Network D Strengthening the national social economy (the third sector), in particular the services of interest to the community, with a focus on improving the quality of jobs.
Project name Leader’s Cyber-Hand. Supporting the Leaders of Social Changes in Poland
Project number D0190

Project description

The objective of the project is to prepare a group of young social leaders to enter the labour market within the third sector, to encourage school graduates to operate in this sector, and to demonstrate active participation in NGOs as an alternative to working in business or going abroad. The Partnership also wishes to identify the employment opportunities in the third sector and to determine the organisational and technical deficiencies within organisations. It aims also to raise awareness of the potential and significance of this sector, as well as to create a coherent system for transnational cooperation.

The target group of this project are graduates from post-secondary schools, vocational schools and universities. It will include 120 people aged 20 to 37. They will participate in training sessions, and then internships based on the "apprentice-master" principle, which will prepare them to work in the third sector. They will also be offered assistance in establishing their own non-profit organisations or support in their first paid job within the third sector.

The profile of vocational training for working in the third sector has been created based on the identification of employee skill requirements conducted among Lower Silesian organisational leaders. The project beneficiaries will be trained in, inter alia, the legal framework of the operations of the third sector, funding opportunities for NGOs, raising EU funds and public funds, accounting principles for NGOs, procedures for setting up own organisations, computer science. Subsequently the beneficiaries will complete apprenticeships in selected organisations which are planned to be their future employers. Their employment will be subsidised for six months.

The Non-Governmental Career Office, a model institution which will comprehensively support and promote the third sector as a labour market, will be established under the project. The Career Office will be a job, apprenticeship and voluntary work service agency operating for the third sector. It is also expected to provide services in the field of job counselling covering NGOs as an element of the labour market. The Career Office is addressed to all job seekers, irrespective of their age, sex or education level. Its services are provided free of charge, both to candidates and to employers.

The responsibility of job counsellors employed by the Career Office is to provide information on job opportunities with NGOs, to assist in choosing the direction of professional development within the third sector, and to provide technical and organisational support for employment continuity in this sector. Apart from its job placement and counselling services, the Career Office has tools at its disposal that help in the promotion of the concept of employment in the social economy sector.

The Non-Governmental Career Office is the main output to be delivered by the Partnership. An educational TV show, "Kariera po europejsku. Pracuj z pasją" (European Career. Work with Passion), is one of its elements. The objective of the show is to present the third sector as a place for professional development and self-realisation, to demonstrate the funding sources for the organisations operating on this market, and to present the elements of social economy. The programme presents career paths, the individual commitment of organisational leaders, and the opportunities to achieve professional and individual objectives. It will be available via a website, along with a workshop scenario using it as a supplementary tool.

The Partnership is also working on a Guide for Leaders of Social Changes "I can, therefore I am". This publication consists of two key elements the first of which is practical information on the opportunities of getting involved in NGOs' activities and getting a job at an NGO. The second element consists of narratives by people who have come from being a volunteer to being an NGO employee. The objective of this guide is to disseminate the knowledge and experience regarding the process of preparing graduates to work in the NGO sector. It is an outcome of the cooperation between the project coordinators and beneficiaries. Its target group is first-year university students. The publication will be available in hard copy and in electronic format.

The last component of the output to be delivered by the Partnership is a website devoted to the third sector, addressed both to those interested in working for NGOs, and to NGOs' employees. The website will include a database of good practices, social economy training sessions accompanied by video material, links to third sector-related websites, a multimedia version of the "I can, therefore I am" guide, a forum designed to exchange experience and information and to foster integration.

The project outcomes can be utilised by NGOs, training institutions, governmental administration, labour market institutions, social and economic partners, institutions acting for the benefit of groups at risk of social exclusion, education or training centres, as well as the media and the public.

The project outcomes will be disseminated through a publication created with the help of one of the partners and the beneficiaries themselves. TV shows, meetings and conferences organised by the managing organisation, activity reports and progress reports, as well as a report on the extent to which the results were achieved will take place. The Partnership has entered into an agreement with TVP3, a Polish TV station, which is planning to regularly broadcast the European Career. Work with Passion! TV show. Approximately 96 episodes are scheduled for the project implementation period. The output dissemination schedule covers the period from May 2007 to February 2008.