including hands-on report and interview with Dr Neda Sheytanova, the former head of the “Integration of professionals in North Saarland (IFK)” project
Based on the ever increasing shortage of skilled workers and the assumption that highly skilled immigrants in Germany are often employed below their qualification during their individual integration process, the “Integration of professionals (IFK)” project, supported by the association “Caritasverband Schaumberg-Blies e.V.”, was developed in the IQ regional network Saarland. The project is aimed at enabling immigrants who usually have foreign academic qualifications to enter the appropriate professional career in Germany, thereby creating a win-win solution for society and immigrants.
During counselling and support for those who acquired a foreign university degree or vocational qualification, bureaucratic obstacles as well as language and cultural barriers became very clear within the framework of the project. In order to overcome these barriers and to enable the rapid labour market integration in their profession, so-called donor conferences are convened. These are carried out with the participation of all relevant labour market stakeholders. The case discussions in the donor conferences address the labour market integration of people with a foreign university degree or vocational qualification who may be at different stages in their integration process.
Implementation of the format
Tight-knit counselling, in terms of case management, was performed in the IFK project in consultation with the Saarland immigration services. Qualification profiles, plans and objectives were established together with the clients. Afterwards, appropriate measures in the areas of adaptation, advanced vocational training, language development and internships were acquired by the project managers for the clients. Furthermore, contacts were established with potential employers. The tailor-made implementations and, at times, very personal arrangements were coordinated and secured in individual discussions with the representatives of those institutions involved in the process of integration before, during and after the donor conferences.
The two-hour donor conferences with these stakeholders, which are held three times a year, ensure the development of tailor-made solutions for the counselling of certain groups of cases. This created a support network with representatives of institutions involved in the integration process. The donor conferences aimed at dovetailing and sustainably improving the coordination of existing support programmes for labour market integration. Another focus was the collaboration with employers in terms of internships and individual qualification opportunities for immigrant professionals. Several sector-specific donor conferences already took place.
The experiences prove that the establishment of a tight-knit support that acts both in the sense of counselling and of advocacy provides a structural improvement of the integration of foreign professionals. Donor conferences can make an important contribution to the integration path of these people, because they provide tailor-made strategies for the profession as a whole, which are more reliable than bilateral communication.
Format of the donor conferences:
Industry-specific case discussions to dovetail existing programmes that support labour market integration with credential recognition authorities, employment agencies, job centres, chambers, advanced vocational training institutions, immigration authorities and companies Addressees for transfer: Recognition counselling centres in Network IQ, relevant labour market stakeholders, especially from employment agencies and job centres, representatives of the chambers as well as industry and company representatives
Integration of professionals (IFK) Network IQ Saarland
Caritasverband Schaumberg-Blies e.V.
Dr phil. Elena Enda Kreutzer Hüttenbergstraße 42, 66538 Neunkirchen, Ph.: +49 (0)6821 / 920 90, e.kreutzer(at)caritas-nk.de