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including hands-on report and interview with Leyla Erdoğan-Karabulut, the project director of the guidance concept “QualiMigra” in the IQ Network Hamburg

Qualifications for everyone

“QualiMigra” supports and counsels women with a migration background to integrate into the labour market.

Starting position/challenge

Despite good qualifications and high employment orientation, women with a migration background – especially female refugees – are evidently integrated into the labour market far less than men with a migration history. The reasons for this are numerous and range from a lack of specific counselling and qualification offers, to holes in the women’s knowledge of their own possibilities and prospects. Moreover, instances of discrimination experienced by women with a migration background make access to the labour market and their integration into it rather difficult. Due to the increase in female refugees due to family reunification, the need for action is even greater.

Implementation of the counselling concept

To remove barriers that women are faced with when searching for occupations that suit their respective qualifications is what the association “Educational and Advisory Caravan (BBK)” concerns itself with. This organisation was founded in 2001 by an existing umbrella initiative that was created by migrants. In the project “QualiMigra – Qualifications for everyone” in the IQ Network of Hamburg – NOBI, the muslim female staff members of the migrant organisation primarily offer counselling to women with a migration background, who are looking for an entry point into the labour market, and require support and guidance in doing so. In the framework of the counselling concept “QualiMigra”, the participants are considered holistically, respecting their individual needs, competences and resources.

The initial work done with the women is often successful by means of low-threshold offers, for example weekly breakfast meetings where information is shared with mothers, and includes childcare. The focus of the concept is advising the participants on the possibilities of accessing vocational education and training, on the recognition of non-German school and university. certificates along with advice on taking up employment. This takes place in the vicinities of the BBK (Educational and Advisory Caravan) in Hamburg, based upon the concept social spatial orientation. Furthermore, the highly qualified counsellors of “QualiMigra” function as support workers and intermediaries, by accompanying women with a migration background to help and guidance desks, to drop-in centers and to other regular institutions, as well as assisting with the writing of application documents. As ambassadors, the staff at BBK is able to gain access to the women, unlike other institutions that do not necessarily have this. For the target group, they serve as authentic role models in the framework of the guidance concept.

Conclusion

33.9 per cent of the participants had obtained a certificate of higher education and 72.9 per cent had been living in Germany for over eight years; this increased the women’s chances to be successfully integrated into the labour market. Through the counsel and support of the BBK, three quarters of the women who received guidance support, 85 women all together, were introduced into vocational qualification measures or directly entered a profession.

Addressees for transfer:

Guidance helpdesks, educational institutions and adult educational organisations

The QualiMigra Counselling Concept:

The project “QualiMigra – Qualifications for everyone” serves to counsel and advise women with a migration background, who are looking to get their foot in the door of the professional world and require guidance to do so. The counselling concept “QualiMigra” is based on an integral, individual approach, that entirely focuses on the competences, resources and needs of the participants. With regards to this, the key skills and qualifications of the staff are of particular importance. Intercultural competences and migration-specific knowledge in particular, stand in the foreground here, along with an empathetic, appreciative and open attitude towards the guidance-seeking women. Through their own migration-backgrounds, the female staff serve as authentic role models whom are approached by the participants with confidence and trust.

Project:

QualiMigra – Qualifications for everyone

Implementing Organisation:

Bildungs- und Beratungskarawane e.V.

Project Contact Information:

Leyla Erdoğan-Karabulut, Eulenkamp 1, 22049 Hamburg, Tel.: 040/466 32 726, info(at)bbkarawane.de