Print bookPrint book

Gap Analysis in book-format

.

Site: Samin - Innovative Approaches To Migrants Employability
Course: Gap Analysis
Book: Gap Analysis in book-format
Printed by: Guest user
Date: Monday, 10 December 2018, 7:50 AM

Table of contents

Executive Summary

Migrants in all of the countries of the SAMIN project face substantial disadvantages when it comes to vocational education and training and access to the job market. But there are projects to foster equal conditions in all of the countries, too. The partners within the SAMIN project from France (coordinator), Austria, Germany, Italy, Netherlands and UK have selected 18 projects, three per country, that were specifically dedicated to promote access to vocational education and training and access to proper jobs for migrants.

group Although the projects differ in various aspects there are similar elements that can be found in most of the examined projects: The selected projects fought discrimination, implicit stereotypes and intercultural barriers on the labour market and all projects aimed at improving accessibility to proper jobs through competencedevelopments, strengthening specific capabilities and the acknowledgement of professional experiences.S
everal of them involved potential employers and stakeholders from economy to boost the links to the world of work. Due to the specific groups targeted, the delivered services and activities vary remarkably and range from information and consultancy services to language training courses, from vocational training courses to training internships.


While in most of the projects the activities were dedicated directly to the main target group of migrants, in quite a lot of projects some services were rendered to additional target groups like teachers, trainers, employers and recruiters with their means and operations.

In the analysis, we have drawn attention to the methodological design of the 18 projects. Some projects applied specific pedagogical approaches while others were using various formal and informal methods. The comparison of the methodologies shows that there can be found two major approaches in quite a lot of the projects under consideration: some projects offered their services in a holistic, individual and person-centred approach while others relied on an approach of ownership and capacity-building. As all projects have been considered as successful and have lead to good results, it is possible to conclude specific recommendations from their experiences. These recommendations relate to the different aspects of the
projects like methodology and target groups, project planning and programmes and policies.

Introduction

Between 2010 and 2013 a project called FIBA (Förderung in Berufswahl und Ausbildung/support in career choice and vocational education and training) has been operated in 5 cities in Nothrhine-Westphalia, which - in terms of population - is the biggest of geh German state provices. The project has been carried out from the training provider ESTA-Bildungswerk in the cities of Bielefeld, Bochum, Dortmund, Duisburg and Oberhausen; duration has been 2 years in each of the cities. All of these cities have a rather huge migrant population and the biggest migrant group consists of people with turkish origin. The project has been funded as a project of innovationwithin ESF stream of Northrhine-Westphalia. The innovativ equality has not been to invent something totally new, but to combine a couple of proven services in an innovative way to serve the needs of young people with turkish family backgrounds to improve their access to initial vocational education and training in the economy.

After this project succedded several evaluations, the idea came up in 2012 to develop an international project to see whether these German results and findings can be compared with experiences from aboard. In beginning of 2013 such a plan came true and the project SAMINhas been elaborated as a joint project "transfer of innovation" within the life-long-learning program.

When the project has been accepted finally, each of the six partners from France (as coordinator), Austria, Germany, Italy, Netherlands and the United Kingdom agreed to research for three national projects that can be embedeed into such a comparative analysis.

This gap-analysis is the first deliverable out of a series of additional products: a methodological handbook about success-features enhancing migrants´participation in VET and labour market, a digital environment for professionals dealing with migrants, a capacity assessment of stakeholders´involvement and finally a report on exploitation will follow in the lifetime of this project (2013-2015).

Logo

Reference Project and Case Studies

In Germany exists a statistical and valid under-representation of people with migrant background in Initial Vocational Education and Training (IVET). This IVET in Germany is the predominant start for a (non-academic) professional career and it can have different forms and formats, but it is always based on a bilateral (double sided) structure, called dual apprenticeship. This IVET combines in-company training with theoretical lessons in vocational schools.The system is described as dual because training is conducted in these two places of learning - companies and vocational schools.

Access to vocational training is the critical juncture in school-to-work transitions.

Students without or with only lower secondary qualifications in many cases do not manage to enter vocational training right after leaving school1. The German VET system reinforces inequalities resulting from stratification within the German school system.

The apprenticeship training qualifies people for a variety of manufacturing or commercial occupations. The majority of graduates with a vocational certificate go into the labour market directly after completing their training. However, they also have the option to enter higher education or advanced vocational training.

Despite its seemingly robustness even in times of economic crisis, the German system has gradually become less responsive to the needs of the economy as a whole, due to several reasons2:

The situation for people with a migrant background is similar in the countries that are involved in this project 3: migrants face substantial disadvantages when it comes to vocational education and training and jobs. Although the level of disadvantage and discrimination may differ in diverse categories (from country to country, from region to region, from group to group, from sector to sector and so on), the overall picture keeps being confirmed, that the educational achievements of migrants are often lower compared to people without a migrant background, and thus the achieved vocational careers, are often lower than the ones of people without a migrant background. In Europe citizens of migrant origin are almost always overrepresented across most socio-economic indicators of disadvantage 4.

