Social Economy Education in Europe

The ‘social economy’ can help create stable employment and promote social inclusion. Employing a workforce of over 19.1 million in Europe, social enterprise and the solidarity economy has the potential to create stable employment with high economic and social returns. Yet education about the social economy in European Higher Education Institutions is still largely absent. Where it does exist, it remains largely theoretical, failing to connect students with their communities and real-world learning experiences.

‘Se4ces’ is a knowledge alliance seeking to create an enabling environment for the social economy to thrive by promoting closer partnerships between higher education institutions, social economy organisations and enterprises, as well as community stakeholders. Financed under Erasmus+, with Bristol University Inclusive Economy Initiative as the only UK partner, the project seeks to:

  • Provide an overview of the current Social Economy education landscape and analyse the needs in training and skills in SE organisations
  • Pilot Social Economy Living Labs in 4 EU countries – spaces for interaction, collaboration and knowledge co-creation connecting higher education, students, organisations and communities
  • Bridge the gap in supply and demand of SE education and skills by building up an international Masters programme on Social Economy and Community Development Strategies.

Educational material developed in the project will be freely available online on an open source platform. The Project will facilitate moving beyond existing traditional models of teaching and learning in the field of SE and suggest alternative models of teaching using community-centred, cooperative approaches that are at the heart of the overall philosophy and principles of Social Economy. Such approach aims to improve collaboration, employability and citizen engagement, but most importantly act as a catalyst for Social Economy and its potential for European societies and beyond.

Lasting 36 months, SE4Ces Knowledge Alliance brings together many partners, including Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (GR), University of Bristol (UK), University of Bologna (IT), Autonomous University of Barcelona (ES); the Social Economy organisations: Cooperatives Europe (BE) A.I.C.CO.N (IT), and FEBEA (BE); and two Research and Training Institutions: Stimmuli for Social Change (GR), AN.KA SA (GR). Have a look at our website here.