Training programmes for counsellors for implementing community integration of difficult-to-employ people (COM-IN)

Program: Erasmus +,
Key action: KA220 – VET – KA220-VET – Cooperation partnerships in vocational education and training

Project duration: 30 months
Project start: 1. 1. 2022
Project end: 30. 6. 2024

Partnership:

  • Fakulteta za uporabne družbene študije Nova Gorica, (SLO)
  • Ustanova Fundacija BiT Planota so.p. (SLO),
  • ŠENTPRIMA – Zavod za rehabilitacijo in Izobraževanje (SLO),
  • Zavod Republike Slovenije za zaposlovanje(SLO),
  • Istituto regionale per’l educazione e gli studi cooperativi – IRECOOP Veneto (I),

 

  • Veneto Lavoro (I),
  • SOFORM SCARL (I),
  • Pôle emploi Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes (F)
  • Association EDIAS (F)
  • ENSIE, pridruženi partner (B)

Project description:

The project starts in recognizing that counsellors, working in employment offices, vocational and training organizations, NGOs, municipalities and other organizations, dealing with working and social integration, have lack of competences for working integration of difficult-to-employ people (DTE). Lack in methods for counselling and employers at placing of DTE in the working process.

Project main goals:

  1. To empower counsellors in employment offices, vocational and training organizations, NGOs and local communities for better use of methods and approaches for working integration of DTE.
  2. To promote exchange of experiences and good practices among counsellors, coming from different organizations in the area of working and social integration of DTE.
  3. To empower a “community coordinator” to coordinate community activities – measures for social and working integration of DTE. “Community coordinator” will better coordinate activities of counsellors in the process of working integration of DTE in local community
  4. To improve collaboration and networking among different organizations in the process of working and social integration of DTE.
  5. To prepare programme for integration of prepared training programs and methodology into curriculum of VET and other organizations, operating in the area of working and social integration of DTE.
  6. To prepare methodologies for identification and certification of informally acquired knowledge for new professional profile – “Counsellor for DTE”.

Activities:

The project partnership will prepare a training programme for “counsellor for Difficult to employ”, Training programme for “community coordinator for difficult-to-employ people”.

News:

The concluding event of Project COM-IN, which took place on April 18, 2024, at the premises of the European Parliament in Brussels, added value to the project’s activities. The European dimension of the event further highlighted the challenges posed by the integration into the workforce of target groups with lower employability.

The event, composed of two parts and hosted by the European Parliament and the European Economic and Social Committee, engaged European authorities, stakeholders, and experts in the fields of employment, education, and social inclusion to raise awareness among decision-makers about the key issues addressed by COM-IN, promoting the sharing and long-term utilization of project results.

The central theme on the agenda was the opportunities offered by the European Union and the role of networks in planning concrete and sustainable measures for the inclusion of target groups with lower employability into the workforce. Speakers at the event were the representatives of the project included Jasmina Jakomin (FUDŠ) and Darijan Krpan (BIT Planota Foundation), Leonardo Pofferi (Director of European and International Affairs for Confcooperative Brussels), Alessia Di Gregorio (Deputy Head of the Proximity, Social Economy & Creative Industries Unit, DG GROW, European Commission), Giuseppe Guerini (European Economic and Social Committee / President of CECOP), Patrizia Bussi (Director of ENSIE), Alessia Sebillo (Director of Diesis), Paula De Diego (Policy Lead and Project Officer at Social Economy Europe), and Lorenzo Novaro (Project Coordinator at Cooperatives Europe).

We are delighted to announce the upcoming event, which we believe will be of great interest to you. The project partnership “COM IN – Training programmes for counsellors for implementing community integration of difficult-to-employ people,” just before the conclusion of the two-and-a-half-year project, is organizing an event in Brussels to discuss the future perspectives in the field of social and labor inclusion at the European level and to disseminate the project’s results.

The event will take place on April 18, 2024, in Brussels, with online participation also available.

More information about the event, program, and registration options can be found in the attached invitation.

We look forward to your participation!

At the beginning of April, within the framework of the COM IN project, we conducted training for coordinators of community networks for the integration of difficult-to-employ people.

The Slovenian partnership of the COM-IN project conducted training for coordinators of community networks for the integration of difficult-to-employ people at the beginning of April. With this, we tested the training program developed as part of project result 4. The training program is based on a competency model and focuses on strengthening the competencies of coordinators of community networks for the integration of hard-to-employ individuals.

33 participants attended the training, providing feedback on the conducted training and expressing a positive opinion on the usefulness of the program for the development of competencies for coordinators of community networks for the integration of hard-to-employ individuals.

The training consisted of 4 parts:

Each Slovenian partner presented one topic: Talents – employment and evaluation (Employment Service of Slovenia), Strategy and planning of a shared vision (BIT Planota), Communication and nonviolent communication (SASS), and Šentprima presented Diversity management.

The COM-IN project partnership continues actively implementing activities within the project. From January 29 to 31, 2024, the third partnership meeting and a three-day test execution of the Learning, Training and Teaching activity of the training program for the “Community coordinator for difficult-to-employ (DTE) people” took place. The meeting was held in Padua, organized by the Italian project partner IRECOOP VENETO.

