The German historian, Bade, characterised migration as "movements of people across borders and borders across people.”
Today, migration and mobility are central features of contemporary society. Europe hosts millions of migrants, including not only first, second and third generation immigrants, but also settled ethnic minority communities. While migration offers societies as well as individuals very significant benefits (not least in the context of the ageing of many European populations) it also poses challenges to those same societies and individuals. Although efforts to integrate migrants in European labour markets, education systems and other societal structures have met with some success in recent years, migrant and ethnic minority workers are still overrepresented in both low quality employment and long-term unemployment and underrepresented in further education and vocational training.
The causes of exclusion are complex, various and often beyond the scope of educational interventions. Nevertheless communicative competence in the majority language spoken in the country of residence is a prerequisite for inclusion and participation both in the labour market and society at large. OECD and other research confirms that the workplace is a key site for adult learning, with enormous often unrealised potential for language learning and the development of intercultural communication skills.
In the “new work order” shaping workplaces across Europe communicative competence even in low skilled roles is recognised as essential to enterprise success. Increasingly, governments are putting into place policies, research and educational programs to support this key vocational competence among speakers of the majority language. This project will help ensure migrant communities are included in this process by pulling together knowledge and expertise around the issue and developing a vision for future-oriented good practice development.