Network A Facilitating access and return to the labour market for those who have difficulty in being integrated or reintegrated into a labour market which must be open to everyone.
Project name Stand Up, Raise Your Head
Project number A0518

Project description

The Development Partnership's objective is to ensure occupational integration and reintegration of people who have been unemployed for more than three years and those in danger of unemployment due to a lack of any meaningful previous employment history.

The Partnership operates in the area of the Żnin Poviat together with poviat and regional labour market institutions.

The Project is intended to provide support to the poviat socio-economic development strategy, which among other things involves a significant reduction of unemployment level. According to studies carried out by the Partnership, this objective is hardly achievable considering the effectiveness of the existing system of assistance to the jobless. Available measures are in mismatch with the needs of specific unemployment groups, which are typical to the area of Partnership's activity. In addition, the offer of welfare institutions fails to address these needs, insofar as it is limited to the payment of statutory benefits or ad-hoc assistance. Based on available data, the Partnership came to the conclusion that a system of support must be established to address the
needs of those who have exhausted their unemployment benefits and to counteract prolonged joblessness-related dysfunctions, such as inheritable unemployment that is increasingly common in families deprived of occupational activity role model and funds for education of children.

Project beneficiaries are 36 long-term unemployed rural dwellers with primary and basic vocational education level, who are no longer entitled to unemployment benefits. In order for the assistance to be effective, the beneficiaries themselves must identify their goals and decide on direction of and approach to the activities. The scope of assistance provided under the Project will be limited to mental aspects, social and family relations and vocational outlook. The offer will help them to overcome helplessness and passivity, improve their skills, self-confidence and image. Based on a study on unemployment in the poviat and beneficiaries' declarations, the Partnership will provide support under two distinct advisory/training and institutional components.

The training offer has been designed by the Partnership to reflect identified beneficiaries' need profiles so that each of them is able to bridge the largest gaps. Beneficiaries will work in small groups. In the beginning, they will attend a module called "Power Injection" focusing on an improvement in their self-assessment. The module will include "Forge of Optimism" workshops and personal psychological counselling. Throughout the term of the Project, the participants' motivation will be improved under a series of events called "the Further, the Better". The beneficiaries will be split into groups not only for merely organizational reasons: under a series of "Eagle's Nest" meetings they will attend workshops and training events intended to integrate the participants so that the workshop groups are ultimately transformed into groups of support. A psychologist will deliver training in interpersonal communication, self-presentation and stress control to enable sharing of experience and ideas of pro-active job seeking approaches. The "Germ of Opportunities" module will involve training or retraining in skills and capabilities. The module was developed using available information on current job market needs and contributions from a vocational counsel who helped beneficiaries to identify their predispositions. Under the "Forge of
Experts" module the participants will be given training in jobs of the future (such as community worker, beautician, hairdresser, florist or salesperson) and traditional crafts (potter, sculptor or embroiderer). As a minimum, each participant of the pilot project will attend one vocational and one craft training. A series of meetings called "Friendly Internet" is intended to facilitate integration with the labour market of today and familiarisation with its tools. Each participant will have access to his/her computer desk. A course of the English language, based on communication approach, was also developed. Training events are intended to give the participants additional certified skills that are much sought after on the labour market. Encouraging unassisted jobseeking attitudes will be an important aspect of labour market integration, which is unlikely to be achieved without basic skills required by modern employment market.

The Project has set up a Jobless Integration Centre composed of two units: "Labour Alert" and "Hatchery of Initiatives". The Labour Alert will provide support to those seeking typical paid jobs operating as an outsourcing agency and database of jobs seekers and prospective employers. The "Hatchery of Initiatives" will provide support to those beneficiaries who wish to set up cooperatives and find outlet markets for handicraft products manufactured under the Project and beyond. Those planning to establish their own business will have an opportunity to benefit from "Business Nursery", providing them with basic information on setting up a business, owner's responsibilities and other aspects of small business operations. All of these activities are intended to assist the beneficiaries in regaining sustainable income from a job or self-employment business.

Based on the system of support to direct beneficiaries, the Development Partnership is planning to develop a model of providing support to those who are in danger of exclusion due to prolonged unemployment. The model will demonstrate the effectiveness of specific Project components and define the scope of contributions from local labour market institutions, as required for successful application of the model.

The Development Partnership is planning to disseminate the outcomes of its efforts to the local, regional, national and foreign institutions responsible for alleviating the unemployment problem and taking pro-integrative actions. The dissemination activities are intended to raise awareness of the necessity to reform the unemployment prevention system and to promote solutions that address the needs of the labour market and those of the unemployed.