Work in Czech (WIC)

Published on: 06/12/2007
The aim of this CIP EQUAL project "Systemic support for the employment of recognized refugees and foreigners living for an extended period in the Czech Republic" (funded by ESF and national budget of Czech republic) is to improve opportunities for recognized refugees and foreigners with long-term and permanent residence, to find work. A suite of courses has been established together with a methodology for individual social work with clients. These entail courses in Czech, PC skills, employment integration, and special motivational courses. During the whole project extensive social work is conducted with the target group including help with looking for work or accompany them on necessary visits to various administrative authorities.

Policy Context

With reference to the focus of the eInclusion, courses to develop PC skills are taught at two levels of competency and provide clients with the basic PC skills as well as a good grounding in a specific software. The course has proved to be very popular, as it has been accredited by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports and so simultaneously provides clients with an officially accepted qualification. Czech language courses include newly created unique study materials, time allocation of 300 – 400 hours together with learning and testing methods using Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. A similar methodology is used in other projects as well as by the State Integration Programme (SIP) for recognised refugees and subsidiary protection beneficiaries. Employment integration courses include topics like general overview of the Czech employment law, ways of contacting potential employers, how to integrate into the Czech social system or day-to-day contact with authorities. Motivational courses use psychological methods of group work which help clients to improve their communication and social skills and to strengthen their self-confidence.

Description of target users and groups

The target group are long-term staying migrants, i.e. migrants with long-term visa, long-term residence permit and permanent stay in the Czech Republic. Since the primary aim of the project is that these are better integrated in the society, a compound of courses is offered to them and they are supposed to take part step-by-step in all of them, whereby their chances to get employed or to be re-employed in case of losing job are increased. Apart from that their integration in the society is supported, especially through language courses.

Description of the way to implement the initiative

The number of current clients in the project is 60. Together with other organizations in our development partnership we are trying to provide them with continuous social work and courses as described above. Not all clients go through the whole set of activities and also the fluctuation rate is higher than we have thought. The overall number of clients from the beginning of the project is 90. Regarding two levels of PC courses, as the main interest for the eInclusion initiative, 42 clients attended them. 7 of them passed the advanced level. For the basic set of lessons we have an official accreditation from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports. It was certainly one of the reasons the PC courses were so popular among our clients (together with Czech language lessons). For some of the clients it was the first contact with IT, some knew PC work already but needed to improve their skills and some were already fully capable to work PC but had to learn Czech terminology to be able to maybe find a job requiring PC skills.

Technology solution

Technology choice: Standards-based technology

Main results, benefits and impacts

The project assists clients at improving various skills and knowledge from many areas of practical day-to-day life in Czech republic starting with the Czech language as the basic course. It enables clients to continue in attending other courses like employment integration or PC-work course. Nowadays, working with the Internet, PC and using basic software packages is necessary for getting an interesting job as well as to integrate to the new society and cultural environment. We have a lot of clients that go through the whole set of courses, some of them now attending officially accepted re-training courses covered by the project budget. Thereafter they are ready to apply for a job on a higher position which usually requires higher qualifications than they had had at the beginning – after their arrival to the Czech republic from their countries of origin.

Return on investment

Return on investment: Not applicable / Not available

Track record of sharing

Following organizations were co-operating on the project: Society of Citizens Assisting Migrants (SOZE), main co-ordinator and grant applicant; Centre for Integration of Foreigners (CIC), and the Organisation for Aid to Refugees (OPU). Co-operation on particular tasks: Gender Information Center NORA; Refugee Association of the Czech Republic (AU?R); Bridges for Human Rights (MLP); Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs - Department of Migration and Integration of Foreigners; Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports; Brno – Central Employment Office; Brno – District Employment Office, ant the Centre for Language Education at the Masaryk University in Brno.

Lessons learnt

Lesson 1 - We have realized that it is important to plan the project activities together with target group agents in order to better adress their needs and interest. Lesson 2 - There was an important finding that the co-operation with more NGO’s is important for the succesfull running of a project of such an extent. The co-operation on the project works rather well, as we are trying to reach the same goal for the same target group. Also being spread all around the republic, the project activities and their outcome provide us with representative data. Lesson 3 - The most important lesson we have learnt is that the whole compound of courses and social work activities we used really helps clients to better find their place in the new social and cultural environment. Nonetheless, complementary little things which might at first sight be meaningless (such as baby-sitting, payment of travel costs for clients) may play crucial role in migrants taking part in the project. Of course, the basic starting point is at least moderate knowledge of Czech. Without the language it is impossible to continue with other courses. The “Work in Czech” was a pilot project testing innovative methods of courses administering and social work and we had had no guarantee of a successful outcome, however we may already now say that the project has helped a lot of people. Scope: National