Wednesday, February 27, 2008

e-skills and employability | An integrated approach is the way to go

Regardless of the target group, something is becoming very clear to me: NGOs working on e-skills and employability programs need to design integrated approaches that help their beneficiaries from A to Z in the employment path. Ad hoc programs that only tackle A or Z of this path are not as suitable for increasing employment opportunities for marginalized groups, regardless of the type of group and regardless of socio-economic context. I know that for many of us this is not new, but I still think that is valuable to remind ourselves and others of the importance of an integrated approach. It is not an easy approach, but it is possible.

From my experience in other research and from all the things I learned from the Foundation's work, I believe there are three building blocks that are crucial in employability programs:
  1. Training programs and workshops | to provide the tools that allow people to literally do their job.
  2. Employment services | to provide the links between employer and employee or between beneficiaries and credit and government institutions in case of entrepreneurial programs
  3. Counseling services | to provide career and legal advice to beneficiaries. One of the most innovative aspects of the Foundation's work on this front is the provision of legal advice to educate disabled people about their rights related to the labor market and otherwise.
I am not suggesting that "all" the e-skills and employability programs must have these components in order to succeed since context and locality matters. The government disposition, the business culture, social and economic factors are all necessary conditions that must be taken into account for designing these type of programs. However, I can't underscore enough the importance of an integrated approach that tackles different aspects of the employability path. This is definitely the way to go.

No comments: