Gap Analysis in book-format

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.