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including hands-on report and interview with Chérine Ali, European Scaling Manager #TF4Women

France: #TF4women - Displaced Women in Tech

A free 6-months fellowship supports refugee women by providing certified training on new technologies with one-on-one mentoring and networking opportunities.

Starting position/challenge

Starting position/challenge Refugees are among the most vulnerable persons on the job market. In 2018, France welcomed 33.000 refugees. More than 61% of them did not have a job while 36% had a degree superior to the baccalaureate. Unemployment rate even reached 81% among refugee women.

Moreover, even if refugees find a job they will more likely hold underpaid or underqualified positions compared to other immigrants. Today, 60% of refugees with a diploma in the European Union are overqualified for the job they do. This rate is two times superior to nonrefugee persons living in the country and other immigrants.

There are multiple reasons for this issue affecting refugee women lack of knowledge of the French job market, little knowledge of French, family obligations, lack of network, difficulty to get the diploma recognized, lack of confidence, health condition, etc. Yet, the consequences are real: feeling of being undervalued, socioeconomic precarity, psychological impact.

On the other hand, the French tech industry struggles to recruit (e.g. developers, designers, data scientists, product managers, community managers, cybersecurity) and more and more seeks to attract female talents as well as to build diverse teams strong enough to develop their activities on the international tech market, in which frontiers disappear slowly. Thus, in order to connect talented refugee women with tech firms from host countries, we created #TF4Women.

Implementation

Refugee women do not lack competences and motivation, but they face several challenges specific to their status and gender. As such, the #TF4Women programme is dedicated to alleviate the weight of those challenges. For a period of six months, refugee women engage as fellows with the programme.

It consists of different elements: skills training, individual mentoring, networking and job dating. In addition to this combined approach, #TF4Women provides laptops and wifi boxes when needed, partners with quality language class providers and providers of psychosocial support, takes care of the costs of babysitting as well as for accommodation and transport for job interviews. This is how the fellows allocate a good amount of time to complete their online training and take advantage of meeting their mentors.

Also, the programme’s strength comes from the decision to partner almost exclusively with private sector tech companies and engage their employees as mentors, trainers or tandems. In fact, support from those companies has been constant and growing since 2018: more than 75% of partners have renewed their partnership with Techfugees in April 2020 with a growth in support provided, being financial and/or pro bono.

Target groups for Transfer:

Project coordinators, employers, integration policy-makers, educational institutions

#TF4Women by Techfugees in a nutshell:

Techfugees is an impact driven global organisation nurturing a sustainable ecosystem of tech solutions supporting the inclusion of displaced persons

Creators of the model:

Joséphine Goube, Ambre Cerny, Louise Brosset, https://techfugees.com/

References