Net-WORK Project

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Programme Description

As part of their integration work, Cultur and Meath Partnership secured funding from the Dormant Account Funds and partnered in delivering a programme aimed at addressing the barriers to employment experienced by migrant women in county Meath. The Net-WORK project was delivered through practical, hands on, integrative, accredited and non-accredited support and training programmes that enhanced the skills of women with leave to remain or refugee status to stay and progress in employment. These included soft skills training cultural awareness in the work place and job activation skill

Overall learning from NetWORK Project

The project was a major undertaking for the organisation but our direct work with migrant women pointed to specific barriers to access and participation in job activation and labour market programmes. Many of these barriers are specific to migrants but some are more acute to migrant women and lead to systematic gender barriers.

Project Achievements: What worked well and why

  • Several specifics about the nature of our work and the courses themselves contributed to making the project work well and they include:
  • The course offered applied to the needs identified by migrant women accessing our organisation and through referrals from other organisations
  • Our contact with migrant women as a migrant organisation and the trust we had built with migrant women meant that we were able to make links with migrant and engage them on the programme
  • The collaboration of two community development organisations, Cultur and Meath partnership ensured the programme management and delivery standards were high
  • Two experienced project officers with a broad range of skills, experience in professional job coach with a proved track record, one of the officers being a migrant experienced in managing similar projects and working with people from different cultures.
  • Willingness of businesses from the private sector to support the project, namely IBM, Celtic recruitment agency and the Academy of Aviation

Challenges and developments that occurred over the lifetime of the project that impacted on meeting the agreed actions and targets of this project

  • Some of the participants were not fluent in English, this constituted an obstacle in accessing further training or work. The level of supports needed in terms of ESOL are high. Up to 260 hours of QQI level 3 ESOL are required for one to access mainstream education or labour market activation programmes, however such an investment will pay huge dividends participants. Due to low English levels several women participated in community engagement hands on craft training such as sugar craft and Jewellery making.
  • Racism in terms of employment discrimination which often means migrant women not accessing employment based on their identity and nationality. Some women reported that despite gaining some confidence and hope through skills they had acquired from the project, they still had to face the harsh realities of discrimination in some cases, “which knocks me right back to square one just when I thought I was ready to start again”. To use the words of one of the participants. A more robust anti-racism and equality strategy to support migrants living in Ireland could address some of this discrimination. This will in turn have an impact on how education, training and labour market supports policies and practice are constructed.
  • A lack of knowledge among migrant women about how to navigate the systems of education and employment

There are many agencies in the county Meath providing excellent supports to migrant women but as someone who was educated out of the country the complexities of the systems and rules are not always clear and the information we got from participants was that the regulations are often structurally unequal, replicating gender biases in some cases. Support for jobseekers on social welfare payments are normally targeted to the male member of the family unless if both are claimants and this leaves the mother with very little support if they do not opt to sign on.

  • Child care, finding suitable child care for participants was very difficult. Most of our participants were attending short courses and we could not find registered childcare providers to take their kids for short periods. Most child care services only accept children who would use the services regularly. Despite having a budget for child care our participant were not able to avail of the funds due to the condition set out by the funders

Conclusion

The NetWORK Project was an innovative response to the needs identified by migrant women living in Meath in terms of effectiveness and value for money. Most of the funding was spent on training and supports for participants to attend training programmes. The project made links between language acquisition, career and work developments. The implementation placed an emphasis on removing the barriers which are only experienced by this group, being a migrant and a woman. Some of the learnings from this project can be offered to mainstream education, training and labour market support services and policy makers on how there could re-organise programmes for migrant women. The lessons on the project show that with continued supports migrant women can fair better on the job market.

Supported volunteer opportunities

Upon completion of the employment preparation programme, participants will be offered volunteering opportunities with the Meath Volunteer centre.

Support will be provided around English language progression, and funding is available to cover childcare and transport costs.

Ideal candidates are females from the ages of 16 years+, with either refugee status or leave to remain and who are willing to commit to a 12-month programme.

For Registration Please Contact:

Deidre Dowling on 046 9280790 or [email protected]

Reuben Hambakachere on 0861994655 or [email protected]

                                                                                                         

The Net-WORK Project was approved by government with the support of the Dormant Accounts.

Cynthia Dengu is one of the women who were supported by Cultur Migrants Centre under the NetWORK Project.  In December 2019 she attended a  sugar craft course and today she is happy to share with us her story so far.

“I decided to register myself for a Cake decorating purse that was being ran by Cultúr Migrants.  It was a one day class but in that one day I learnt a lot of basic skills of how to ice a cake.

Since that day I have been practicing everyday in perfecting my skill as I always had a passion for cake making and decorating.  I was able to share the learning with my family and friends. I am now making cakes and a little bit of money for my self. I am glad I have this skill, I am going to keep going the sky is the limit.

These are some of the cakes I have made so far.

School of Culinary & Home Arts

The NetWORK Project supported 21 women to participate in a cook and taste event in Lismullin School of Culinary & Home Arts. This event took place on the 31st of March 2020 as part of an integration initiative in conjunction with  Cultur and Meath partnership. This bespoke cookery class provided a networking opportunity for women from diverse backgrounds to learn and share their cooking experiences.

The event culminated in a two-year-long project that supported migrant women to gain employability skills. This project delivered accredited training. This included the Academy of Aviation passenger customer services training and Drive competency skills. The participants also received non-accredited soft skills which included, arts and craft courses, wellness workshops, CV and interview skills all of which helped participants build confidence.

REPORT ON ACADEMY OF AVIATION INDUCTION COURSE HELD AT THE CARLTON AIRPORT HOTEL, DUBLIN FROM THE WEDNESDAY THE 10TH TO FRIDAY THE 13TH OF APRIL, 2018.

The Academy Of Aviation Course was organized by the Network Project. The course which had 5 people in attendance was held for 4 days at the Academy Of Aviation training suite of The Carlton Airport Hotel, Dublin.

The 4 day course was aimed at equipping participants with knowledge in the various aspects of Passenger Services. The modules covered were Passenger Check-in/Boarding and arrivals; Security/Health and Safety Procedures; Customer Care and Communication Skills; Personal Presentation and Grooming. Day one started with an introduction by the facilitator, Ruth Thewlis, an  aviation specialist with 33years experience in the sector. Participants were informed about airport services, duties of different airport staff, airlines operating at The Dublin Airport, facilities available to passengers, the different codes and the increasing job opportunities in the aviation sector. An examination was held on the third day after which participants were taught the art of good make up by Inglot, a make-up specialist. They were also given interview tips and the aviation dress code. The interview was held on the last day by Sky Handling Partner, the first and largest aviation handling company operating at The Dublin Airport. On the last day, participants were awarded certificates.

At the end of the course, participants were confident enough to attend the interview and were hopeful for a career in aviation.

Project Current Status

What progress has been made since the last meeting?

  • Recruitment of first 64 participants completed
  • Meet & Greet mornings in place for new starters
  • Database created and full details recorded
  • 1-1 Skills analysis completed for 42
  • 1-1 Personal Action plans completed for 42
  • Interim report completed

Project Current Status

Courses and progression to date:

  • Progression to employment ,6 participants are working part time and 3 full time
  • 21 participants have completed Soft Skills Courses
  • 3 completed QQI Start Your Own Business Course
  • 7 participants completed the QQI level 3 Career Preparation Course
  • 3 have completed Haccp
  • 22 completed Academy Aviation Customer Service Passengers Courses
  • One-One Meetings ongoing