Created by: Cascais Town Hall – Employability Division


Abstract – 

Employability Tools is a transnational project, supported by Erasmus +, the European Commission, under Strategic Partnerships for Youth (Key-Action 2 Cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices) – project nr 2016-2-PT02-KA205-003613.

EMPLAY Tools are a set of physical and digital devices to work on employability competences with groups or individuals.

  1. Emplay Planner– is an interactive tool to develop employability skills, serves to organize your time and appointments, proposing a set of exercises and activities for personal development to be used individually or as a support for coaching or career advice.
  2.  Emplay Boardgame– (and its online digital version): a “gamified” support to develop employability, through challenges, group interaction and personal reflection.
  3. Emplay Handbook-a manual for youth and social workers who work towards employability promotion, explains how to use the tools and introduces other resources to work on employability. 

The tools are aimed at anyone wishing to develop skills, such as communication, knowledge of the labor market, lifelong learning, self-knowledge, job search techniques, among others.

It can be useful for students, people who are integrated in the labor market or for job seekers. All tools are interactive, calling for action and personal reflection. There are no right answers or watertight advice, only questions, inspirations and/or challenges are presented to support the construction of professional life projects.

These tools are free and are available in English, Portuguese, Italian and Dutch. These educational tools have been widely used by different organisations to foster personal & social competences and job search competences. They offer diversified and engaging resources for trainers, facilitators and employability workers, allowing them to pick and adapt to their goals and targets.

In the last 2 years, Cascais Town Hall has been implementing a dissemination strategy at the local and national level by (1) participating in several conferences and seminars, (2) developing regular short training courses for employability workers (attended by over 160 workers from 83 different organizations), and (3) creating EMPLAY Training for Multipliers (advanced training courses) to train multipliers at local high schools and NGO’s (attended 70 employability workers and youth people) 4) facilitate emplay board game regularly for people who want to explore their employability skills, 5) having several employability workers from Cascais Town Hall working as trainers within this framework. 

In the topic of digital transition the conditions brought up by the pandemic created the opportunity to adapt some of the tools (like the board game, for instance) to also be used online. These tools can be used either in person or online, having also the possibility for a blended approach which combines online and offline. Participants in the session will experience and get to know all these possibilities, identifying how they can transfer them to their own local context.

EMPLAY – Employability Tools dissemination strategy is designed to reach the following learning objectives:

  • Develop participants’ awareness about employability competences (personal and social competences & job search competences) and the current labour market 
  • Capacitate participants to use active methodologies to explore and work on employability competences 
  • Equip participants with a set of tools to foster their employability
  • Mobilize youngsters towards their autonomy and decision making regarding their own employability personal project 
  • Reflect cooperatively about methodologies to work on competences within the school context and NGO organizations.
  • Create a network of local education agents focused on transversal competences and active job search
  • Create concrete adaptations and new proposals around EMPLAY tools which address the specific needs and peculiarities of each local reality, thus ensuring transferability. This objective implies a clear understanding of the role of the youth/employability worker in the facilitation of EMPLAY tools.


Description of the activity

Since 2018, we have been developing several initiatives to disseminate the tools. In 2020, with the pandemic, there was a need to switch to an online format.

Some activities that were implemented were:

  • The board game have been converted to a more accessible and versatile online format.
  • Online short training courses were developed for technicians from different NGOs, including institutions that work with people with disabilities and/or mental illness.
  • Emplay tools were also used in various experimentation programs with different youth workers, some of them with disabilities and/or mental illness.
  • Boardgames were played in an online format, with a total of 27 participants, some of which with disabilities and mental illness.
  • Also during 2021, Emplay was part of the Resolution project – supported by the Erasmus + Programme, aiming to be a platform for sharing 16 projects considered good practices in the area of ​​employability for professionals. The project selection was made by the Cités des Métiers Network.
  • Two EMPLAY Trainings for Multipliers (emplayers) were developed in 2019 and 2020. These advanced training courses included both peer emplayers (high-school students and volunteers or users from NGOs) and professional emplayers (teachers, school counsellors and employability workers). 