Considering the information above, an assumption of this Gap Analysis is that VET can improve the access to the labour market. The case studies chosen allow the verification of this assumption amongst others.

All of the examined 18 projects were specifically dedicated to VET-objectives and the integration of migrants into the labour market.

The projects were conducted in the last decade and they lasted between 3 months and 7 years. Accordingly, the compared projects vary significantly in terms of size and budget; there are small-scale projects that strictly depended on people working on a voluntary basis and without substantial cost headings up to projects with an annual budget of about 1.000.000 EUR.

1 Kohlrausch, Bettina, Youth Unemployment in Germany - Skill Biased Patterns of Labour Market Integration, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, 2012.

2 Cedefop REFER NET, VET in Europe – Country Report Germany, 2011; See also Cedefop Panorama Series 138: U. Hippach-Schneider, M. Krause, C. Woll, Vocational education and training in Germany, 2007.

3 Tjaden, Jasper Dag: What can international comparisons of outcomes and policies tell us about goof practices of migrant education,
Itinera Institut Discussion Paper 2012, p. 1.

4 Vidhya Ramalingam, Integration: what works? Institute for Strategic Dialogue 2013, p. 1.

Participating Organisations

Associazione Santa Chiara

BFI Upper Austria

BQN Berlin. Vocational Qualification Network for Migrants in Berlin

CAAPMIE Institut Protes-tant Centre d’Accueil et d’Accompagnement pour Mineurs Isolés Etrangers

Centro Astalli Palermo

migrare. Center for migrants, Upper Austria.

Des Passerelles pour l‘Insertion

ESTA Bildungswerk

FORUM Institute for Multi-cultural Affairs

Merseyside Refugee Support Network

Netzwerk Lippe

RAIH Réseau d’Accueil et d’Insertion de l’Hérault

Refugee Action Liverpool

Sicilian Region, Department for Employment

SIPI Amsterdam

Sola Arts

SWV Bouwopleidingen

ZFM Zentrum für Flüchtlingshilfe und Migrationsdienste

Approach of the Analysis and Overview on Data

This gap analysis compares national projects from Austria, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom that deal with the integration of immigrants into the labour market and the system of VET (vocational education and training). With this study we do not follow a statistical approach but a qualitative approach and, as such, we have operated a selection to conduct a  meaningful comparison. We see this comparison as a creative strategy of analytical elaboration through research.

As the chosen cases vary in terms of target groups, their national origins, political frameworks and the like, but produce a similar outcome (integration into VET and labour market), our aim is to explain this outcome by identifying the key factors shared by the different cases. Our interest lies in identifying the characteristics of projects that are relevant for their success. The comparative logic that drives this analysis aims at identifying generic items of empiric cases from six European countries.

This analysis will finally come up with a conclusive chapter on recommendations. This chapter is relevant for future implementations of projects. In this conclusion we establish a list of characteristic factors needed to achieve future objectives of integration of migrants. As such, the analysis may support training providers and policy makers in the establishment of projects and programmes. Our analysis does not establish a final state of the art, but it may be considered as a starting point for future strategic project planning in the selected countries.

While the chapters 4 -11 comprise the information given in the single interviews with the organisations, chapter 12 (recommendations) does not just reflect the questionnaires, but, additionally, contains the results of the referencing project FIBA and a comparison of the findings of the referencing project with the other 18 project findings and additional evidences.

A set of challenges has to be faced in connection with such an analysis and some of the features need clarification:

National projects:
We are interested in comparing projects from the EU member states which are part of this project (AT, DE, FR,IT, NL, UK). This means that we do not take projects into account that have an international scope. The reason for this concentration is that we are more interested in the national approaches to support migrants with clear and sharp operations on local and regional levels than in international approaches with their transnational nature and less impact on solving local and regional needs. Additionally we focus on projects and not on systems. A project can be defined as a temporary rather than a permanent approach and is constituted by a team within or across organizations to accomplish particular tasks under time constraints. Of course systems usually influence projects, but, nevertheless, in our study we only selected projects, because otherwise the comparison would have been much more challenging. Only if a system is influencing the chosen project in its operational success we embedded these systems´ information.

Integration of migrants:
The terms “migrant”, “immigrant”, “immigrant background” or “migrant background” are at least in Germany frequently used today in discussions and publications regarding immigration. The fact that this term is used as a matter of course creates the impression that it is clearly and precisely defined. This is neither the case on national levels nor on international levels. This leads to consequences in quantitative and qualitative terms. For example, different definitions can lead to different statements regarding, for instance, educational achievements.

So the definition of “immigration background” or “migrant” has an important effect on migration data and an analysis based on such data. This in turn has an impact on public understanding and on policy debates.

