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SELVET - Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) in Vocational Education and Training (VET) - was a Leonardo partnership project subsidized by the EU under the Lifelong Learning Programme. The partnership consisted of five organisations: AKUT Alapítvány, Hungary; The Hague University of Applied Sciences,The Netherlands; Creative Youth, the United Kingdom; Volkshochschule Göttingen, Germany; and Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology, Malta.

Elizabeth of iFacilitate was a member of the UK partner team and participated in the visits, undertook the evaluation of the meetings, helped in the design and facilitation of the UK meeting, and co-wrote and co-edited the guidebook, a major output of the project.


Social and emotional learning (SEL) programmes help children and adults to develop the fundamental skills for life effectiveness. SEL helps students to become good communicators, cooperative members of a team, effective leaders, and caring, concerned members of their communities. The present project aimed to explore the implementation of SEL programmes within vocational education and after-school settings in the different partner countries. Each partner hosted a 3-day visit to their country and organized lectures, meetings, excursions, discussion sessions and cultural activities.

As a result, good networking and relationships were developed between the representatives of the participating countries. Partners were able to experience and to appreciate the different cultures and settings of each of the 5 countries. The educational visits organized by the different host countries contributed towards a better understanding of the diverse provision of vocational education in Europe

Visit of the partners to the UK

Elizabeth worked with Creative Youth to plan and to organize the UK meeting of partners which took place in Kingston upon Thames. The process required a high degree of coordination as the agenda included visits to Kingston College, presentations by colleagues, workshops run by theatre companies mentored by Creative Youth (Smoking Apples Theatre, Page One Theatre and Filksit Theatre), and discussion sessions.

The experience was seen as very positive. The mix of activities enabled the group to get to know each other better, to share common interests and to make progress on the project. The partners enjoyed greatly their experiences of community events such as Ski Sunday, the King’s Soup and Homage de Fromage Cheese Club, and the arts-based activities during the working sessions. Such actvities were not only creative and fun, but also fostered communication and collaboration, and could inform approachs to Social and Emotional Learning provision. 

I believe that it is very important to attend and participate in different community events mainly because it would help us to get a clearer picture of the community. From this experience I was intrigued because, although they did not use extravagant resources they were all a huge success (especially the Ski Sunday and the King's Soup). Furthermore, I believe that the arts-based workshops were very informative and appealing, not only to the project but also to us as educators.”

Writing and Production of the Guidebook

With the completion of the visits to each partner country, a great deal of learning, insights into practice, and information had been shared.The groundwork for the production of a ‘guidebook’ was laid.The partners agreed that the purpose of this document was to

  • Give an overview of the concept of SEL and its application within partner countries
  • Raise awareness of its importance of SEL programmes in formal and informal education
  • Provide a rationale and argument for inclusion of SEL programmes in VET.

The main target audience included school directors, principals, and teachers, as well as decision-makers and policy-developers within vocational education. All partners contributed content for the guidebook. As well as acting as co-author and co-editor, Elizabeth worked  with Creative Youth to co-ordinate the proofreading, design and final production of the document.

Copies can be downloaded from:


In undertaking the SELVET project, and in visiting each participating country, the partners created a rich resource of learning, and compiled a valuable databank of literature and case study examples. Future work will involve closer examination of this material, in order to inform the assessment of practical means by which SEL provision can be extended and improved in different settings.  The partners will build on the very constructive relationships created in the course of this project and plan to meet and to discuss future collaborations.

“I enjoyed the meetings very much and would love to get together again soon, e.g. for another project. The vibe was all of time, in every country great, and I think the output of highest value as well. It is really rare to find so many nice and capable people at once, therefore I would like to stay in contact and keep the chance for many future collaborations to come.”

Completion of the SELVET Project

SELVET (Social and Emotional Learning in Vocational Education and Training) was a partnership project subsidized by the EU under the Life Long Learning Programme. Elizabeth of iFacilitate worked as a member of the UK team, and participated in all meetings, undertook evaluation activities, and helped in producing and in editing the guidebook, a major output of the project.

Peacebuilding: dealing with complexity and change. How can the field of systems thinking help?

on Mon, 12/10/2012 - 20:10

To start, I must clarify what I mean by the field of systems thinking. Here I am referring to the field of study, discourse and practice that has its roots in the second world-war when scientists from different disciplines found themselves working together on military problems.  A system is considered to be one whose elements are interconnected and interdependent to form the whole and display properties of that whole rather than those of the component parts.

Divides and segregation in communities can cause problems due to a lack of interaction and communication. Misunderstanding, fear of the unfamiliar and a compulsion to attribute blame for difficulties in life can lead to prejudice and stereotyping, particularly in times of social stress and uncertainty. Where there is a past history of abuse or violence between groups, separation does not allow for any healing or reconciliation and stores up problems for the future. 

iFacilitate works with you, your stakeholders and communities in ensuring

  • identification of the barriers and issues that create community conflict and divison, and the relevant stakeholders
  • agreement on productive approaches towards addressing such barriers and divisions
  • development of better working relationships and effective communication between all concerned. 


The below '1, 2, 3' approach may be sequential or combined in different ways. 

  1. We design processes to enable participants from different groups to interact and to work together. The aim is to ensure that each individual feels safe and is not taken out of their comfort zones too early in the process. The activities are enjoyable and engaging, create a sense of fun and allow for learning and exploration.
  2. We work separately with each group for a time. Creative ways are used to draw in participants and help them to overcome their fears, build self-confidence and open up new possibilities in personal and social development. The process allows issues to be aired and explored within the safety of the home group.
  3. We support divided groups in coming together and in engaging in the challenging process of bringing difficult and divisive issues to the surface. They are encouraged and enabled to look at the situation from the other’s perspective and to explore the potential for creating a new and shared community narrative. The process allows for healing and for learning from the past in order to move towards a better future for all.