Gap Analysis in book-format
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:
- Intake, consultancy and supporting services.
- Basic language training courses.
- Continuing language training courses related to job market opportunities and individual framework conditions.
- Basic vocational training courses.
- Basic training courses on intercultural communication.
- Basic training on ICT.
- Job application training courses.
- Vocational preparatory courses and pre-track courses.
- Internships and work-placements in organisations and enterprises.
- Counselling concerning the recognition of existing qualifications and competences and assistance during the process of recognition.
- General improvements in labour market orientation.
- Vocational orientation courses and workshops.
- Networking (online and face-to-face).
- Company visits.
- Guest lectures from people in business.
- Psychological support to strengthen confidence and self-esteem.
- Professional guidance to public structures of school and labour (unaccompanied minors).
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
- Activities/services in schools.
- Activities/services for companies.
- Work with parents.
- Teacher seminars.
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.