To serve the feasibility and practicability of this comparison we agreed upon refering to the definition that came into practice in Germany in 2005 within the micro-census statistical researches. Those statistics distinguished between people with migration background and people without migration background.

These categories replaced the former categories of “Germans” and “Foreigners”. These new categories broadened the concept, as since then the status of “migrant background” has not only derived from personal characteristics (migration, naturalization, nationality) but from parental characteristics, too.

In this research people with an “(im)migration background” are defined as foreigners, migrants (independent from their nationality), naturalized foreigners, people born in Germany, France, Italy, Austria, the UK or the Netherlands, having this nationality, but having at least one parent, that migrated to Germany, France, Italy, Austria, the UK or the Netherlands or having at least one parent, that is born in Germany, France, Italy, Austria, the UK or the Netherlands as a foreigner.

The authors of this study are aware of the fact that this definition is based on the concept of national origin although in the humanities it is widely accepted that this category can be a proxy or can be strictly influenced by other factors (social class, gender, generation, legal status, or other socially relevant categories). As projects usually follow the logics of programmes and grant schemes, this study has to follow these logics as well. Nevertheless, the project partners have paid attention to the avoidance of any misinterpretation with this group approach that tends to highlight the importance of specific immigrant attributes (immigrants’ culture, religious affiliation and so on), while these characteristics may be “… secondary to the constraints exerted by macro-level forces, from a receiving country’s citizenship laws to the prevailing institutions and norms on state/church relations.” 5

Labour market and the system of VET:
Although the economy is getting global there remain very different approaches in Europe to reach the goal of closing the gap between the demands of the economies and the structures of existing vocational education and training. Member states of the EU rely on specific institutional mechanisms bridging the worlds of education and employment; European countries are in the process of establishing qualification frameworks that provide additional mechanisms to link education and training
provision with labour market requirements.

VET in Europe covers diverse national systems, rooted in their specific economic and social environments. Initial vocational education and training (IVET) is normally part of upper secondary education but also includes a tertiary level (called ‘universities of applied sciences’ or ‘vocational colleges’ in many countries). Continuing vocational education and training (CVET) includes a range of
vocationally-oriented training provided by a variety of training providers. Despite all differences and variations, VET is seen as a driver to contribute to the labour market needs and as such to the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy.

Data collection
The data collection comprises information from 18 projects (3 from each partnering country). The survey was done in March and April 2014. Each partner used the questionnaire which had been developed in February 2014. The binding selection criteria for each project were the following:

Scope: The project was part of the educational sector and aimed at integrating people with a migration background into the labour market.

Target group: The project specifically targeted (young) people with an immigration background.

Success: The project received a (formal or informal) success status.

Time of existence: The project took place between 2003 and 2013.

Target Groups of the Projects

The 25 years old daughter of an Austrian dentist who came from Salzburg to Munich 50 years ago and who now is studying international affairs at a private university in a Bavarian city is a migrant as well as the 60 years old refugee from Syria who left their home due to massacres and are now living in a refugee hostel in the same city.

A particular distinction has to be made between intra-EU migration and migration from outside the EU. Subject to some transitory restrictions on citizens of new Member States, EU citizens have the right to live and work in other EU Member States. EU citizens are not subject to limits on the numbers that may be admitted, and are exempt from restrictions as to duration of residence and access to the labour market that may be applied to third-country nationals (persons who are not citizens of an EU Member State).6

As programmes or funds are regularly using the term migrant to describe the target audience, and as projects often have to meet the requirements of programmes or funds, this term is widely used in describing the targeted audience of a project, although the term migrant is very weak in a descriptive meaning.7

The 18 projects under consideration answer to this precondition and cover people from all over the world, who left their homes for different reasons. Only a few projects specified the target group as refugees and unaccompanied minors. All other projects targeted diverse people in terms of country of origin, legal status, mother tongue, language capabilities, cultural origin, educational level, duration of stay and other items.

Regarding entering the labour market, specific barriers exist for refugees in addition to challenges other migrants face. Challenges may include loss of identity documentation and qualification certificates, non-acceptance of qualifications or educational attainment, trauma and uncertainty, anxiety over family separation, the long period of inactivity in the asylum system, and limited social networks.

Downward professional mobility and de-skilling is particularly hard to cope with for those refugees with
qualifications who may suffer downward social, as well as professional mobility.

Obstacles to get access to VET and jobs
The success of immigrants in EU VET systems is crucial to the future European labour markets as it is also paramount for maintaining social equality and cohesion in societies. 8 However, there are various obstacles and/or discriminating processes existing on the labour markets which are an obstacle for the different target groups to enter the labour market and find a suitable job. “Immigrants are disadvantaged in most education systems across the EU. Poor education results often lead to fewer, less quality jobs.” 9 Immigrants often face obstacles like low level of knowledge of the language of the host country at arrival, parental human capital not exploitable in terms of suitable jobs, educational attainment in the country of origin, which may not match the requirements in the host country and discrimination by school peers, teachers and recruiters.

