Pathways to Work
An Employment Upgrade Training Programme for Young Immigrants is a transnational, EU-funded project which aims to help young migrants to maximise their career potential in their new home countries.
The project is funded by European commission through the Leonardo da Vinci – Transfer of Innovation Programme.
It brings together seven organisations with expertise in employment and training, education, advocacy on behalf of migrants and communications to develop a training module that can be used across the EU Member States.
The overall aim is to assist young immigrants to upgrade their employment level by facilitating access to training, better jobs and a career plan and it is hoped to achieve this by:
Pathways to Work involves the transfer of learning materials from one sector to another. Original materials were developed by Springboard Opportunities Limited and have been used for several years to assist young people from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds to develop their practical workplace and jobsearch skills.
The course to be developed by the Pathways to Work project will tailor those materials to the needs of young immigrants.
In geographical terms, the project involves transferring the materials, which previously have been used only in Northern Ireland, for use throughout the UK and Ireland, Italy, Poland and Spain taking into account the need to address language and cultural differences.
Five focus groups (one per participating country) comprising at least 10 young immigrants, will be held to research the training needs of young migrants and this will inform the development of the course materials. To compliment the focus groups, at least 100 young immigrants seeking employment, or more suitable employment, will participate in a survey. The survey will also be undertaken across the five countries. Information from the focus groups and the questionnaire will be analysed in qualitative and quantitative manners.
The Pathways to Work partners will publicise the progress and achievements of the project through a series of Ezines throughout the two-year lifespan of the project.
Rationale for the Project
Research has shown immigrants face specific barriers in the labour market, including: prejudice and xenophobia, discrimination by employers, difficulties obtaining recognition of qualifications and prior learning, cultural differences in working practices and communication skills, and lack of awareness of national support structures relating to employment and training.
These barriers place migrants at a significant disadvantage in comparison with local workers, meaning that they can end up in jobs below their skills level; are more vulnerable to job instability and experience many difficulties in terms of mobility in the labour market.
The Pathways to Work project focuses on young immigrants’ needs and aims to enable them to compete with other job seekers on a “level playing field” by equipping them with practical tools in terms of job search and transition skills.
It involves undertaking a detailed training needs analysis and customising existing training materials to suit the needs of young immigrants, aged between 18 and 30.
By increasing this group of young people’s skills and adaptability and enabling them to obtain jobs which recognise and utilise those skills, they will be better placed to fulfil their potential in the labour market, enjoy greater personal growth and social integration.
This will help improve their employment options and, more importantly, help overcome socio-economic disadvantage.
First Partners’ Meeting
The Pathways to Work partners held their first meeting, hosted by Spingboard Opportunities Limited, in Belfast on November 23-25.
Having successfully applied for the grant to fund the project, the first meeting was an important milestone as it was an opportunity for the partners to meet and to familiarise themselves with the organisations involved in the network.
The Pathways to Work project involves setting up a dedicated website to communicate effectively its products, progress and achievements.
The website is available at www.pathwaystowork.eu
Stakeholders will be informed when the website is operational.
The project partners
Belfast-based Springboard Opportunities Limited is the Pathways to Work project lead agency.
Core partners are: Conform Consorzio Formazione Manageriale (Italy); the Immigrant Council of Ireland (Ireland); Fundacion Laboral del Metal (Spain); Uniwersytet Szczecinski - The University of Szczecin (Poland) and Canice Consulting (UK). iRED Institute for Rights Equality and Diversity based in Athens (Greece) is an associate partner on the project.