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Project BALANCING COMPETENCIES - Enhancing the participation of young adults in economic and social processes: balancing instrumental, biographical and social competencies in post-school education and training
Overview This project was concerned with the question of what it may mean to widen employment choices and empowerment opportunities for unemployed young adults in the rapidly changing conditions of a ‘globalising’ labour market. 

A participatory approach was adopted, involving professionals, programme developers, policy makers, and young adults. Methods included focus groups, diverse consultation processes, individual and group interviews, participant observation, conversational inquiry, and video. 

Empirical research was especially focused on in depth case studies. Each cycle of research, including the case studies, was guided by key concepts/ themes and contradictions that had emerged from previous cycles of research. There was much variation across the teams in the range of ethnographic, qualitative, biographical and collaborative inquiry research approaches and methods applied. The use of an emergent design approach, and ongoing ‘within country’ data collection and analysis was further strengthened and enhanced by rigorous co-inquiry across the full European team on a regular basis throughout the project. Workshops helped to keep insights on the ground contextualised, yet simultaneously connected to a more multi-layered systemic and cross-European analysis. 

The results of collaborative research included comparative studies. (Wildemeersch et al., 2000, pp. 1-12)

Insight "This report documents the journey of six teams of European researchers who have set out to understand better the dilemmas of professional interventions for enhancing social and economic participation for unemployed young adults." (Wildemeersch et al., 2000).
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