Discrimination and lack of intercultural knowledge and awareness among employers lead to a relative disadvantage for migrants compared with their native counterparts in the recruitment process. Even when explicit discrimination against migrants is not an issue, implicit stereotypes and intercultural barriers may bias the recruitment process and contribute to less positive hiring outcomes for migrants as compared to natives with the same levels of qualifications and competences and, thus, to underutilization of migrants’ skills. This risk seems to be higher when the employer is a small or medium-sized enterprise. Due to their resource restrictions and limited experience, SMEs in particular seem to lack the capacity – both in terms of dedicated counselling and training – to deal with cultural diversity issues in the recruitment process.

While in all countries the school system produces winners and losers, this selection is ubiquitous in Germany; it does not only relate exclusively to migrants, but among migrants the selection has stronger effects than among non-migrants, it sustains over time and hardly can be compensated: 10

The gap in education outcomes between natives and immigrants is substantial. However, natives face similar difficulties and show similar education outcomes as immigrant children. This finding points at more general inequalities in the education system rather than at an immigrant-specific problem. Nevertheless, the (on average) more disadvantaged family education background of immigrant children results in typically lower education outcomes. 11
These obstacles and elements of discrimination are valid in the partnering countries, although the picture in the specific countries represented in this project may be different due to national immigration policies, immigration flows, labour market systems and economic prosperity. Nevertheless, in the eighteen projects from Austria, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and the UK a similar picture is presented regarding the labour market hurdles for immigrants:

These results fit to statistical findings 14 from researches in Europe or in single European countries like

Actors involved

As all selected projects were focused on integration of immigrants into VET and labour market, these links to the labour market were vital and could be identified throughout the whole project lifetime. Involving additional actors boosted the links to the world of work. To establish and to maintain links with the labour market a wide range of actors can suit the need of projects. The involvement in itself varied from loose and random meetings to regular and contract-based collaborations. Which actors the projects dealt with depended on the target group and the intended job placement, but some actors seem to be generic to successful projects:


In a project from France that dealt with unaccompanied minors (FR1) specific types of enterprises (chantiers d’insertion)are mentioned, that support the social and solidarity economy and thus are aiming at overcoming existing barriers to support migrants in entering in the job market.
In a project from Austria (AT2) participants of previous projects who already gained employment were invited to talk to the current participants about their experiences.
This approach of role modelling was a feature of other projects, too.

A German project (DE1) shows that it has been a key activity to involve the potential future employers of the target group, i.e. recruiters from the companies (in this case: hospitals, clinics and elderly care institutions).

Objectives

The primary objective depends on the target group and their existing situation. Most of the projects offered step sequences to VET and labour market, like for instance:

A lot of projects were delivering specific activities and supportive components of the education and training business, like for instance

Some projects followed specific methodological background approaches that sometimes went beyond
individual coaching like for instance

Some of the projects were dedicated to specific sectors; the health care sector being the most prominent one, but also the construction economy, the creative arts sector and tailoring are mentioned. All projects connected theoretical education (courses) with practical training (practices, traineeships); the courses were developed and delivered by practitioners from the thematical and vocational areas.

Although the nature of these projects was to improve access to VET and jobs, some projects specifically addressed additional aims that went beyond VET and integration of the labour market. For instance, one project from Italy (IT1) had as an additional objective the establishment of intercultural contacts among different ethnic groups, another Italian project (IT2) saw vocational empowerment as a means to interact in the social context to create social relationships. A project from France (FR1) clearly saw the integration of refugees into jobs as one aspect besides finding accommodation and providing administrative, legal and social assistance. The specific goal of another French project (FR2) dealing with unaccompanied minors was to offer a shelter to unaccompanied minors and to guide them towards schooling, which usually is a precondition for vocational education and training. The third French project (FR3) dealt with unaccompanied minors as well and stated the objectives (guidance towards schooling) as a prerequisite for further integration.


Even if the projects aimed at integrating migrants into specific sectors of business, there was only limited specification about the characteristics of the foreseen vocational integration. One project from Germany (DE3) has been an exception, as this project aimed at finding regular non-subsidized jobs and vocational training opportunities for immigrants, particular in the public service sector. This project intended to inform migrants and their parents about the opportunities in German dual VET in the public service system so that people’s perception was enhanced by showing that these institutions in German society welcome people with an immigration background (strengthening this welcoming culture was embedded into the project, too). This project had a specific systems approach as it intended to establish functional cooperations between schools and companies that fit to each other. In this way, the project demonstrated that the system of transition from school to work needs to change if discriminating processes shall be altered.


