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Creating jobs in rural areas


two allies working to train people

The Vogelsberg job centre
uses LEADER as an
instrument of animation.


"Without vocational training, you've got a fifty-fifty chance of being unemployed; with training, you've got one chance in five." This is written in bold on the introductory document for the training seminar that KORA organised in September 1998 for the young volunteer fire-fighters of the Vogelsberg. "Each village has a volunteer fire brigade," explains Harald Finke, who is in charge of the KORA project. "Together, these brigades form a very structured, almost 'military' network that has enabled us at little cost to make some 500 young people aware of the importance of professional guidance and training for job security."

A partnership of institutions devoted to socio-professional integration that was created in 1997, "KORA" (KOordinierungsstelle f+r Regionale Arbeitsmarktpolitik) is the local job centre for the Vogelsberg. With the slogan "Coordinating, cooperating and training for employment", KORA has four objectives:

  • to increase training opportunities in companies;

  • to improve the quality of learning and training;

  • to facilitate the qualification and socio-professional integration of certain marginalised groups in the job market (women, unskilled young people, etc.);

  • to help create local jobs.

In practical terms, KORA is involved in six main areas:

  • the mobilisation of local entrepreneurs - in 1998, the Vogelsberg district had 646 openings in companies for 1077 applicants seeking an apprenticeship or other form of training. KORA tries to fill in this gap with two actions that it is carrying out in cooperation with the "Chamber of trades": press campaigns and other operations urging local employers to create traineeships, and direct contact with some 1400 business owners in the area to persuade them to accept trainees. "The main obstacle is psychological," says Harald Finke, "the entrepreneur is afraid of being 'responsible for someone'".

  • a specific action for "young" businesses - these are companies that have made it through what are generally the first five crucial years of their life; they have therefore already proved their viability, but because they are relatively new they have not yet had traineeships. "In this situation, both the trainee and employer need assistance, because the employer also has no experience of training others," notes the head of KORA, which then participates in setting up the training programme with the parties concerned;

  • the placing of unskilled young people - acting as an interface here between the school and company, KORA designs comprehensive integration projects for unemployed young people or for students with learning difficulties identified by teachers. It is a four-step procedure: identification of professions in demand and of interest to the young people concerned; mobilisation of the institutional partners and the necessary funds; search for persons-resources to monitor the trainee's progress; identification of potential employers. In this way, between 1997 and 1999, jobs were found for 30 young people in several sectors of activity: trade, hotel and restaurant business, metallurgy and electronics;

  • the testing of new organisational models for learning - KORA has been concentrating on a system where several employers share the working time of the same trainee on a rotational basis. In 1998-99, 19 companies and 15 trainees used this method. In 1998, KORA introduced the first "agricultural training contract" in Hessen, with 3 farmers "sharing" the same apprentice;

  • professional guidance - this dimension primarily consists in organising regular "guidance workshops" for pupils over 14 years of age (the seminar with the young fire-fighters was part of this approach), "open doors", "traineeship markets" (to bring potential trainees in contact with companies offering traineeships), etc. Here, particular emphasis is placed on helping women become part of the work force, encouraging them especially to enter non-traditional professions;

  • research and counselling on training programmes - KORA does research on apprenticeships at the request of schools, businesses and people in search of specific vocational training programmes. For example, at the beginning of 1999, research was under way on educational programmes and assistance for young school drop-outs.
Subsidised by the Land of Hessen and the Vogelsberg District, the KORA job centre makes full use of LEADER: "there are natural synergies between our action and the Community Initiative for rural development," explains Harald Finke. "First of all, we are closely connected with the local action group - besides, we share the same offices; the fact that the LAG is a multisectoral partnership and promotes networking enables us to be in direct contact with all the socio-economic players in the Vogelsberg. Also, all of the LEADER group's animation work directly benefits KORA in its awareness and counselling activities, and vice versa. Lastly and most importantly, the direct support that the LAG gives to businesses, the assistance it lends for the LEADER projects themselves (over 100 between 1996 and 1998) have enabled us in 14 months to secure an additional 46 traineeships."
  • Contact:
    Harald Finke,
    LEADER GmbH.

source: LEADER Magazine n20 - Spring, 1999

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