SFEDI showcases its transformation of UK prison education at prestigious Entrecomp conference in Brussels

This month saw Ruth Lowbridge MBE, SFEDI Executive Chair, and Nic Preston, CEO SFEDI Awards, attend the DigComp and EntreComp EU Commission Practitioners and Stakeholders Event: ‘Inspiring Use and Building Community’.

This prestigious event was held at the Crowne Plaza in Brussels, with the conference looking at the European Digital Competence Framework (DigComp) and the European Entrepreneurship Competence Framework (Entrecomp).

SFEDI was the only awarding and standard-setting body from the UK to be invited by the EU Commission to share best practice from the UK’s perspective with colleagues from across Europe in commercial and educational institutions.

Ruth Lowbridge MBE was personally invited to speak at the conference and share the success of using Entrecomp’s framework as a foundation for SFEDI Awards qualifications, and presented ‘Unlocking Enterprise: Transforming Prison Education Through Entrepreneurial Learning’.

Ruth’s presentation showcased the use of the IOEE National Enterprise Standards in collaboration with the new European-wide Entrecomp framework, and how it has been used to develop qualifications that support prisoners to become more enterprising and better citizens and individuals upon their release. Ruth says:

“I spoke about how the context and environment that an individual applies their enterprise skills to can often be the difference between ethical and non-ethical business behaviours, and explained how through the support of SFEDI Awards qualifications, developed from the IOEE and Entrecomp frameworks, we are supporting both an increasing number of prisoners to develop as productive individuals, as well as supporting the Government’s agenda to reduce reoffending rates and create sustainable futures for those that undertake education within the prison estate.”

The conference also gave SFEDI the opportunity to share its experiences and the changes these are making within the UK with colleagues from Government, education, and businesses from across Europe, to support enterprise education on an international scale. Nic says:

“We used the Entrecomp framework to standardise the enterprise and entrepreneurship standards already adopted at a UK level, as set by SFEDI and the IOEE, against an international framework across Europe, to ensure a wider and more considered approach is taken to enterprise skills development.

Being personally selected to speak at this conference by the EU Commission was an outstanding achievement, and was an opportunity for us to showcase what sets us apart from other UK awarding bodies. However, not only was it a platform for us to share our experiences from the UK, but we were also able to provide examples of using Entrecomp’s framework to other educational and business practitioners from the rest of the EU – and inspire others by showing how they can adopt this framework successfully for huge benefits within their own country and educational systems.”

The first of the qualifications to use the EntreComp framework, Passport to Enterprise and Employment, was released in 2016, and has already seen use within a wide array of settings both within the prison estate and also to support unemployed people to get back into sustainable employment. Nic says:

“These qualifications are the first of many that will see a collaborative approach between the IOEE and EntreComp standards, with a view to supporting the standardisation of effective enterprise education both at a UK level and internationally.”

For further information on the IOEE National Enterprise Standards, see the IOEE standards database here, and you can find further information on EntreComp and the work of the EU Commission here.