Surfing to the Job (StJ)

Published on: 29/09/2010
Document

The training enables social workers to use the Virtual Job Market and to train their clients for 'surfing to the job'. Youth without apprenticeship and unemployed learn to use the Internet for job search, gain digital literacy and improve their chances for apprenticeship and employment. The Internet is then appreciated as a helpful tool in the labour market.

In 2004/2005 the German 'Bundesagentur für Arbeit' launched a new internet platform with improved placement conditions for online job searching. A bidirectional matching system was set up to bring together offers and searches. Users can easily search online for job offers and employers can post their job offers directly onto the Internet. In particular, socially disadvantaged youth with a low level of education benefit from the chance to publish their profile describing their non-formal competences and soft skills as well as their formal education level. For a successful job search they need to learn in advance not only how to use the Internet in general but also how to use it for online profile building and job searching.

The idea of the training is based on the assumption that the more relevance an Internet service has for people the more likely they are to invest time to learn how to make use of the service. The training enables social workers to make use of the Internet to explore and to access the job market and to train their clients.

Policy Context

Designed as a Private-Public-Partnership with AOL Germany and the German Labour Agency, the Digital Opportunities Foundation succeeded for the first time ever in bringing together all major German welfare organisations in a comprehensive effort for Digital Inclusion (Arbeiterwohlfahrt, German Red Cross, Diakonie (a Lutherian church), Caritas (a Catholic church), Paritätischer Wohlfahrtsverband and the Zentralwohlfahrtsstelle der Juden (a Jewish organisation) in collaboration with Initiative D21 and the companies in it.

Description of target users and groups

Target Group A: Social workers working in the field of libraries, youth clubs, advisory bureaus for the unemployed etc. as coordinators for

Target Group B: Youth without a school leaving certificate or apprenticeship, unemployed youths especially migrants and those who are socially disadvantaged and those with low levels of education gain digital literacy and improve their chances for apprenticeship and employment. In order to also address the needs of the two biggest groups of migrants in Germany, information is provided in Turkish and Russian.

Description of the way to implement the initiative

The training enables social workers to make use of the Internet to explore and to access the job market and to train their clients for 'surfing to the job'. Youth, especially migrant youths who are socially disadvantaged and those with a low level of education, gain digital literacy and improve their chances for apprenticeship and employment. Since the start of the training campaign about 450 social youth workers have successfully taken part in the training. The number of young people addressed by these social work multipliers is a hundredfold higher.

To meet the special needs of youths and social workers the training curriculum (one day training course, 8 hours) consists of 5 modules:

  • Module 1: Online search for Jobs and Apprenticeships
  • Module 2: Profiling: Which Capabilities do I bring to the Labour Market
  • Module 3: Online Application: How to fit to an offer
  • Module 4: Matching in the Virtual Job Market
  • Module 5: Virtual Job Market - Frequently Asked Questions: Privacy, Data Security & Protection

At www.surfen-zum-job.de a website was set up as a platform for exchange for the training participants. The website provides information around the labour market in general and about the training campaign in particular. The currently scheduled trainings were announced and an online tool for registration is available. The website is completed by a 21-step guided tour through online job searching. This guided tour is especially designed to the needs of inexperienced users helping them step-by-step through the different search options of the online job market and the publishing of their own profile.

By means of two examples (graduated young girl looking for apprenticeship / non-graduated young men looking for a job) the possibilities of job searching online were demonstrated to the users of the website.

Both the website itself and the guided tour are designed according to the WAI guidelines and are therefore accessible for people with disabilities. On order to also address the needs of the two biggest groups of migrants in Germany, information is provided in Turkish and Russian.

The service was provided by skilled trainers experienced in adult education and training for digital literacy. The trainers were provided with a detailed curriculum, master presentation and trainer guidebook. Thus the quality of all training sessions was guaranteed.

The website provided:

  • Teaching material: Trainer's Guide, PPT, Didactic material, Case examples, Links
  • Learner's material: User's Guide, FAQs, Quick-Tips, Links
  • Types of material: Print, online, CD-Rom

Technology solution

The project was based on the use of ICT. It was designed to enable the participants to make use of ICT and especially to use the Internet for job searching and apprenticeship.

The project website provided for a platform of exchange for the training participants. It also provided a tool for online management of training participants (accreditation, confirmation via email etc.).

Technology choice: Standards-based technology

Main results, benefits and impacts

Prior to the project a survey was carried out to measure the need for a training campaign: A questionnaire at 6 200 Public Internet Access Points in the field of social work.

The impact of the training campaign was measured by a feedback form to be filled in by the participants directly at the end of the training, a feedback form to be filled in by the trainer and a follow-up evaluation by telephone interview 6-8 weeks after the training.

  • Written questionnaire following the training course: Feedback form for participants, feedback form for trainers, recording of the feedback in the content management database, processing of the results
  • Oral interview by telephone 6-8 weeks after the training course: Announcement of the interview via e-mail and data matching, telephone interview with the participants, recording of the feedback in the content management database, processing of the results
  • The follow-up evaluation showed that nearly all of the participants made use of their newly obtained knowledge to train young people in digital literacy exemplified through job searching online. Most of the participants are more likely to use the Internet for job searching and placement than they did before. In the interview all participants reported the benefits they gained from the training course as well as from the training material (online and print) within their daily work with disadvantaged youths. About 90 % of the participants said that they will recommend the training to their colleagues.

Track record of sharing

The campaign was carried out in co-operation with all major German welfare organisations. Thus the experiences gained by Stiftung Digitale Chancen were circulated in these organisations and incorporated in their own projects. The experiences of the campaign gave input to other national and international projects of Stiftung Digitale Chancen, e.g. 'Youth Protection Roundtable' in the Safer Internet Action Plan of the European Commission (see www.yprt.eu) or 'Stepping stones into the Digital World' in the Grundtvig Life Long Learning programme (see www.stepping-stones.de).

The training campaign was presented at several national and international conferences. The findings of the project were published in articles in various journals.

Dissemination:

  • Project flyer (in different languages)
  • Project poster
  • Website
  • Press releases

Use was made of positive evaluation results in funding acquisition.

Lessons learnt

Two critical aspects of the project were time restraints and employee turnover. The primary target group are social youth workers many of whom are usually working with no long-binding contracts, some of them working part-time, others as free-lancers. Also most of them have tight schedules for their work with youths and are often not able to take part in qualificational training courses.

The problem was solved by offering a one-day-training course provided locally to avoid long travel times. In addition the participants got highly elaborated training documents to perform follow-up course work.

Scope: National