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COMBI “Communication competences for migrants and disadvantaged background learners in bilingual work environments”

The goals of COMBI project are to develop innovative and inclusive/systemic practices and methods focused on acquiring communication competences in the languages required in the workplace. It takes into consideration the multilingual reality of European regions. The aim of the method is not to acquire full competences in two or more languages, but to make sure that the regional language is taken into consideration as far as it fulfils language requirements in the workplace.

Partners of the COMBI project

Research theme: Multilingualism and Language learning
: 01/11/2016 - 31/08/2019
Coordinating partner:
Mercator European Research Centre
: Johanneke Buning, Cor van der Meer
DG Education and Culture – Erasmus+ Programme, KA2 Strategic Partnerships for Adult Education
Collaboration with
: Elhuyar-Zubize (Spain), Banaiz Bagara elkartea (Spain), Axxell Utbildning AB (Finland), Swansea University (United Kingdom), Centro per lo Sviluppo Creativo “Danilo Dolci” (Italy).

Project activities

The COMBI project has resulted in the following outputs:

  • The Needs Analysis, composed of two parts: 
    • A review of the available literature on the use of minority languages in the health care sector,
    • Results from a survey held by COMBI among 216 participants across the 5 regions of the COMBI partners. The survey aims to uncover what language skills migrants need, and to fill in information gaps left after the review of the literature.
  • The Teacher Trainer Toolkit, based on the results of the Needs Analysis. In February and March the Toolkit was piloted with teachers from the regions of the COMBI partners.
  • A set of seven Modules that offers concrete courses based on the Teacher Training Toolkit. (For this a registration at is required. This registration is free of charge).
  • Guidelines and Good Practices: a roadmap on Best Practices in the field of multilingual workplaces 

All Intellectual Outputs have been translated to the languages of the partners. Welsh and Basque versions are available as well: please see the COMBI webpage for more information.


Multiplier Events

The 1st COMBI conference in San Sebastian (photo: COMBI)

To disseminate COMBI's goals, activities and products, the partners organize four Multiplier Events, to which COMBI's stakeholders will be invited.


Multiplier Event 2017 (Donostia, Spain)

The first Multiplier Event took place in June 2017, in Donostia / San Sebastian, Spain. During this event, the work done by COMBI and good practices from all over Europe were shared. Due to the location of the meeting, a certain focus was on the Basque Country.

Two days of international speakers, stakeholders and experts in minority language gathered attracting many participants at local and international level. The multiplier event in San Sebastian was an important occasion to present the first results of the project.


COMBI Meeting 2108, Palermo, Italy

Multiplier Event 2018 (Palermo, Italy)

The Centro per lo sviluppo creativo Danilo Dolci in Palermo (Italy) hosted a partner meeting and Multiplier Event of the COMBI project on 12th of June 2018. The main theme was communication competences for migrants and disadvantaged background learners in bilingual work environments.

During this event the COMBI project group presented its research and learning materials produced so far. In addition, Dr. Christina Wagoner; Cardiff University presented her PhD research on minority languages and health care in Wales.

Fabio Lo Verde, professor of Sociology at University of Palermo, presented on the Sicilian experience on minority languages and the inclusion of migrants. The day also included round table discussions on the inclusion of migrants, and the use of a region's minority language in health care.


Multiplier Event 2019 (Swansea, United Kingdom)

On 12th April 2019, the COMBI project organized a conference at Swansea University. During the conference, three keynote speakers discussed the use of minority languages in the workplace and the challenges and opportunities that migrants face in this respect:

  • Meri Huws, the first Welsh Language Commissioner (April 2012-March 2019),
  • Professor Sari Pöyhönen, Professor in Applied Linguistics at Jyväskylä University, specialising in language education, policy and migration in Swedish communities in Finland,
  • Gwerfyl Roberts, former Director of the LLAIS Research Centre working on the Welsh language in health and social care services.

In addition, the COMBI project presented the Roadmap for policy makers and care personnel, its research and tools for language teachers, vocational trainers, and policy makers and demonstrated how pathways for migrants learning minority languages may be improved.  Afterwards, participants discussed in round table sessions topics including bilingualism in the workplace and teaching methods for migrants, as well as provide feedback and input on COMBI‘s work.  



Site and social media

Please visit the project's website for more information and the latest reports: 

In addition COMBI is active on social media:

Combi Newsletter

Six times during the project, the COMBI will publish a newsletter with updates about its activities and products. You can register for this newsletter on the COMBI website. The newsletter can also be downloaded here: