The project ‘Labour Integration in Europe’ aims at enhancing the opportunities for students and refugees in the EU through acquiring knowledge about culture and requirements of possible future employers. The main objective is to increase the employability and career perspectives of our students on EU-level, especially with respect to living and working in an intercultural context.
Youth unemployment on the one hand and lack of qualified employees on the other hand will be a key challenge for our students. The average rate of youth unemployment in the Europe is 19.7% in January 2016. There are regional disparities with only 7.1% in Germany and 39.3 % youth unemployment in Italy, but it’s a bleak outlook for one fifth of the European youth. With the current speed of technological innovations, the existing school curricula often lag behind. At the current rate of change we prepare students for jobs and tasks which don’t even exist yet.
Despite the economic situation, employers are willing to offer jobs but are not satisfied with the encountered qualifications and social skills. Furthermore, in the age of globalization, young people entering the world of work are increasingly expected to work in and adapt to multicultural environments.
The influx of refugees to Europe poses new challenges on the labour market. To ensure a peaceful coexistence and to promote integration, it is of vital importance to familiarize them with our cultures and the expectations they will have to meet on the labour market.
The project Labour Integration in Europe prepares our students for these challenges. Students establish contact and in the first transnational meeting they present information on their domestic school systems and labour market. Students exchange their expectations, hopes and fears regarding their career. Together they design a questionnaire for employers in their home country. Topics of the survey will be the employers’ experience with school leavers and applicants with different cultural backgrounds with respect to specialist knowledge, social and communicative skills and problems they encountered. Students research the formal procedures necessary to work in their home countries. The data is processed with respect to what can be improved. The findings are visualized and presented to students from other schools, companies and the public.
In the 2nd transnational meeting there will be a comparison of findings and students create a factbook on “Essential knowledge for working in my country”. In the 2nd year students will create an intercultural training (ICT) based on the findings of the previous year.
In the 3rd meeting students analyze data and identify fields of development. They decide which topics are to be addressed in the modules of ICT. Potential topics are communication, collaboration, expected attitudes and manners, leadership styles. Using both peer-to-peer teaching and modern technology like videos, web-based trainings students design trainings. In the 4th meeting trainings are conducted, evaluated and refined. The created materials will be made accessible online. A second round of training will be conducted in the home countries. In the 3rd year the focus will be on diversity management in the home countries, the challenges and opportunities which workers and refugees from different cultural backgrounds bring to companies and the society in general. At the 5th meeting students discuss the need for diversity management due to increasing internationality. Students design a questionnaire for companies on their experience with integrating refugees at work and on whether they implemented some form of managing the cultural diversity of workers.
The survey is conducted by students and the results discussed online in transnational video conferences. Students revise ICT and identify which issues have to be addressed with regard to training refugees and students adapt it accordingly. In the 6th project meeting the new ICT is applied to a refugee class and evaluated by refugees afterwards. Teaching material will be adjusted accordingly and published online. Students, parents, teachers companies and the public are invited to join a panel discussion about the findings and success of the project.
• Students and refugees, 16-20 years old
• Employers of the European market
• Schools and school authorities that intend to focus their curricula on specific requirements of the labour market.
• Local communities, municipalities, public Transnationality ‘Labour Integration in Europe’ is implicitly transnational.
Through first hand practical experience in companies in regions with differing economic challenges, the students will be equipped to master the changing demands of working life. The application of foreign languages as a means of communication as well as the awareness of cultural differences and their implication on employability implies the need for cooperation between different nationalities.