Enhancing Trainee Motivation and Commitment
Direction Employment is a multi-stakeholder partnership funded by the EEA Grants and the Norway Grants Fund for Youth Employment aiming to unleash the potential of NEET youth, suffering from multiple discrimination (i.e. Roma, LGBTI, refugees, single mothers, disabled) by applying an experimental model for youth education, based on progressive pedagogy, integral and gamified methodologies. It will contribute to promoting the values of diversity and inclusion in the labour market concerning race/ethnicity, gender and gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, and global and digital citizenship.
Further work has been done to increase the impact of the Direction Employment project. This aims to enhance the motivation of the trainees who are the beneficiaries of the work done, to continue their participation in education as a life-long activity, and to support their commitment to finding employment in the digital sector. The “Enhancement Programme” entails a series of taught (or self-directed) sessions activities, that reinforce the messages of the Direction Employment model curriculum and the training that was delivered. The programme covers topics of self-awareness, confidence building, motivation and commitment, as well as providing information about the nature of the IT industry, the types of jobs available and the best approaches to gaining employment in the sector. The programme adds substantially to the sustainability and replicability of the Direction Employment model of education, and it complements the training for digital jobs, and empowers young trainees to find a suitable job and succeed in obtaining it. This is particularly important for young people who have been out of employment for some time and face some unique challenges. In addition, the programme makes a very suitable addition to the repertoire of the Mobile Smart Classroom tutors.
The Enhancement Programme is primarily intended to be a taught one, but it can be successfully engaged in by participants in a self-directed way. Easy to follow facilitator guidelines lay down how to approach it, exercises to work through with participants, and how to derive the most benefit form the programme.
The content is clearly described and structured in 3 progressive modules, leaving room for facilitators to add to it from their own resources or with reference to the literature list cited at the end of this document.
The rationale for the development of the Enhancement Programme sessions is based on research showing that improving knowledge about the nature of the tech sector and how to find a job and settle into the workforce, are key factors in getting young people into digital jobs. Additionally, helping young people to understand their own strengths, the promotion of their wellbeing and benefits to them as individuals, are stronger motivators than addressing the skills shortage or filling vacant posts. Ultimately their employability can be improved, by helping them to develop an ambitious growth mindset, open to new opportunities and challenges.
The main purpose of the programme is to motivate the young people to view education as a life-long learning process, and to get a job. The typical participant is young (19 – 29 years old) and not in education or employment. They lack confidence and job-seeking skills, as well as the ability to portray their strengths in a comprehensive and convincing way. The programme aims to develop self-confidence, professional competence and job finding success, such creating an honest and flattering CV and how to do a successful interview.
The Life-Long-Learning advocated by this Enhancement Programme focuses on watching out for learning opportunities for both technological upskilling and for personal development.
Participation in this programme will result in participants being able to:
Visualise a successful professional outcome, and set and prioritise goals to achieve it
Search and apply for jobs with self-confidence, with the knowledge that their abilities adequately qualify them for the role
Present a CV and interview performance that showcase their competence
The programme content is divided into the following 3 Modules:
Module 1 - Realistic Goal Setting
Module 2 - Tech Sector Jobs – what do they entail?
Module 3 - Applying for the job – and getting it
Sustainability Through Mobile Smart Classroom
The Mobile Smart Classroom is a solution proposed and delivered by the Direction Employment consortium to leverage the impact of the 4.0 DE Education Model and Training Curriculum for the benefit of a wider beneficiary group in each of the partner countries engaged in training delivery. The concept allows the model to be implemented in at least 2 additional regions in each country.
The Mobile Smart Classroom is put into operation by partners by recruiting potential trainers, assembling a toolkit of essential equipment and training the trainers in the 4.0 DE Education Model. The training of the trainers covers the rationale for this new approach to addressing youth employment in Europe, the scale of the problem being addressed, and the massive requirement for skilled ICT personnel in Europe. In addition, the curriculum and innovative training methodologies envisaged in Direction Employment and utilised in the core training in each country will be presented to the trainers. A key component of Direction Employment, and a differentiating characteristic, is its focus on diversity and inclusion, enabling vulnerable young people at risk of further social and economic exclusion, to advance and achieve good employment and career prospects. Job finding and career planning are also included in the training curriculum, and in the Training of Trainers programme.
The Mobile Smart Classroom is the key feature of the Direction Employment programme that ensures its sustainability, and replicability into the future. The sharing of the experiences of the first cohorts of trainers and programme implementation makes it a valuable addition to policy fulfilment across the beneficiary countries. Too many funded initiatives, while worthwhile and successful, are not exploited by other communities who could benefit from the research done and lessons learned in the early implementation of successful programmes like Direction Employment.
