VET For Inclusion And Identity Development of migrants
by Paolo Nardi (Cometa Research)
Migration is not a new phenomenon, however its increase, worldwide, in the last years is dramatic. In 2017, more than 258 million people (3.4% of global population) experienced migration, mainly toward the more developed countries, where their presence raised from 10% to 14% (UNESCO, 2018). Among them, approximately 20 million are refugees and most of them are minors (UNHCR).
The real challenge is not their increase rather their integration, reducing the risk of social exclusion and segregation: as emerged in several studies, “The faster refugees move into the labour market, the faster their integration will be. Successful integration is associated with early contact with the labour market” (Bertelsmann Stiftung 2016a). At the same time, migrants and refugees usually present poor performances in the labour market, “which can be only partially attributed to the lack of qualification or skills” (OECD, 2015).
The existence of these problems outlines the relevance not just of finding a job, rather to have a specific vocational training providing them not only technicalities but also basics on language, culture and, even more, support for legal issues, job intermediation and, last but not least, human relations (Bertelsmann Stiftung, 2016a). TVET system can offer the best way to prepare people not just for a job but for a career and, as a consequence, social inclusion.
It is important to identify the conditions making VET provision for migrants more effective. Requested reforms include didactics, language, teachers’ skills and deeper personalization of training; a stronger connection with the job market to boost employability and encourage school-job transition. More concretely, several agencies stress the importance of:
- a work-based approach, including internships or apprenticeships, making school-job transition smoother;
- including in the training offer not only language and literacy, but also culture of the host country;
- a strong personalization of the training provision, based on age, gender, skills and social and cultural background;
- including “non-formal” activities, such as cultural events, sport activities, as well as counselling and psychological services.
- a specific training for trainers, enabling them to develop a multicultural approach, useful to prevent intercultural conflicts or to identify and manage psychological problems.
Cometa provides services to minors and young adults and is serving an increasing number of migrants. In particular, Cometa developed a specific one-year training course entitled “Minimaster” that aims at providing them with an effective training, a social support and a guided transition to job market. The collaboration with local institutions, social cooperatives dealing with migrants and companies, has always been crucial. The Minimaster targets minors and young adults who are, usually, 17-22 years old NEETs. The program prepares future waiters/waitresses and housekeepers for the hospitality sector, including hotels/restaurants directly involved in the course offering both internships and work-based learning on their premises with their own professionals.
In the last 10 years, the number of migrants attending the Minimaster has been increasing (approx. 80 students, 40% of the total). Placement results keep being very positive. One year after obtaining their certificate, 60% of students have a job. The Minimaster’s success relies on (1) a mix of training on professional subjects, e.g., enology, labour law, and Italian and English language literacy; (2) socio-emotional learning, e.g., communication skills, relationship building with local entrepreneurs; and (3) a combination of didactic methodology, e.g., strong work-based approach, as well as daily coaching and mentoring.
- Bertelsmann Stiftung (2016a). From Refugees to Workers Mapping Labour-Market Integration Support Measures for Asylum Seekers and Refugees in EU Member States. Volume I: Comparative Analysis and Policy Findings. Retrieved from https://www.bertelsmann-stiftung.de/fileadmin/files/user_upload/Studie_NW_From_Refugees_to_Workers_Vol1.pdf
- OECD (2015). OECD Employment Outlook 2015. OECD Publishing, Paris
- UNESCO (2018). Global Education Monitoring Report 2019: Migration, displacement and education. Building Bridges, not Walls. Paris: UNESCO