Croatian Red Cross – Social Inclusion Through Vocational Training (Unofficial translation)
Type of Information
Croatian Red Cross in partnership with Open University Zagreb, Croatian Law Centre, Centre for Social Welfare Zagreb, Centre for Social Welfare Kutina
Sanja Pupačić (Login to send email)
Contact Person Function
Head of Asylum and Migration Department
The Croatian Red Cross led a project to increase the social inclusion of beneficiaries of international protection. The project aimed at ensuring that beneficiaries of international protection without professional qualifications or without the possibility of proving them could still gain such qualifications. The project established an innovative, coordinated integration support system and an innovative approach to vocational training. It also provided free legal aid.
Issue/Challenge and Goal/Assumption
The goal of the project was to reduce social exclusion of beneficiaries of international protection through building and strengthening social competences and increasing chances for employment.
Various factors contribute to the social marginalisation of beneficiaries of international protection: lack of professional training; lack of support in integration; difficulty getting acknowledgement of previously acquired competencies and informal skills; need to learn the Croatian language; and difficulty accessing education, vocational training, and the labour market.
Other challenges include the lack of: financial resources to access professional training; information on the Croatian legal and social system, culture, and customs; and psychosocial support in dealing with challenges in the integration process. Additionally, many employers are not open to employing persons of other cultures.
How does it work
The project consisted of various interactive components. Beneficiaries of international protection participated in a series of workshops on life skills, through which they gained knowledge on issues related to job-seeking and self-employment. After careful evaluation of the interests of beneficiaries, eleven beneficiaries went through vocational training and practical work. Every beneficiary undergoing vocational training had a personal volunteer for help with language difficulties.
On the local level, centres for social care located in Zagreb and Kutina (where reception centres for asylum seekers are also located) held exchanges of good practices and situation analysis. They worked out a plan to address the needs of the beneficiaries.
Other components of the project included:
- Intercultural workshops for local community actors in Kutina on the subjects of tolerance and differences, intercultural communication, and work with unaccompanied minors
- The pilot project ‘Nannies’ to support parents during trainings
- Monthly free legal counseling for all beneficiaries
- An interactive mobile app for integration. The app explained step-by-step the necessary steps for beneficiaries to access their rights after getting international protection.
The project lasted for one year. The implemented activities empowered beneficiaries with respect to social skills, provided useful information, and attained labour market inclusion for beneficiaries. During this period, 25 beneficiaries received training on life skills. Eleven beneficiaries went through vocational training and practical work, of whom six obtained employment.
The local community received training in intercultural communication, which contributed to better understanding and tolerance in their daily work. The project strengthened communication and coordination between social centres. Through sharing experiences, the centres were able to make improvements in their work with beneficiaries. The interactive mobile app for integration established an innovative platform for providing important information to beneficiaries in the integration programme.
The project was evaluated as very useful and innovative by all partners and beneficiaries who took part.
Who will benefit?
The project directly benefited asylum seekers and beneficiaries of international protection. It also helped local community members through education and intercultural training.
Source of funding and Resources used
The project was funded by Ministry of Social Policy and Youth with a grant of 150,000 HRK (approximately 20,000 EUR).