Establishing the basis for livelihood program in Albania

During November 2017 – December 2018, IRCA is implementing the project “Establishing the basis for livelihood program in Albania”. The project aims to support the insertion of asylum seekers, refugees and disassociates groups in the labor market through a combination of training, professional coaching and access to micro-finances geared towards economic empowerment.

This project is funded by UNHCR and IRCA as selected implementing partner is contracted to serve on the objectives  a) enhance the capacity of asylum seekers and refugees b) increase their knowledge of the labor market to explore all the opportunities available in relation to their specific skill set and; c) empower asylum seekers and refugees to be able to find gainful employment in order to ensure self-reliance.

Under these objectives around 100 beneficiaries will be equipped with a better understanding of their skill-set, further hone their abilities and how they will utilize their capabilities to find employment that match their profiles. This will also enhance their understanding certain requirements to access labor markets and to approach financial institutions in order to benefit from micro-financing schemes to set up small scale businesses.

The main Methodology will focus on the “Coaching for Employment” as the successfully Methodology implemented in similar characteristics communities before.

The coaching and mentoring process will be attended by the three career coaches, who will coach and work directly with participants in their path to employment. The career coaches have been selected due to previous experience working with marginalized groups. During the coaching for employment process, the role of the coaches will focus on:

  • Accompanying individuals in their transition to work;
  • Organization and administration of the coaching process individually or in groups;
  • Coordination and cooperation with relevant stakeholders as an intermediate between the participants and the involved stakeholders;

Training, peer exchanges, learning with other coaches, self-reflection and development.

The main elements of the coaching cycle that will be moderated by the coaches are:

  • Mobilization of resources and potentials

After making the decision to implement the Couching Cycle, the coaches prepare and present the opportunity of asylum seekers and refugees facing unemployment problems.

Also in this stage will be conducted an assessment and selection of 100 refugees and asylum seekers in Albania who will be benefiting from Coaching for Employment Methodology.

  • Establishment of the groups of participants to be coached

After the need assessment, the organization and the coaches set the criteria for the establishment of the groups such as:

  1. Age;
  2. Gender, paying special attention in establishment of the women group;
  3. Previous professional development program supporting their skills and employment;
  4. Motivation and engagement
  • Exploration of the world of labour

In this element the participants are clarified for their interests, motivations and opportunities and identify professional activities that match their individual interests, abilities and capabilities that are possible in their area of ​​residence. Starting with an open discovery of the labour market and professional activities, participants begin to focus on the fields they are interested in and then in the respective professions. The aim is that at the end of the intelligence process, participants will find one to three professions that are interested in their further development. At the end of the process, participants should be clear about the professions they prefer. At this stage, they can visit businesses for a day or interview business owners. Some activities (such as visits to larger companies or business owners that run a group meeting) can be performed with the entire group.

  • Short internships

Short term internship is a profound discovery of selected professions after discovering the world of work. Being in a business for up to two weeks, participants get deeper insights into the profession’s activities. Through closer and longer-term observations, participants appreciate their interest in practice. This element provides an opportunity to differentiate business activity at small processes and allows participants to get a greater understanding of the variety of activities involving a particular business. For those who have never worked before, this provides opportunities to learn more about working in general. Only through practice, participants can assess whether their interest in a profession is accurate and resists the test in practice.

  • Individual development plan

After short-term internships, even if the decision for a profession or professional activity is taken by the participants, they determine, supported by the coach, individual, concrete and realistic objectives, goals, steps and success indicators. The Individual Development Plans are the essential tool for this process. It is therefore important that the participants have clarified their interests and have a concrete vision for their professional future. To clarify their vision, they use the Individual Development Plans by defining the short, medium and long term objectives as well as the necessary financial means to achieve them. These Individual Development Plans serve as a reference during the duration of the Coaching Cycle. The coaches and individuals can review their plan during the process to reflect on unexpected opportunities or situations that may have encountered, e.g. finding a job or moving to another area. 100 Individual Development Plans will be produced and translated from Farsi language to Albanian Language. In this stage each of the 100 participant will create a personal professional folder in which will have the following materials:

  1. Individual Development Plan
  2. Curriculum Vitae
  3. Motivation Letter
  4. Reference Letter
  5. Notebook
  6. Pen
  7. USB
  8. Certificates of the professional courses
  • Community oriented activities

During this element, participants work in small groups and develop a community activity. Community activity is not directly related to the process of discovery of the world of work and the definition of their Individual Development Plan, but serves as a way to gain personal and social competencies, as well as to plan and organize qualifications. Community activities also connect the community with the Coaching Cycle and provide participants with opportunities to show the company and people who are not part of the coaching cycle of what they do on the Coaching Cycle.

  • Professional training and practice

This Element of the Coaching Cycle is the stage where individual Development Plans apply. During the implementation of this element, participants acquire specific professional competences and experience. This is achieved through long-term internships, on-the-job training, or vocational training courses. Participants who have chosen to set up their businesses assisted in developing their business plans and identifying resources to implement them.

  • Functional skills training

This element is developed during training and professional practice. The aim is for the participants to reinforce the functional qualifications that will play an important role for their professional activity. Vocational qualifications are the essential qualifications needed for reading, writing, math and ICT, which are of utmost importance for young people and adults to participate in learning and work processes. Reading and writing are essential for most professional activities. Functional mathematical qualifications include clock delivery, count and use of money, account reconciliation, measurements and volume understanding. They include career-oriented skills, such as the difference in change or tracking of a chart. Qualifications in ICT6 may include finding information on the Internet or writing a CV.

  • Getting into business

Entering the job is the last element of the Coaching Cycle. This means that we must focus fully on measures to find employment, or to self-employment. The aim is that at the end of the implementation of this element, all participants should be employed or self-employed. Those whose training takes longer or have not been able to find work know what are the next steps for their professional development.

According to the methodology the next step of the coaching cycle has to do with exploration of the market. In a period of two to three months the groups will be mainly in the field to explore and understand the business and professions inside each company. Little by little they will validate their previous skills and will put into practice their first ideas.

Through the different activities in the exploring phase they will be able to test the market ad different areas. In order to become really sure on the direction they want to go the participants will have the chance to enter in different firms and businesses and understand exactly the elements of each profession linked with their personal abilities.

At the end of the coaching cycle each participant will have a detailed and clear plan covering short, medium and long term well defined steps towards the final goal – employment or self-employment. Development of Albanian language and work permits are two key priorities to be improved parallel to the professional development and preparation for the labour market. This will be achieved through a strong coordination with the other partners and UNHCR.