Profession-focused peer groups for immigrant job-seekers
#skillsdevelopment #empowerment #method #peergroup
The good practice in a nutshell
Profession-focused peer groups were developed for job-seeking immigrants. The target is to enhance immigrants’ working-life skills, and the focus is on specific occupations. In the group, the participants get information and peer support from the group tutors and from each other. The groups have 6–8 weekly sessions, of 3–4 hours per session. The profession-focused peer groups are led by a trained peer tutor and a professional counsellor. In addition, experts visit the groups to discuss specific themes.
Developer or user
The concept of profession-focused peer groups was developed in Finland in the Catch Up with Work and EME projects. During the projects, the peer groups gathered at Silta-Valmennus and Tampere Adult Education Centre (TAKK).
The peer groups are intended for:
- immigrant students in vocational education
- immigrants undergoing rehabilitation with workshop services
- job-seeking immigrants
Why it is needed
In Finland, some integration services are only for newcomers. There is lack of support and guidance for immigrants who have remained in the country longer and not yet entered working life. Moreover, immigrants in vocational training often need support with their working-life skills, in learning the language, and in recognising their skills and knowledge while also gaining empowerment for working life.
The good practice requires:
- a trained peer tutor
- a professional counsellor
- premises for the group sessions
- learn about working life’s rules and workplace cultures
- get information about work-life rights and obligations
- share experiences and information related to working life, training, and specific occupations
- write job applications and prepare CVs
- get familiar with the opportunities for self-study of the local language (e.g., online courses)
- practise the professional vocabulary of a specific occupation
‘Do’s and ‘don’t’s
- Make sure the participants are motivated to proceed toward working life.
- If possible, concentrate on one occupation or field per group.
- A peer tutor and a professional counsellor make a productive team. This way, there is a combination of expertise from experience and professional expertise in tutoring.
- Use practical examples and cases from workshops or training and from working life to make the topics concrete for the group.
This kind of peer-group activity could be arranged within organisations of various types, in every country, where there is a need for support, guidance, and empowerment of adult immigrants trying to find their path toward employment.
Quotes from the other project partners
‘It is a good environment to be in for a newcomer because they meet people that have been in the same situation they are in.’ (Municipality of Piteå, Sweden)
‘The participants will learn a lot of the society and working life in the new country. It will be easier to get a job or choose an education because they get a wider perspective on the labour market and how to study.’ (Municipality of Piteå, Sweden)