A project from the Netherlands (NL2) had comparable goals and activities as one part of the project was campaigning and as its purpose in a certain meaning went beyond individual enhancement of employability. Although there existed somewhat traditional mechanisms like developing individual generic soft skills (that are insufficiently addressed in regular school curricula) and promoting company visits and excursions to enterprises (to establish insights into the job environment), there was a strategic approach followed that addressed the transition from school to labour on a systematic level, too. Project teams on regional levels were established to learn how to network with a view to labour market orientation as an indirect result to increase the chances on the labour market on a broader level. A project from Austria (AT1) has been in a certain sense an exception as it not only and primarily aimed at finding jobs, but clearly put the employability of a person into the context of their qualifications to avoid ongoing de-skilling among migrants.

Services and Activities of the Projects

As the projects were designed to strengthen labour market access to jobs and vocational education and training, the activities of the projects had to reflect these aims. With regard to the services and activities of the projects a distinction has to be made between at least two kinds of target groups. The following list shows the most important activities dedicated to adults and pupils at school age:

Mainly in the larger projects in terms of duration and funds existed a clear interdependence and connection between the different areas of intervention. A project from Austria (AT3) describes this as

In quite a lot of the examined projects there were specified activities and operations conducted that went clearly beyond training, counselling and preparation. If in a country a strict labour market need for human resources exists (like in Germany and Austria) this situation in general terms favours the opportunities for migrants (and other persons) to find a job. At the same time the labour market need in most cases is specifically dedicated to skilled or specialised workers and it is exactly this skillsupdate and specialisation that the target group is missing, so the favourable position in a mere statistical view on the labour market may not lead to appropriate labour market entries for the target groups.

In a project conducted in Germany (DE1) there were regular qualification courses offered, that lead directly to job opportunities (in contrast to “measures” that are of no specific entry quality into VET). Here participants got the opportunity, that the course “care assistance” was established as an entrance opportunity to regular vocational education and training such as “professional nurse care” and “professional elderly care” with 2-3 years of duration.

It seems that a French project (FR2) followed a similar approach by offering regular vocational training schemes and diploma that could lead directly to entrance opportunities on the job market. And in a project from Austria (AT2) training courses were also highlighted as enabling the participants to enter mainstream services in VET afterwards.

Another project from Germany (DE2) established models of „best practice-solutions“ as an instrument of communication and marketing to the participants and networking events for entrepreneurs under the patronage of highly authoritative persons from the regional labour market for raising regional awareness. These ambassadors have been strategic levers for immense awareness among the other employers and thorough credibility towards the project and their target groups.

In this project the key to success was that regional stakeholder meetings were operated to steer the process of modelling project activities according to the existing framework conditions in school and at work. Thus the development, planning and evaluation of innovative formats for vocational orientation of migrants, for instance vocational encounters, belonged to the main activities.
As the projects seeked to strengthen employability among the target group, this can be done best when the
participants get into contact with employers and the world of labour. Despite the fact that cooperation and
collaborative exchanges between the project coordinator and local/regional employers were essential to all projects, the quality and quantity of contacts with employers differed remarkably.

It seems to be a quality item if employers, stakeholders of employers (like employer´s associations, chambers of commerce and others) are closely connected to the project through events, workshops, round table meetings and similar formats. To incorporate employers and companies as project-partners to the project seems to be a most stable item to get access. Very valuable seems to be when the project incorporates a consortium of employers together with social partners, authorities, municipalities and training providers so that involvement can be ensured right from the beginning.

Approaching entrepreneurs can be done in different ways; most of the projects under consideration accessed employers both with a notion of social responsibility and with a notion of corporate interest in times of a declining population and a decreasing human workforce .

One of the projects (DE1) mentions common agreements between the project and management level in companies about the aims and targets of the project, which lead to smooth job and training entries for the target group. In a lot of cases it is described as exceptionally important that the project coordinator is an organisation with a high reputation and credibility among entrepreneurs and recruiters. Processes of bilateral collaboration seem to be a very good framework for a stable and sustainable success.

Another project (DE3) directly incorporated recruiters from companies and policy makers at different levels into the project to modify recruiting processes and to find appropriate solutions for both the immigrants and the recruiters with their need for equipped staff. It is this project that promoted sophisticated procedures to match the placement opportunities in companies with the number, dates and preferred business sectors of pupils in schools to erase randomness and to establish planned steps forwarding a suitable career development among young immigrants.

A project from England (UK1) was coordinated by a wellrecognised and highly regarded organisation with a high profile among the locals including members of the community, employers and business owners in the creative industries. Thus, their clients recommended people to other organisations and individuals, who then liaise with key stakeholders within the labour market. This organisation owns linkages within creative industries and members of arts group and is fully committed to investing in sustainable relationships with employers, employment organisations, mental health support and the local community.

A project from Italy (IT1) is coordinated by a training provider that is a job-centre, too, so besides pure vocational training part of their main services is to train people on how to apply for jobs, how to write CVs and so on. These extra-curricular services to improve employability were offered by quite a lot of the examined projects.