Who can be included

Within the tools dissemination strategy, there are initiatives for employability technicians and there are initiatives for youngsters to develop their own employability. The advanced course brings together both technicians and young people.

In all initiatives, people with different specific employability conditions are integrated: whenever there are participants with specific conditions, we try to make adaptations to ensure physical and cognitive accessibility to the tools.


Special needs tackled

The diversity of contexts that came together in the dissemination sessions was very valuable to improve cross-sectorial contact and synergies. Since 2018, the strategy for disseminating the tools has involved around 250 people (employability workers and youth people).

For example, in the EMPLAY Training for Multipliers sessions, there were 4 groups of 16/20 participants each that combined people from all types of organizations: there were young students, teachers and school counsellors from different high schools, there were workers and peers from NGO’s dealing with disability, some dealing with mental illness, others dealing with long term unemployment and people on welfare support, employment offices and even individual trainers focused on soft skills or human resources.


Needs for specific tools / hardware / supports

It would be important to develop a community network, to share best pratices and tools adaptations, using a social network as a digital tool for sharing between employability workers and youth people.

For example, some adaptations were made by organizations that work with people with disability, using accessible language, and could be disseminated in this community.


More documentation:

How is this activity inclusive?

The initiatives we develop are inclusive insofar as people with different needs and backgrounds can have access to the various initiatives: we believe that building diverse learning groups is a good practice of inclusion. 

We do not develop specific initiatives for people with disabilities or mental illness or for technicians who work in this area: what we promote is the construction of diverse learning and sharing groups, creating conditions for changing attitudes and building truly inclusive contexts. 

We adapted a “personalized” approach, which tried at all times to tailor the process to the needs of the people involved, either being a target group with special needs or a specific setting, like high schools.

To reinforce mutual recognition and learnings from different settings, the in-room sessions in the advanced training courses always took place in the premises of different participating organizations. For example, for many high school students it was the first time they entered a center for disabled people, whereas for many employability workers it had been a long time since they were inside a high school. This feature also increased the commitment of each organization to the project and its visibility within the organization. 


Regarding the methodological approach, the project was innovative in bringing the NFE methodology to these different settings: for many participants, even the more experienced, this was a novelty. We expect this experiences will influence their own teaching and intervention practices outside the project.


The adaptation and transfer of the tools to different settings was an innovative outcome demonstrating that participants used Emplay Tools as starting points for new outputs: for example, one of the NGO’s working with intellectual disability (CERCICA) created a new set of game cards using visual and language inclusive principles, adapting contents to fit its group. 

The training course was certified by the Scientific-Pedagogical Council for Continuous Teachers’ Education and by the National Board of Psychologists, thus testifying its quality and giving training credits to its participants.

How do you think it could be further developed / improved in terms of inclusion?

The intention of Cascais Town Hall is to continue with the dissemination of Emplay Tools and with the capacity building process of technical staff (social/youth workers, teachers, public servants), fostering a cross sectorial interaction and building stronger networks of organizations active in employability promotion at local level. This approach also privileges the development of competences and autonomy in Cascais’ youngsters and adults, namely those with special needs, aiming to improving their employability. Thus the attitude behind is one of open collaboration, looking for a constant improvement of the practice.

Therefore it would be most useful to exchange views and get contributions from participants in the EAYW as how to maintain on the long run the engagement of participants involved in the different editions of EMPLAY Training for Multipliers, in order to have a community of practitioners around this topic that is active, alive and productive, always searching for new opportunities for development and the creation of new outputs. 

Another topic would be to exchange ideas on how to further promote the appropriation and ownership of Emplay Tools by participants, fostering the possibility of creating and recreating new adaptations of the tools and methodologies, looking into how to boost the adaptation and transferability potential of the tools and practice.

Overall, we would be most interested in all kinds of constructive feedback and ideas for improvement or for new ways to follow up the value process around this practice. 

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