Social Integration of Refugees through Education and Self Employment | 2 Mers Seas Zeeën


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Social Integration of Refugees through Education and Self Employment

Priority Axis

Technological and Social Innovation

Specific objective

Social Innovation

Lead partner

University of Greenwich

Start Date


End Date


Project budget

4 880 802

ERDF amount

2 928 481

ERDF rate



    Common challenge

    Over 1.2m refugees arrived in Europe in 2016, 147,815 within the 2 Seas region alone (R1) creating pressures and challenges on the host communities. A population surge creating a high costly demand on public purse €10,000p refugee/year to meet the needs of the new arrivals and integrate them into the local economy (R2). The regions struggle with the challenges of refugee family inclusion into education and economic independence exposing a population of lost economic potential. The regional school systems fail to effectively integrate refugee children characterised by missed school years, facing an alien education system and ill-informed teachers. Fragile refugee children find it difficult to integrate into the system, absenteeism is high, parental involvement with school is low.  Partner research shows an appetite for refugee enterprise but exposes a gap due to the limitations of partner specialist knowledge and experience to deliver. Actions to JS RBO summarised Section D3. 

    Main Achievements

    The Social Integration of Refugees through Education and Self Employment (SIREE) project aims to improve the social and economic integration of refugees and migrants in the partner regions and wider 2Seas area. The project has 9 partners in the Netherlands, France, Belgium and the UK working together with refugees and migrants to create and implement actions to enhance the integration of refugees and migrants in each of the regions.

    The partners are universities, municipalities, charities and local groups. The partnership is also supported by observer partners including municipalities, schools and refugee support groups. The partners knowledge of the local context is of great benefit and the bringing together of the partners through this project aids cross-border cooperation.

    The integration of refugees and migrants is being researched and explored via education and self-employment. The education section of the project has just completed its initial research phase, where 81 individuals were interviewed including refugee and migrant families, policy creators, and teachers in Belgium, France, Netherlands and the UK.

    The project has published a report: 'Transcending Educational Boundaries: Challenges to the educational inclusion of refugees in Europe’s 2 Seas area'. This key deliverable is the foundation for the creation of 40 learning communities.

    All partners are using the report as a basis to aid discussions at the Learning Community meetings. The report highlights the cross-border differences and similarities. As a result of the report, it is likely that many of the learning community discussions will start by looking at one of the following topics, including: Education for refugees; Teacher characteristics; School-parent partnerships; Peer relationships; Community collaboration; and School Policies.

    To research the self-employment component of the project, interviews with 70 individuals and a gap analysis about refugee and migrant entrepreneurship have been conducted by all partners. Drawing on findings from this research, a guidance document is being produced which exposes the current gap in refugee entrepreneurship provision.

    This report will inform which workshops and web content should be delivered for newcomer entrepreneurs. The project teams are compiling lists of country specific resources and mentors for entrepreneurs wanting to take part in the programme. Links are being made with local organisations which can refer entrepreneurs to SIREE.



    VIVES University College

    Medway Plus

    University College Roosevelt

    City of Mechelen


    Municipality of Middelburg

    Knowledge Center ARhus Roeselare

    Learning Shop West Flanders


    URL / Download

    Mobile friendly website providing a virtual incubator with steps to: self-employment for refugees to create a new business

    Theme: Social economy or entrepreneurship - Social services
    Type: Service
    Target: Citizens