Access to Participants and Community Organisations

Most of the projects were managed by coordinating organisations with existing connections, links and networks to community organisations of migrants; these connections were often based on prior collaboration and were reported to be stable and reliable.

In most of the cases community organisations were used for the transmission of information to the target groups and for the acquisition of participants. The importance of migrant community organisations lay in their ability to enhance credibility to the project. This fact became evident when information services were published in such an environment or via such communication channels.

In a lot of cases the project organisations were collaborating with official authorities that were in charge of dealing with legal, administrative or educational issues of immigrants. In these cases the access to the target group was obviously channelled through these official contacts and participants were directly recruited through these contacts. In most of the projects The coordinators of most of the projects
mention that word to mouth advertising among the members of the target group is an important channel to
publish the project activities and possible participation opportunities. Community organisations were linked to the project to establish and demonstrate trustful settings to the people.

One project (DE1) expresses that the community organisations were not only used as mainstreaming
channels of accessing people but as partners and advisers. In another German project (DE3) the strategic trap is describedin which community organisations, which usually work on a voluntary basis, find themselves, because the collaboration of voluntary organisations with professional project coordinators is hard to put into practice due to their different characteristics and logics. Additionally, within projects that are not dedicated to groups with specific ethnic, national or cultural origins, there occurs the problem of selecting partners out of the variety of existing organisations. This problem of selecting single migrant community organisations conceptually cannot be solved successfully as usually there does not exist a formal legitimacy and any selection of the community organisations remains coincidental and finally may exclude others.

Methodological Approach

To work within intercultural settings is a challenge for the methodological training design of any VET project.
In terms of pedagogical approaches and general training approaches, a mix of various methods was applied; formal and informal learning activities and working in groups was quite common, internships and practice sessions in companies were generic and exchange opportunities with others and experts occur regularly.

Holistic, individual and person-centred

Even though only a few projects branded their approach like that, the holistic, individual and person-centred
approach seems to be quite common. The services in these projects offer strictly individual and case-sensitive support to the participants.

One project from Austria (AT3) describes their holistic approach of individual guidance and support which
covered the whole environment of the target audience (school, family, enterprises) and connected vocational education and training with these environments (for instance through modifications of regular mainstream curricula at schools and through sensitization-measures and awareness-raising campaigns at companies). A project from Germany (DE2) is very similar to this and their approach is described as delivery of support and information about the next realistic steps to realize the framework conditions that are necessary to get access to the labour market. These framework conditions were dedicated to supporting the target group in finding child caring possibilities, getting access to available facilities of recognition of qualifications and related obectives. This German projects points out that the immanent consultancy services may include that the immigrants are accompanied in their procedures with the authorities.

A French project (FR3) describes this individual, personcentred approach as a way to validate and strengthen the educational and professional background of the person. A project from Italy (IT2) calls its approach non-formal but it seems to be very similar to the holistic and individual approach which is stated as a procedure where the individual opportunities, strengths and weaknesses define the quantity and quality of the concrete supporting activities.

A project from the Netherlands (NL3) and a project from England (UK1) describe this approach extensively as a combination of different features like:


Another Dutch project (NL1) followed a similar approach. Items like individual support, tailored offers, engagement and intercultural skills of staff constituted this approach, but with the addition that this project broadened that concept and defined the methodological approach as „mainstream if possible, tailored if needed“. This means that if it is not necessary to have a tailored approach for the target group then it is best to go for mainstream methods (e.g. basic vocational training course) and thereby not differentiating the target group from others. However, in some instances the target group has a need for an individual approach and in such instances it is an absolute necessity.

Ownership and building capacities

Regarding the aforementioned approach, it is another Dutch project (NL2) that mentions an additional
catchword: ownership is stated as critical – besides empowerment activities – to the success of strengthening migrant youth. Although being a project (and not a regular mainstream activity or structure) it is here that the necessity of fitting into structures (in this case: of schools) is clearly mentioned. The project quality that is determining this fit is analysed as well: it is the level of flexibility that makes this project an added value to the partnering schools. But flexibility is only one side of the coin. Flexibility is needed to meet the existing local needs, but this flexibility must be framed with a strict and vivid involvement and support from all existing stakeholders (school management and policy makers) to find acceptance at all levels, to sustain the results and to embed the offers into the given structures of school and transition to VET and work. Regarding the overall concept of this project (NL2) the approach is described as a merger of a top-down and bottom-up approach.

A French project (FR1) claims its approach to be a specific mix of instruments of capacity building with a certain method (la méthode du trèfle chanceux). This means to improve employability through interventions on four dimensions (socio-economics and political environment, self, place and method). This project is the only one that strictly referenced this approach to proven tracks in the Canadian immigration policy. A second French project (FR2) calls their approach “capacity planning to support each individual in his choices”, too.

The term capacity-building is mentioned by a German project (DE3) as well and is described as an opportunity to strengthen the capabilities of organisations and people in organisations (schools, companies) for the sake of labour market integration of immigrants.

