The SENSE project (Vocation and Sexual Sensitivity – Sexual Diversity in Social Domain Vocational Training) aims to integrate sexual diversity sensitivity (a welcoming attitude to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender clients and clients with an intersex condition; LGBTI) in VET studies in the social domain. Such a welcoming attitude is part of a wider complex of diversity skills.
Except in the Netherlands, little research or work has been done on sexual diversity in VET institutions. More general studies show a relatively high level of intolerance towards LGBTI people. Studies also show that lower educated people are less tolerant of LGBTI people than others. This is a serious concern in the VET social domain, where students are trained to take care of an increasing number of elderly or disabled LGBTI people who have emancipated over a number of years and do not want to go back in the closet when they become dependent on the care of others.
The SENSE project develops 4 products to secure optimal integration of sexual diversity sensitivity in social domain VET courses:
1. A trigger performance by students, which creates enthusiasm and interest
2. A teacher training, which addresses insecurities and improves the pedagogic competences of VET teachers
3. A curriculum consultancy manual, which provides guidance on how to structurally integrate sexual diversity sensitivity in a spiral course curriculum
4. A competence framework, which describes the needed diversity competences of VET students and which will function both as an underlying model for the other products, and a tool for discussion with the aim to improve the formal competence frameworks in the participating countries and regions.
The project has 7 partners. GALE, CESIE, Villa Montesca, EUROTrainers and DEFOIN develop the products and test them in local VET institutions. In the Netherlands, the Regional VET Centre of Amsterdam is a full partner because of its extensive experience with diversity in an extremely multicultural city. Finally, EfVET (the European forum of technical and Vocational Education and Training) coordinates the dissemination and discussion on the European level. 13 staff and associated teachers and 15 students will be involved in the development.
The project partners start with training by GALE, needs assessments and the development of the products. These are partly based on experiences of the Dutch partners. In the school year 2019-2020, the SENSE pathway is implemented: students perform in trigger theatre plays or present and discuss video’s they made, a teacher training is given the partners develop in a few sessions a spiral curriculum with the VET course. A few of the lessons from the spiral curriculum are tested in practice. In total, about 700 students, teachers, manager and other stakeholders will be involved in these activities.
In the last months of the school year, the experiences are evaluated. The products are reviewed, produced and disseminated among approximately 158,000 people. The products – and especially the competence framework – are discussed by national and international stakeholders. The project aims to get a commitment to include sexual diversity sensitivity in the formal qualification frameworks for VET students and as a logical topic to be taken into consideration on the European level. To further enhance the sustainability of the SENSE method, the partners develop a marketing plan and a view to upscaling the method to other domains.
- Stichting Global Alliance for LGBT Education (The Netherlands)
- Eurotrainers Educational Organization (Greece)
- CESIE (Italy)
- Formacion Para El Desarrollo E Insercion, Sociedad Limitada (Spain)
- Stichting Regionaal Opleidingencentrum van Amsterdam (The Netherlands)
- Fondazione Hallgarten – Franchetti Centro Studi Villa Montesca (Italy)
- European Forum of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (Belgium)
Start: 31/12/2018 – End: 31/05/2021