The training of additional trainers by the initial cohort of trained trainers is a proven strategy to exploit and replicate the successes of an innovative programme.
Delivering this additional round of training via a MOOC, supported by a widely available Moodle platform, is the most sustainable and cost-effective way to do it.
Špela Rihter, potential youth ambassador at the Annual Seminar 2022
My name is Špela Rihter, and this year I turned 27. I come from the Upper Savinja Valley, from the surroundings of Gornji Grad, but I have been living in Velenje for several years with my fiancé. I attended secondary school in Velenje, where I also obtained my current completed education of gastronomic-tourist technician.
Being unemployed, I noticed a publicity campaign for The Direction Employment project, which was to be run by Andragoški zavod Ljudska univerza Velenje via Facebook in September this year. The ad drew my attention immediately with the first impression, especially when I read that digital literacy and programming lectures were being held as part of this educational programme. I wrote an email to the contact person about this project, who very quickly and kindly answered all my questions. I decided to sign up.
I have joined this programme mainly because I feel that Direction Employment lectures cover many of these and skills that employers are looking for and are very desirable these days, but most schools, especially secondary schools, do not always cover them or not every individual has the opportunity to acquire them themselves. As far as lectures and lecturers are concerned, I am very pleasantly surprised. I have experienced a tremendous amount of effort, patience, and good will on my own firsthand. I do not have a single bad experience in the first two weeks of this project.
I hope I get to go to the annual conference in Brussels, meet other young people from other countries, and be an advocate for youth on labour markets
Direction Employment Trainer Induction Programme
Direction Employment, funded by the EEA and Norway Grants Fund for Youth Employment. It is an innovative training model for vulnerable young people, which aims to enhance their employability in competitive, high-technology industries.
To ensure that the Direction Employment model of youth education for IT roles in Europe, an induction training programme has been developed for trainers on the programme. This induction places the DE model in the context of youth unemployment which sits side by side with a significant IT skills shortage in Europe. In addition, many European countries are only starting on a journey of building diversity and inclusion into their education, social and employment practices. Direction Employment seeks to address this by including specific content on this topic in the training programme, and ensuring that trainers and collaborating employers are also informed about the human rights issues, and of the benefits of having a diverse and inclusive workforce.
A very successful training induction session was held for the Bulgarian trainers in March 2020. The value of this event was appreciated by all participants, and they left with a clear understanding of the potential of Direction Employment to impact the future of unemployed youth in Bulgaria, and the marginalised, discriminated against groups alike.
The Irish partner, DMC Metrix, described the huge shortages in IT skills in Europe and showed that the future demand for jobs in the IT sector would remain strong for the foreseeable future. This project comes at an ideal time to meet the needs of this shortage. To address youth unemployment in an inclusive manner, we can also improve the diversity and inclusion of the population as a whole. Reducing youth unemployment in Europe is a key objectives of the European Commission, and there is a particular imperative to support the group that we call NEET (neither in education, employment or training). The Bulgarian tutor, from training and software development company, Vola, explained that involving employers from an early stage to participate in curriculum design and encourage their continued involvement in training will ensure that graduates hit the road running with the right skills when they graduate. He also pointed out that it is important to select the right trainees, and in his experience, trainees who commit to long term training will put more effort in and are more likely to be successful. Vola’s target group is between 17 – 29 years old, and given the IT skills shortage, and the fact that IT sector jobs pay about twice the national average, they feel there will be a strong demand for places on his courses.All in all, the induction event was a success and bodes well for further such sessions in other partner countries, as they proceed with their training recruitment and delivery.
Youth Unemployment in Europe
Youth unemployment in Europe is a significant problem, not helped by the Covid-19 pandemic which endangered and eliminated many of the jobs typically held by young people.
The EEA and Norway Grants Fund for Youth Employment supported project, Direction Employment sets out a practical and sustainable programme to help. Tailored training for young people excluded from education or training can provide them with opportunities to gain employment, confidence and success.
Dublin Pride Month
Dublin Pride is proud to support Direction Employment, a youth inclusion and employment solution for Europe, piloted by Lithuania, Slovenia, Portugal, Italy, Bulgaria and Ireland.
Youth Unemployment worsening in Ireland
Youth unemployment worsening in Ireland, according to CSO figures
Learning from innovative programmes like Direction Employment can be recommended as a focused solution, providing sustainable and scalable opportunities for the young people of Ireland and the other Direction Employment partner countries, Italy, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Portugal and Lithuania.