A German project (DE1) calls its approach “change from inside”, meaning that all groups involved directly or
indirectly in the project have a positive attitude towards the immigrants´ opportunities. Firstly, there should exist a positive commitment of the staff on management levels that support the project aims through all activities, finally leading up to immigrant-sensitive modifications within the recruitment routines of the employers. Secondly, there should exist a positive commitment of the whole staff in the companies, which leads to welcoming immigrants as (future) colleagues. Finally this approach means that the project staff (teachers and trainers) are strongly committed to the project aims as well, which is meant as an asset that goes beyond the necessary competences in technical and pedagogical terms and beyond the necessary good command of the world of work. The project managers of this project not only prepared the target group for the available jobs not only on a theoretical level by strengthening competences and qualification, but also on a very practical level as they were incorporated into the company´s recruiting processes and thus acted as advocates of the immigrant and as decision making member of the recruiting committee.

Another German project (DE3) is similar with regard to the employers´ commitment to the aims and operations of the project. This project states a strong political willingness from the world of labour (or rather the connected companies) to integrate immigrants into the labour market and preparatory VET activities. Additionally, a three-folded methodological approach is defined as (a) building competences (through practical placements in companies), (b) strengthening cooperations between schools and companies (through tailored placement schemes) and (c) fostering diversity management in the daily life of schools and enterprises (through respective training sessions) in order to build suitable diversity capacities in schools and at the workplace.

Moreover, it is this project that clearly mentions that the target groups are not just the recipients of the offered activities, but vice versa, the migrants´ perspectives towards jobs should be embedded into the arrangements within the companies. This means that for instance their interests, their strengths and their perception of barriers should be part of the conceptual quality of the project and thus should influence the development of the activities. It is this project that was conducted under unique framework conditions of strong commitment from both politics and economy. These conditions allowed the project to tackle not only immanent items of the project and the participants (place, duration and intensity of interventions; competences of participants) but to intervene into the transition from school to work as a system. Of course such a systems perspective is restricted to the dimensions of the project, but, nevertheless, such an understanding seems to be valuable to sustain and broaden the range of results of a (undisputed limited) project approach towards an approach that leads to an increase in participation opportunities on a higher level. This systems approach was used to generate transferable environments and equal framework conditions instead of just single individual enhancements and arrangements.

A project conducted in Italy (IT1) followed a similar sectorspecific and methodological approach, which was called “exchange of experiences” among the participants. In terms of duration the German projects differ very much from the Italian project, though. While the German careassistance courses within the project DE1 lasted about 6 months, the courses within IT1 only lasted 3 weeks. Due to these differences the projects content-wise vary enormously in terms of depth and breadth. Moreover, while the delivery of training was the key element of the Italian project it was only one out of several operations in Germany. Nontheless, in terms of labour market integration the Italian project (IT1) announced a 100% success in getting people a job after participating in the project.

Another Italian project (IT2) stresses this methodological approach and calls it “empowerment of skills and
capacities”, too. An Austrian project is similar to this and described its approach as “empowerment and
strengthening of own competences”. A British project (UK1) chose the creative industry, because it seemed to be most appropriate for immigrants and their experiences, at least in the UK: this specific business sector is easily accessible for migrants due to its habit of celebrating diversity and uniqueness. As part of this approach the project coordinator was strongly interested in encouraging entrepreneurship among the
target group and to sell their products through self-employment.

Another project from the United Kingdom (UK2) supplemented their activities to raise employability with
special campaigns to influence policy and public awareness. Due to the specifics of the target group (unaccompanied minors) a French project (FR2) rejected any predetermined approach in terms of concrete measures of defining professional pathways and instead operated an individualised approach for enhancing the participants’ orientation in the French society and their planning the own capacity development.

Political Frameworks

In Germany and Austria the demographic development is going to increase the need for skilled human resources. This makes such projects as the examined ones strongly necessary not only for the inclusion of migrants but also for the economy in these countries. As long as projects receive public resources, these resources are usually embedded into funding programmes and grant schemes on regional or national levels.

Some of the general national challenges, at least in Germany, turn into specific regional challenges; for example Berlin as a city of huge immigration from all over the world faces specific challenges as the immigrants who are already living in Berlin must be integrated into the society, and well trained people from abroad have to be addressed and invited to come and stay in Berlin as the city needs highly qualified staff.

Like in other regions and municipalities in Berlin there exists a concept on integration, which issued certain strategies, like “cultural diversity and international attraction”, “participation on labour market” and "integration through education, intercultural opening and participation in civil society”. 18 When these strategies turn into projects it becomes obvious that the political framework conditions strongly influence the operation of the projects in a positive way; for instance in one of the projects (DE1) the positive attitude of the management personnel of the cooperating public service agencies was due to this political environment. The fact that another German project has been operated in Berlin as well (DE3), highlights that the political framework conditions in this city not only influenced the project but was the origin of the project, as Berlin was committed via political statements to an increase in numbers of migrants in public services up to a figure that is equivalent to their statistical representation in the population.

