may affect the rolling-out of the model. This is particularly appropriate as many manufacturing companies in the 2 Seas region are part of cross-border value chains. An increase of their employees’ skills also increases the global competitiveness of these value chains.

The project partners bring in their expertise and provide access to complementary technological, pedagogical or organisational knowledge from their region. From this pool of expertise, knowledge exchange captures test/pilot results from each region and incorporates them into a new training model. A common methodology guarantees the comparability of the results.

Our partners

Project partners from Belgium, France and the United Kingdom bring in their expertise and provide access to complementary technological, pedagogical or organisational knowledge from their region

Project partners
Observer partners