During the partners’ meeting, the partnership focused reviewing the work done, but most importantly special attention was given to activities still in progress, focusing on three ongoing project results:

  • Result 4 – Training program for coordinators in communities for the less employable.
  • Result 5 – Integration plan of training programs into training schemes.
  • Result 6 – Certification of proposed training programs in three project countries.

Particular emphasis was placed on pilot training for coordinators and end-users at the national level, as well as the organization of the final event scheduled for April in Brussels. Technical aspects, such as project management, evaluation, and project communication, were also thoroughly discussed.

The meeting continued with an intensive three-day training, where Learning, Training and Teaching activity of the training program for the “Community coordinator for difficult-to-employ (DTE) people” was carried out. This step represents a significant milestone in the COM-IN project, as we have successfully prepared and pilot-implemented the training program for the coordinator of community networks based on a previously developed competency model (Result 3).

Thirty participants from partner and external organizations attended the international-level pilot training, making it extremely successful. During training participants identified several interesting findings, which are common to all participating countries. Partners eagerly anticipate the next steps, particularly the implementation of training sessions in all three countries involved in the project – Slovenia, Italy, and France – in the coming months.

Competence model for the community coordinator for difficult-to-employ (DTE) people

The partners of the COM-IN project have successfully completed the development of the competence model for the “Community Coordinator for Difficult-to-Employ (DTE) People,” marking a significant milestone as the third project result.

In the collaborative efforts of partners from Slovenia, Italy, and France within the COM-IN project, our focus has been on empowering “Community Coordinators” (CC) operating in diverse organizations dedicated to the working and social integration of DTE individuals. These coordinators, while not directly engaging with DTEs, play a pivotal role in networking, collaborating with counsellors, and liaising with partners involved in DTE-related initiatives. The partnership observed that these coordinators have a lack of competences for more efficient working integration of DTE in the cases, where the cooperation of several organizations is essential.

To find out which competencies CC may lack; we conducted a total of four focus groups—one each in Slovenia and France and two in Italy. The participants, middle managers from various organizations including employment centres, youth support programs, social integration programme, vocational and training organization, NGOs, cooperatives, and other organizations exhibited a keen interest in the CC competence model. They emphasized the necessity for enhanced cooperation, particularly in complex scenarios where recruiting involves multiple organizations such as employment offices, vocational training organizations, and cooperatives.

During the focus groups many topics were discussed – key competences of “CC”, areas for further development and challenges identified. Like the competence model for “DTE Consultant”, the competence model for “CC” is also very complex. The model acknowledges various competences as CC, from forming and maintain diverse counsellors’ teams, to establishing networks needed to implement projects or service delivery to help counsellors in supporting DTE.

The identified competencies for CCs span managerial skills, technical expertise, soft skills, and know-being competences. Our goal was to describe each competence by illustrating situations in which it is demonstrated. Besides being able to inspire and build a group common vision, CC has to be familiar with territorial services offer for jobseekers, employers, partners and employees; he/she has to demonstrate also reliability, persistence, interest for cooperation. In the competence model each of competence is briefly described, indicating situations in which is demonstrated.

This comprehensive competence model serves as basis for the development of the “Training programme for “Community coordinator”, the fourth project result COM-IN project. When preparing the training programme, which will be tested in February 2024, we will employ effective training methods and learning instruments aimed at facilitating the acquisition of the competencies outlined in the model.

The content of the news is accessible in this document

In the framework of the COM IN project, we organised a workshop to review the draft competency model, which includes a set and description of the competences that a “community coordinator” for the hard-to-employ should have to be able to successfully carry out the work and follow-up of counsellors in the field.

The workshop brought together experts who work in managerial positions and usually coordinate counsellors working in the field with hard-to-employ people. Together we were very successful in reviewing and revising the collected competences that a “community coordinator” should have to guide and mentor TVET counsellors.

The workshop was attended by 7 participants, who sincerely made suggestions on the presented draft competency model, made suggestions for improvements, listed additional competencies that they only consider they need in their work. All comments will be considered in the preparation of the final competency model for “Community Coordinator”, which will be available by the end of 2023.

The project partners of the COM-IN project have reached a new milestone. We have developed a training program for counsellors working with individuals difficult to employ (DTE)). The program is based on a preliminary competency model for DTE counsellors, which was developed at the end of 2022.

The COM-IN project partners participated in a pilot implementation of the educational program that took place in Lyon in January 2023. The program is intended for anyone involved in the education of DTE counsellors or anyone interested in the field of counselling for individuals with lower employability, whether experienced or at the beginning of their career. The document presents a set of educational objectives and topics that are important for providing comprehensive guidance to DTE and helping them on their career path. It is based on successful adult education methods and emphasizes the importance of sharing best practices.

The development of the program was coordinated by Šentprima in collaboration with the following partners: School of Applied Social Studies in Nova Gorica (SI), BiT Planota Foundation (SI), Employment Service of Slovenia (SI), IRECOOP Veneto (I), Veneto Lavoro (I), SOFORM SCARL (I), Pôle emploi Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes (F), and the association EDIAS (F).