One project from Germany (DE1) was clearly dedicated to the integration policies of Berlin as the integration office of Berlin had announced to raise the number of people with a migrant background in municipal services. As the status as immigrant is hiding huge differences in living conditions and perspectives, some of these groups have unlimited access to labour market and political life while others are only tolerated. Some of the general national challenges turn in Berlin into specific regional challenges. Immigrants who are living in Berlin must be integrated into the society, and the well trained immigrants should be addressed to come to Berlin and stay in Berlin as the city needs highly qualified staff.

In the “Integration concept Berlin” from 2007 there were issued these strategies and actions:


Along with additional federal policies and initiatives like the association “Berufliches Bildungsnetzwerk Berlin e.V.” (BQN; Network for Vocational Training) these political framework conditions strongly influenced the operation of the project in a positive way. This may have influenced the positive attitude of the management personnel of the cooperating partners from work and labour (health care organisations), too.

But not only in big cities like Berlin the political framework influences practice on a project level. Another project from Germany (DE2) was conducted in a rural area, a totally opposite environment. This project shows as well that in terms of politics the paradigm shifts in federal policies regarding refugees favoured the operation of the project.

The opposite is reported from two Italian projects (IT1/ IT2), where in the opinion of the interviewees politicians “do not care” about migrant workers and migrants are of “no interest to Italian politicians”. So these small scale projects only had positive effects on the target groups but not that much on stakeholders from policy.

European countries are increasingly recognising that integration of immigrants takes place largely at the local level, and most governments are increasingly supporting the development of local integration strategies. The importance of language learning has been largely accepted by many countries, though there is no common European approach. Many countries are experimenting with civic integration courses for immigrants to allow them to become proficient in the country’s language. In additon they are delivering educational programmes on the country’s customs and values. 19

Nonetheless, opposite tendencies are becoming apparent as well; for example, in recent years governments in the Netherlands and Britain have cut back the provision of language tuition for migrants. 20

Dutch integration policy is based on the long-term objective of ensuring that the performance of all key
groups in various domains (e.g. the labour market, education and housing), is proportionate to their share of
the total Dutch population. Dealing with the overrepresentation of minorities in unemployment figures
has been a particular focus in recent years. “However, the focus of policy changed dramatically in 2004 following the murder of Dutch film producer Theo van Gogh, an event which revealed the extent of tensions about the perceived incompatibility of Muslim migrants (particularly those of Moroccan origin) and secular Dutch culture. The rise of the anti-Islam Party for Freedom (Partij voor de Vrijheid) gave a political voice to those concerned and angry about the influence of Islam in Dutch society.” 21

Today, Dutch integration policies make the right to settle in the Netherlands highly conditional on a number of tests, including language proficiency and other civic integration requirements. The country has also been
redirecting efforts towards mainstreaming integration programmes.

The United Kingdom has implemented some of the most progressive measures for legal protection for minority communities in Europe, from the Race Relations Act of 1965, to recent legislation aimed at ensuring fair access to education, the labour market and housing for all minorities. In the late-1960s, Britain’s approach was broadly understood as a multiculturalist one, focused on the promotion of minority cultural identity. British immigration regulations have become more restrictive since the 1970s, coupled with an increasingly negative public discourse on immigration and integration. “In recent years a critique of multiculturalism has emerged, which culminated with a key Prime Ministerial speech in February 2011 declaring that state multiculturalism had failed.” 22

In France, the State is responsible for migrants at the departmental level for minors. Competences are shared between the different levels of governance; the State is responsible for detailing policies, which will be implemented by the other levels of governance. The departmental level is then responsible for minors. To this extent, they establish how to implement national social policies and they develop their own legal instruments to accomplish to this task. Furthermore, they finance social policies for unaccompanied minors and therefore they finance the structures that offer services to unaccompanied minors.

Unaccompanied minors are defined as “separated children under 18 years of age, outside their country of
origin and separated from both parents or their previous legal, or customary primary caregiver. Some children are totally alone while othersmay be living with extended family members who are not necessarily their customary or primary caregivers. All such children are separated children and entitled to international protection under a broad range of international and regional instruments. While some separated children are ‘accompanied’ when they arrive in Europe, the accompanying adult(s) may not necessarily be able, or suitable, to assume responsibility for their care.” 23

Recommendations

As our aim has been to identify generic items of successful projects for integrating migrants into VET and labour market we can extract the following recommendations to future planning of projects and programmes:

Recommendations in terms of methodology and target groups:

One successful approach is to assist people in developing their personal prospects and aspirations
(FR2).

Recommendations in terms of project planning:

Recommendations in terms of programmes and policies:

Recommendations of the project FIBA:

Comparing the referencing project FIBA with the examined projects led to some similar findings: