It is often the case, in countries where there are major incoming migratory phenomena and particularly in Europe in the last fifteen years, that people who arrive find themselves in a country where, for various reasons, it is difficult to validate the professional qualifications obtained in the country of origin. It can therefore be understood how it seems even more complicated to fill in any detectable gaps (technical, linguistic, etc.), a challenge that threatens to definitively denigrate what would otherwise have been an important element of human capital for the country of entry itself.
In the OECD countries and among the member states of the European Union, the need to develop plans for the recognition of those skills of potential future workers has become increasingly evident. The European Commission itself has invited Member States to design or strengthen systems capable of demonstrating and improving the skills of immigrants, for a better management of the labour market.
If their integration is hampered by factors such as having a traumatic experience, or poor attachment to the host country, difficulty in accessing concrete information on job opportunities and inability to see their competitive strengths recognized, it seems clear that solutions need to be found to enable these fragile subjects to identify, document, evaluate and, if necessary, certify their skills as quickly as possible.
In Granada, Spain, our organisation, AIFED (Asociación de Innovación, Formación y Empleo para el Desarrollo Sostenible), is addressing the needs described above as part of the project "BvB Migration Plus" 2018-1-DE02-KA202-005220, developed under the direction of Diakonisches Werk des Kirchenkreises Rendsburg-Eckernförde (Germany) together with six European partners: Austria, United Kingdom, Spain, Slovenia, Italy and Bulgaria in the framework of the ERASMUS+ Innovation programmes. This working group, based on international cooperation and dissemination and innovation, aims to develop and test five vocational sector-specific qualification modules for vocational preparation and two demand-oriented qualification modules for the acquisition of country-specific missing social skills (https://www.aifed.es/en/proyectos/erasmus-bvb-migration-en/).
In this way, an attempt is made to develop a qualification concept that will help the experts who will then implement preparatory measures to further professionalize their work with the reference group, improving the quality of their work and the lives of all immigrants in our cities. What institutions are implementing (and gradually improving) to facilitate the entry of immigrants into the labour market is careful listening, self-assessment of professional and language skills, assessment of aspirations and personal skills. These steps make the following ones much easier, and can proceed in a more precise and detailed way with the preparation of a CV, the insertion in any professional and language training course, the concrete search for positions and employers. A good active employment policy should, above all at local level, provide for the creation of a real integrated supply chain linking the operators of the various support and training bodies, workers and employers, in order to facilitate the insertion and integration in particular of categories at risk, including immigrants.
In recent years, concrete intervention policies have been implemented with respect to the validation of immigrants' skills: only through the ability to demonstrate and validate one's own skills, in fact, a qualified immigrant can actively and positively contribute to the economy of the host country, and this will have a constructive impact on the community itself.
The promotion of the centrality of the person, the improvement of individual experiences (also taking into account skills acquired in non-formal contexts), greater transparency and accessibility of qualifications are fundamental elements for the personal, civic, social and occupational growth of individuals who would otherwise have almost no access to these objectives of fundamental importance, as stated, for effective integration between them and future generations.
This concern for the VOCATIONAL PREPARATION of migrants or people with a migration background has to reach our professional training systems. Other European institutions are insisting on the same direction.
The European Social Fund (ESF) for employment and social inclusion is just one example of how the European Union allows the creation of active inclusion pathways and personal and professional retraining for these risk categories. Experiments in good practice are gradually being extended.
Among the most present authorities in Europe about this topic is CEDEFOP (European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training), based in Thessaloniki, Greece. It is an agency of the European Union created with the aim of promoting the development of educational and vocational training for the citizens of Member States. In close collaboration with the ETF (European Training Foundation), located in Turin, Italy, it offers articulated and comprehensive lifelong learning programmes designed specifically for the vocational training of subjects from non-EU countries (North Africa, the Soviet Union and the Middle East are just some of the geographical areas of intervention).
As you can read on the agency's Turin-based website, "The ETF maintains close contact with EU delegations, offering general advice on MISMES and providing expertise in the implementation of skills related actions included in mobility partnerships between the EU and partner countries. Mobility partnerships aim to bring coherence and stability to migration from countries of origin and are considered an important factor in EU migration policy. A growing number of ETF partner countries have signed, or are negotiating, mobility partnerships" (https://www.etf.europa.eu/en/practice-areas/skills-and-migration).
Author: Marta Buono
Translated by: Francesca Carbone
AIFED. Asociación de Innovación, Formación y Empleo para el Desarrollo sostenible.