On 19 April 2023, the Slovenian COM-IN partnership conducted a training for counsellors working with difficult-to-employ people. The training programme is based on a competency model and focuses on strengthening the competences of counsellors working with the most vulnerable on the labour market. The training was attended by 23 counsellors, who commented on the training and expressed their positive opinion on the usefulness of the programme for the development of the competences of counsellors for the most vulnerable.

The training consisted of 4 parts:

  • Preparing the DTE for a job interview (Valentina Fegic Birsa, Julija Milović)
  • How to find opportunities and possibilities for employing PRM (Darijan Krpan, MSc)
  • Non-violent Communication (Assoc. Prof. Dr. Tjaša Stepišnik Perdih)
  • Equality, diversity, and inclusion by understanding and addressing unconscious bias (Barbara Zupančič)

The training was attended by 23 counsellors, who commented on the training and expressed their positive opinion on the usefulness of the programme for the development of counsellors’ competences for the hard-to-employ.

Competence model for the counsellor for difficult-to-employ people

Project partners of the COM-IN project have finished the first project result named “Competence model for the counsellor for difficult-to-employ people (DTE)” (R1).

In order to prepare the competence model we implemented 5 focus groups in project regions (Slovenia, Italy and France). Focus group participants were counsellors from different organizations, which invest most of their working time to help people with various types of impairments and difficult-to employ people. Counsellors demonstrated great interest in cooperation, as such widely used competence model does not exist yet.

Counsellors’ collaboration and enthusiasm provided us with a basis for further preparation of the model. All of the partners participated with great interest at developing the model.

The model is complex, as it takes into account different competences that need counsellors for working with difficult to employ persons: technical competences, know-how competences and know-being competences. Each competence is also described with specific situations, in which it is manifested.

The model follows the real working process, since the counsellor working with DTE must be an expert, have to know specific tools and techniques and be motivated to work with disadvantaged groups.

The competence model represents the groundwork for preparation of the second project result “Training programme for counsellor for difficult-to-employ people” (R2) which is being prepared by the partnership and will be tested in January 2023. The training programme will aim to give (young) professionals the skills needed to reach the listed competences identified and listed in the “Competence model for the counsellor for difficult-to-employ people (DTE)”.

V juniju je v mestu Pordenone v Italiji potekal prvi mednarodni partnerski sestanek projekta COM-IN. Partnerji, ki skupaj delamo že od januarja, smo se prvič srečali v živo in zelo uspešno nadaljevali z delom na projektu in načrtovali bodoče aktivnosti. Formalno srečanje smo povezali še z obiskom kooperative FUTURA, ki zaposluje težje zaposljive osebe ter cooperative SOFORM, ki je med drugim projektni partner.

 

V okviru projekta COM IN smo organizirali dve delavnici, ki sta potekali v Novi Gorici in Ljubljani. Cilj projekta je prispevati k opolnomočenju svetovalcev v zavodih za zaposlovanje, poklicnih in izobraževalnih organizacijah, nevladnih organizacijah in lokalnih skupnostih za boljšo uporabo metod in pristopov za delovno integracijo težje zaposljivih oseb. Namen delavnic je bil pregled kompetenčnega modela, ki predstavlja pregled kompetenc, ki bi jih naj svetovalec, ki dela s težje zaposljivimi obvladal za uspešno izvajanje dela. Na delavnici smo zbrali strokovnjake, ki delajo s težje zaposljivimi osebami in smo skupaj zelo uspešno pregledali in prevetrili zbrane kompetence. Delavnic se je udeležilo skupno 18 udeležencev, ki so predstavljali zelo raznolike organizacije in vnesli raznolike poglede. Kompetenčni model, ki smo ga v preteklih mesecih sestavili projektni partnerji je dobil predloge za izboljšave, a že sam osnutek je bil s strani udeležencev zelo dobro sprejet. Partnerji projekta COM-IN nadaljujemo z delom, da bo končni kompetenčni model na voljo že do konca poletja.

Projektni partnerji v projektu COM-IN so se srečali na prvi delavnici za pripravo Kompetenčnega modela za svetovalca za težje zaposljive osebe (TZO). Dogovorili smo se o nadaljnjih korakih za izvedbo te aktivnosti.
Nekateri partnerji so opozorili na zahtevnost dela svetovalcev za TZO, saj gre za delo z ljudmi, ki se soočajo z različnimi vrstami oviranosti in potrebujejo raznovrstne pomoči za njihovo premagovanje.

Projektni partnerji, ki sodelujejo v projektu COM-IN, so med 25. do 26. januarjem 2022 izvedli 1. srečanje upravnega odbora in ekipe za vodenje projekta.
Na srečanju so se predstavili partnerji projekta, predstavljeni so bili cilji, aktivnosti in ključni rezultati ter medsebojne zaveze partnerstva za uspešno izvedbo projekta.
Partnerji so izpostavili povezanost projekta poslanstvom sodelujočih organizacij ter izrazili navdušenje za uspešno izvedbo projekta. Podali so konkretne predloge za izvedbo aktivnosti.

Galerija dogajanja na projektu COM-IN: