Integrating young justice-involved people through careers in the sustainable Blue Economy José Santos November 23, 2023

Integrating young justice-involved people through careers in the sustainable Blue Economy

Embarking on a transformative journey, a new project co-funded by the European Union, and promoted by a collaborative consortium of partners from five European countries, sets sail on a mission to inspire justice-involved youth to pursue careers in the sustainable Blue Economy.

The vast expanse of our oceans holds a treasure trove of economic opportunities. Embracing this potential, the Blue Economy emerges as a beacon of responsible resource utilisation, toward economic growth, improved livelihoods, and the conservation of our oceanic ecosystems. This economic sector encompasses a diverse range of activities and industries related to the oceans, such as fisheries, aquaculture, shipping, renewable energy, and biotechnology.

Beneath the surface of this economic frontier lies a unique opportunity to inspire and empower disadvantaged young individuals in the justice system to pursue sustainable ‘blue careers’.

The Turning Blue – Integrating Young Offenders Through the Blue Economy – project is committed to establishing innovative cooperation mechanisms and developing training materials focused on the sustainable Blue Economy, with the aim of inspiring and engaging young justice-involved individuals to pursue a sustainable ‘blue career’ within various sectors.

This initiative seeks not only to raise awareness and enhance the appeal of ‘blue careers’ among highly vulnerable and disadvantaged youth but also to foster talent retention within the sector. Moreover, it aspires to uplift individuals with limited opportunities by providing skill-building initiatives, ultimately broadening their access to new and promising career pathways.

Identifying and defining opportunities for integration through the Blue Economy

One of the key pillars of the Turning Blue Project is the task of crafting the Turning Blue Roadmap, which is led by IPS_Innovative Prison Systems.
The overall objective of this initial effort is to carry out a scoping exercise to define a clear picture and focus of the blue economy sectors that can be attractive for the project’s target group and define the ‘Turning Blue’ competence profile for the blue economy career.

The goal is to identify, in each partner country, key blue economy sectors with high potential for employing young people with limited opportunities, primarily focusing on those with entry-level skills. Additionally, the initiative aims to define the ‘Turning Blue’ competence profile, identifying both knowledge and competencies required to operate in the selected blue economy sectors. The project will then draft recommendations addressing the unique needs of these young individuals, while also considering adaptations tailored to local contexts.

From this foundation, Turning Blue will then create a “From Prison to the Blue Economy” model that facilitates a seamless transition from incarceration to meaningful blue careers.
The resources planned by the partnership include sector awareness training programmes to introduce  young justice-involved individuals to Blue Economy careers, and a job placement platform, to establish a bridge between employers and those seeking a second chance.

Furthermore, the initiative will create a ‘Turning Blue’ Network to foster collaboration and knowledge dissemination towards an inclusive and sustainable Blue Economy, where the oceans not only sustain livelihoods but also contribute to the rehabilitation of lives.

Learn more about this project

The Turning Blue project is led by APROXIMAR Cooperativa de Solidariedade Social (Portugal), in collaboration with IPS_Innovative Prison Systems (Portugal), ProSea Marine Education (The Netherlands), Pelagic Freezer Trawler Association (The Netherlands), Click F1 (The Netherlands), 180 Foundation  (The Netherlands), European Association for Social Innovation (Romania), Magnetar Ltd. (Cyprus) and IRFIP – Religious Institute of Vocational Education and Training (Italy).

For more information, visit the project’s website at

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