The good practice in a nutshell
Culturally sensitive care ambassador training is designed for immigrants who are interested in work in the care sector and want to improve their language skills (i.e., Dutch). The objective for the training is to strengthen and valorise the skills and experiences of participants and to orient them toward vocational training or employment in the elder-care sector. Each participant follows a personal trajectory.
The culturally sensitive care ambassador training is a six-month programme that consists of training in a group (2 days per week), workplace learning (1 day of internship per week), individualised coaching, and peer-group meetings. The training is provided by two education organisations: Groep INTRO and Brusselleer.
It is orientation training. The programme combines vocational courses (in the care sector), social-orientation courses (in communication and ICT), and language courses (for Dutch). The training programme has the following themes: introduction to the care sector, introduction to work with families, cultural sensitivity and culture-sensitive care, communication, dealing with conflicts, introduction to ICT, ‘learning to learn’, and Dutch.
During the programme, the participant works as an intern at an elderly-care organisation. Each participant is supervised by a mentor in the workplace. Thanks to the workplace learning, participants can acquire knowledge or skills by formal or informal means that are applied in the workplace: they have an opportunity to get to know the care organisation, to get to know the neighbourhood in which the care facility is located, and to take steps toward a neighbourhood-oriented care network with the support of the care facilities and accompanied by their mentor. In addition, this workplace learning is guided by one-on-one coaching (with a mentor and coach) and by peer-group meetings (with participants, mentors, and the coach).
Developer or user
EVA bxl, Belgium
Job-seekers with informal-care experience
Why it is needed
Care organisations love to reach out to the diversity-rich public of Brussels. Therefore, of course, they need to be able to come up with a wide range of services, often bespoke ones.
People with a migration background and informal experience in the care sector possess a bunch of skills. They can make a difference in tackling the challenge of developing tailor‑made care in Brussels. But the potential they possess has to get noticed. Caregivers who are looking for a job can take part in this training to become a culture-sensitive care ambassador. It is an accessible and participatory training programme that valorises and strengthens various skills of participants and orients them toward the labour market. Furthermore, the training strengthens the participant’s language skills (i.e., Dutch). Speaking both French and Dutch gives more opportunities for employment.
The good practice requires:
- staff who recruit people for the training
- motivated instructors who work together
- motivation-rich workplaces
- a mentor in the workplace who guides the participant
- co-operation among the instructors, workplace staff, and other parties involved
- staff who conduct follow-up on the progress of language and work skills
- staff who guide the participants toward a job after the training (providing job counselling)
- The participant’s language, communication, social, and work skills are valorised and strengthened.
- Participants share information and experiences of working life, education, and particular occupations.
- Participants are aware of their frame of reference and those of others.
- Participants recognise their skills, which may enhance their self-confidence.
- Participants have a better perspective on the labour market (within the care sector).
- Participants get a certificate for the training.
- Participants have completed job applications and CVs.
- Participants have larger social and professional networks.
‘Do’s and ‘don’t’s
- An open and active attitude on the instructor’s part is essential.
- Use participants’ expertise as much as possible.
- Employ coaching rather than teaching
- During the course, there can be interaction between theory and the experiences from the internship.
- Individual-specific and tailor-made follow-up/guidance addressing participants’ skills and experiences during and after the training programme is essential.
Applicability depends on the national context – i.e., how the education system and employment market (in the health-care sector) is organised. In addition, Brussels is quite particular in its multilingual context. This aspect has been taken into account in the development of the training. However, it would be possible to implement the project, with some modifications, in another setting.
Quotes from users
‘I really feel that I’ve found a second family. It has given me courage to go ahead.’
‘For me, this period was interesting. I have mastered skills that I did not have yet.’
‘This was a really good experience for me. If I had known about this before, I would have done it much earlier.’