wake up

WAKE UP YOUR VOCATION is an Erasmus+ project that involves more than 30 educational centres, 600 young people, parents, teachers, and public and private entities, in order to reduce the gap between the education system and the labour market and facilitate the youth’s access to the labour market.


This innovative initiative unites Spain, Italy, Belgium and Croatia. The project is led by the Santa María la Real Foundation (Spain), together with the Agenzia regionale per il lavoro la formazione e l’accreditamento (Italy), the Goethe-Institut e.V. (Belgium) and Znanje na djelu (Croatia). The project encompasses eleven primary and secondary schools in Croatia: Osnovna škola Vladimira Nazora Daruvar, Češka osnovna škola J. A. Kamenskog, Gimnazija Daruvar, Tehnička škola Daruvar, Obrtnička škola Bjelovar, Osnovna škola Rapska, Osnovna škola Samobor, Srednja škola „Vladimir Gortan“ Buje, I. gimnazija u Zagrebu, X. gimnazija Ivan Supek, and Gimnazija Dubrovnik.


Young people in Croatia, Spain and Italy face many challenges that make difficult their transition from the educational system to the world of business and hinder their access to the labour market.

At the root of this gap between education and employment lie several hindering factors, including the transmission of erroneous beliefs about what the job market currently values, a lack of work-based learning programs, a clash between student expectations and the reality of working conditions and a lack of educational adaptation to changes in the labour market.

There are two challenges that education should respond to: on one hand, students need to be made aware of new labour market paradigms and competences demanded, and on the other hand, a realistic views of what companies are looking for and how they look for employees needs to be transmitted to students, so that their expectations are aligned with reality and they have enough knowledge and information for decision-making when pursuing higher education and professional development.

Vocational guidance activities provide an option for solving these challenges, which are at the core of and will be addressed by the Wake up project.


The first phase of the project begins with an analysis of experiences and attitudes towards vocational guidance, and the opportunities for labor market access for young people. This phase involves conducting surveys and interviews with teachers, parents/guardians, and students aged 12-18, as well as the analysis and consolidation of results in a unified report that will be available in four languages (Croatian, English, Spanish, Italian).

This analysis will reveal the needs and possibilities of vocational guidance, building a valuable foundation for the second phase of the project. The second phase starts with the creation of a methodological handbook for teachers, which will be used as a tool for the vocational guidance of students. Online teacher education will be conducted (3 days for 3 hours), based on the handbook. Two open webinars and additional digital materials and content for self-study will also be produced. Online awareness-raising sessions for students and teachers will be held, dealing with vocational guidance and labour market access topics.

During the final phase of the project, all results, experiences and lessons learned will be compiled and presented as EU policy recommendations to key stakeholders in Brussels. This phase will be led by the Goethe Institute. 

Wake up



In the first phase of the project, we surveyed 2833 people: 1618 pupils aged 12-18, 852 parents, and 262 teachers and counsellors from three countries participating in the project (Croatia, Spain, Italy).

Some of the main takeaways from the research are as follows:

    • The vast majority of parents and teachers recognize the value and need for vocational guidance in schools, and a significant number of pupils think that such activities would be of benefit.
    • Around 40% of pupils are not sure what factors to consider when making decisions about their academic and professional future.
    • There is still a gap between the need for vocational guidance and the opportunities for such activities that are actually offered to pupils.
    • Obstacles to the inclusion of vocational guidance activities in schools include a lack of accurate and up-to-date information about the labour market, a lack of time and human resources, and a lack of education and training for teachers and counsellors.

For more details about the research, you can read our full report:


Download phase 1 report


In the second phase of the project, a handbook for vocational guidance was constructed under the lead of our Spanish partners Santa María la Real Foundation. The handbook is inteded for all teachers, counsellors and educators that want to implement vocational guidance activities with their pupils, informing them about the labour market and helping them develop transversal skills they will need.

The handbook was tested through multiple workshops with pupils and parents, as well as through an online teacher training course. In Croatia, we held 13 workshops with 272 primary and secondary school pupils, and 10 workshops for 113 of their parents. 23 teachers, counsellors and school principals participated in the 3-day online training course. The workshops and the training included participants from all over Croatia: from Zagreb, Samobor, Bjelovar, Buje, and Daruvar. You can read more about the teacher training here.


Download the Croatian version of the methodological guide


Download the Croatian version of the Policy recommendations


In the third phase of the project, Policy recommendations on guidance and education for young people’s transition into a new world of work have been written up. The goal of the document is to inspire different education stakeholders and specifically policy makers to keep improving the situation and pursuing necessary reform efforts.

The recommendations are sorted by regions: the first ones are valid for the European level and the following are applicable to the partner’s countries Spain, Croatia, and Italy.

All Policy Recommendations follow the same structure:

  • Title of the recommendation
  • Who should act?
  • What needs to change?
  • Why is this change necessary?