The Essence of Changes&Chances
Education with the arts as a road to a better future. It is a vicious circle: a lack of skills, necessary for finding a job, leads to an existence in the margins of society. A false step leads to imprisonment, a criminal record and even worse prospects on work, which, in its turn, leads to recidivism.
Often this tragic cycle is hard to break. The ‘complicated background’ of many perpetrators causes them to feel ill at ease within traditional and academic learning processes, so that these offer little perspective.
Increasingly the insight grows that exactly for this group, which generally has bad experiences with regular education, creative working methods offer opportunities for working on the improvement of basic skills and competences. Music, theatre, photography, film, the visual arts and dance are also an international language, without thresholds and without illiterates. Additionally, working methods based on the arts can contribute to the increase of one’s self-esteem and the creation of a positive self-image.
The essence of Changes&Chances is the use of educational working methods with the arts as a catalyst for developing social and employability skills. The result is an, in every respect a revolutionary concept in which art education, learning processes and certifying are being approached in an entirely new fashion.
For instance, in order to successfully create a dance performance, a theatre play or a mural with a group of people, the participants must possess quite a number of essential skills. One has to be able to collaborate, to listen to each other, contribute ideas, try to improve oneself, keep ones appointments, be critical and be able to work independently from time to time.
These are exactly the kind of skills, currently often called employability skills, that give someone a better chance to find a job. Recent research by the University of Exeter shows that, especially where relatively simple work is involved, employers value these ‘Skills’ higher than a school diploma.
After successful pilots in 2011 and 2012, which took place mainly in prisons in seven European countries, a certificate has been developed that describes the competences the participants have mastered.
The developed certificate: SEPE (Supporting Employability and Personal Effectiveness) has now been accredited by Edexcel (the UK’s largest examining body and major player on the American and Canadian market). On a European level it is recognized within the EQF (European Qualification Framework). This certificate can be used during a job application procedure to show that someone has the proper skills for functioning within an organization.