About EC-YP

Hello and welcome to the website of Extended Choices for Young People in Vocational Education and Training - EC-YP. The EC-YP website will provide information on the work of our EC-YP partnership as it develops its learning and thinking over the three years of the project work plan.


We will share our learning, disseminate the results we achieve and offer critical analysis and practical experience of developing extended choices for young people whose needs are not met by mainstream VET. We believe that our work will contribute to and influence European policy and practice and will support the improvement of VET outcomes for those young people who are vulnerable to marginalisation and social and economic exclusion.

We gratefully acknowledge the support of Erasmus+ in enabling us to design, develop and pilot an innovative package of active measures which will support and encourage new approaches to Vocational Education and Training that engages harder to reach young people in designing their learning and career pathways.

Susan Russam MBE, Chief Executive GEMS NI
Lead Partner EC-YP

EC-YP Profile

Funded by Erasmus+ under Key Action 2, Cooperation and Innovation for Good Practices, the Extended Choices for Young People in Vocational Education and Training (EC-YP) programme is led by GEMS NI with five partner organisations:

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Die Querdenker

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Ballymun Job Centre

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Time Associates

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The EC-YP project, which started in September 2014, aims to develop, transfer and implement a flexible model of customised support to improve VET outcomes and lifelong learning pathways for disadvantaged and vulnerable young people who experience difficulty coping in traditional vocational education and training environments and helps them build confidence, self-esteem and encourage self-belief and motivation which supports their personal choices and commitment for learning and work.

EC-YP is about providing customised mentoring assistance

• Starts where a young person is at
• Provides a joined up approach to addressing a young person's complex and changing needs and the things that are important to them
• Develops a flexible personal action plan and customised timetabled schedule that "wraps around" each young person based on 4 Zones:
1. Learning Zone
2. Life Zone
3. Leisure Zone
4. Work Zone
• Offers bespoke support through a personal innovation training fund and tailored work placements
• Enables a young person to maximise their potential through developing their confidence and motivation for learning and work.

...So it's about extending choices for young people

EC-YP will be delivered by the partnership through a series of integrated work packages across a three year period to August 2017. The model developed will be driven by both country specific research and pilot testing with 20 mentors and 60 young people not in education, training or employment drawn from the partner’s home countries. The partnership will optimise the value of the project through local, regional and European dissemination including the hosting of four conferences at key stages of the project. EC-YP Advisory Groups and Young People forums will be established in all partner countries to oversee the development of EC-YP and its recognition as a European quality learning package.

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Co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union

The EC-YP site went live January 2015; as the project progresses this site will be regularly updated.

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ErasmusPlus Logo

Co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union