Gap Analysis in book-format
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.