human development, social justice and sustainable social systems

Caritas Hellas social integration center

Helping people achieve a self-reliance and a dignified life through employment

Caritas Hellas is one of the first organisations to offer vocational training courses for migrants and refugees in Greece, in cooperation with official providers of these services. Also serving Greek nationals, the Centre for Social Integration and Employability (SIE Center) has helped 2,803 people in nearly two years. More that 560 of them report they have found a job afterwards.

This Caritas project is part of the Municipal Market of Kipseli, the first one in the country for social economy initiatives and located in one of the most multicultural areas of Athens.

The SIE Centre provides psychosocial support, Greek and English language classes, and financial and job counselling for adults.

The services focus on livelihood support as a path towards achieving self-reliance and an independent and dignified life.  All services have been designed based on a holistic approach with three different but interconnected elements:

  • one-to-one, and group, job counselling sessions,
  • information group sessions on livelihood and
  • vocational trainings with educational institutions and social enterprises.

The individual sessions are run by the job counsellor. They include: a brief interview with the person about his or her profile (e.g. education, professional experience), CV development, subscription to Caritas Hellas’ employability platform, and individual matching to employability opportunities.

Group sessions focus mainly on three topics; preparation for a job interview, development of soft skills, and education on job research. For example, during our job interview preparation sessions the candidate is trained, through an interactive process, to achieve a good self-presentation and avoid mistakes. Also, soft skills trainings have been conducted on topics such as: professional self-awareness, communication, decision making, problem-solving, time management, goal setting, teamwork building, emotions management, stress management, creativity and motivation.

Since October 2018, 457 persons have participated in 1281 one-to-one job counselling sessions. A total of 756 people have participated in group employability workshops and information sessions, and 102 people have completed 290 hours of vocational training courses. We are pleased to report that 493 persons have been connected to the job market and at least 20% of the people that have accessed the employability services have confirmed finding a job!

It is extremely valuable for us to know that the population assisted at the Center was given the opportunity to learn, be educated, and trained.

The operation of the Center is part of the Program “Social and Economic Integration of Refugees and Immigrants in Athens”, funded by Caritas Switzerland.

Our Job Clubs, vocational trainings and more

During the summer of 2019, the SIE Center launched an innovative activity of the job search process which consisted of group job search laboratories called “Job Clubs”, under the guidance of the job counsellor of the Center. These workshops take place every Friday for asylum seekers, recognised refugees and migrants, but also Greek nationals who are in search of work.

Emphasizing realistic expectations, the tools used for job searching were presented: job-related websites, social media, recruiting companies, employment agencies and of course personal networking. By accessing electronic media, participants can respond to interesting ads at the time and send their resumes online. Participants shared their questions and concerns about working in Greece and assessed their skills with a view to seeking targeted jobs.

The second pillar emphasizes the importance of information sessions on matters relevant to livelihood and employability in Greece. Those sessions address issues such as “Labor rights”, “Working in Greece: the framework of contracts and salaries”, “Social Benefits”, “Social Entrepreneurship”, “The necessary legal documents in Greece” and “Greek citizenship”. The information provided around the above-mentioned matters by the job counsellor, the financial advisor, and the lawyer of Caritas Hellas offered the participants a more complete idea of the living and working conditions in Greece.

Additionally, the SIE Centre has been running several vocational trainings for the last year. The results of the value chain analysis that Caritas Hellas had previously conducted in cooperation with the International Labour Organization (ITC-ILO), have formed the basis of the courses’ design, combining the skills of the targeted population to the entry points of the Greek labour market. Moreover, a needs’ assessment analysis and a local mapping of the area of Kipseli have been conducted and informed the trainings’ design. Eight vocational trainings have been organized in the following sectors: Technical reparation of computers, tablets, laptops and mobile phones, social media marketing, cooking and Greek and Mediterranean cuisine, tourism principles and tour guide services, and warehouse logistics.

By the end of the trainings, the participants had the opportunity to be linked to relevant recruitment companies. Indeed, all participants were brought in contact with specialised human resources companies in the sectors of hospitality management and tourism, warehouse management, and information technology. The participants have been connected to recruitment platforms and linked to potential employers exploring relevant opportunities.

Caritas Hellas couldn’t be prouder, seeing its effort bearing fruitful results through the great progress and achievements all those people have managed in their life here in Greece.

Alternative Text

author

Aspasia Zouliati

Local Coordinator
Center for Social Intergration and Employability
Caritas Hellas

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