Opening ceremony  ©home & care
One of the cornerstones of the Home & Care project is the integration of people who, due to their life situation, their background, and their skills are often overlooked in society. After the web article focused on integration through vocational qualification, this web article will focus on other integrative aspects of the Home & Care project. This includes the integration of persons
•    with vocational qualifications that require state recognition
•    who are to be empowered by obtaining qualifications as well as
•    who need to be welcomed in the local neighborhood to enable socio-spatial integration.

Many companies, craft businesses, hospitals and care facilities depend on skilled foreign workers. The German government therefore created the so-called Recognition Act in 2012 as an instrument to secure the supply of skilled workers in Germany. Before the Recognition Act came into force, only a few skilled migrant workers had the opportunity to have their professional qualifications being assessed. With the Act, for the first time there were procedures that were as uniform and transparent as possible for all professions regulated under federal law. Hence, the equivalent of the foreign vocational qualification to the German qualification can be determined. In many professions, this is a prerequisite for working in that profession or becoming self-employed. This applies above all to regulated professions, such as trade professions requiring authorization, doctors, nurses and pharmacists. The law thus improves the chances for people who have acquired their professional qualifications abroad to be able to work in Germany in their former profession, thus enabling better labor market integration.

Even after the Skilled Workers Immigration Act came into force on March 1, 2020, the recognition procedure is generally a prerequisite for the immigration of skilled workers from third countries to Germany. This applies in particular to professionally qualified specialists and those who wish to work in regulated professions.

For the Home & Care project, this means that support must be provided in particular to those applicants who, due to their previous education, are in principle eligible for one of the pedagogical qualifications offered, but who, due to their migration background, require support in the recognition of their foreign certificates and vocational qualifications.

One lesson learned from the project is that the establishment of close cooperation with already existing counseling centers or information centers that provide support and information on recognition is indispensable for municipalities implementing such a project.

In addition, persons with a migration background are often not sufficiently informed about existing qualification opportunities in the pedagogical field. A lack of information about training paths, requirements and application procedures can lead to potentially suitable individuals not considering these opportunities or not knowing how to apply. The City of Landshut has learned that it needs to play a more active role in providing information about education and training opportunities.

Participants of the training  © home & care

"Among single parents who receive unemployment benefit II, a large proportion have no vocational qualification. A lack of vocational qualifications stands in the way of gainful employment that secures a livelihood. That's why it's important to open up qualification paths that single parents can also follow." (Erler, Wolfgang/Sterzing, Dorit 2005)

An essential component of the project is a pedagogical training concept tailored to the needs of the target group of single parents. In particular, innovative qualification paths are to be developed that can also be completed while working. In this way, the project aims to contribute to combatting the shortage of skilled workers in the pedagogical field. However, the project encountered a major challenge in its attempt to implement qualification paths tailored specifically to the needs of single parents:

Many of the interested women simply did not meet the admission requirements for one of the initially offered training courses for childcare workers and educators. Despite the large number of interested women, the number of those who were in principle eligible for training was therefore small for a long time.

One of the most important lessons from the project emerged from this situation: The question should not only be asked whether those interested in a pedagogical qualification meet the entry requirements, but also what can be done to support them to meet the entry requirements. This requires a sensitization of the institutions to the specific life situation of the individual with their very personal and individual history and the resulting needs.

In addition, intercultural opening processes can be promoted at municipal level. This includes the establishment of networks in which educational institutions, migrant organizations, public authorities, and other relevant actors work together to improve access to further training and education. By sharing best practices, developing integration strategies, and promoting intercultural dialogue, municipalities can contribute to the creation of an inclusive educational landscape. Raising awareness of cultural diversity is also important. This can be done, for example, through awareness-raising measures and training for educational institutions, teachers, and staff, which can help to break down stereotypes and prejudices and promote a non-discriminatory welcome of people with a migration background.

Another challenge encountered in the Home & Care project is the integration of the residents and their children in the residential complex among themselves as best as possible. The group of residents is characterized by different biographical origins and very different life stories. It is therefore necessary to provide space and opportunities in the residential complex so that the residents can come together and find points that connect them. Certain individual processing mechanisms or emotional phases that are experienced or felt by people in the same way in certain life situations have emerged as a link.

One learning experience from the project is that the age structure should not vary too much, so that the residents do not grow into generational or hierarchical roles, such as the role of a mother or head of the family in relation to other adult residents, which prevent them from learning on an equal footing.

Mutual support and understanding of each other's situations prevail. However, the biggest advantage is that no one is alone anymore. Especially the children always have someone to play with, like in a big family. Everyone looks out for each other, which of course can lead to quarrels. Therefore, an attempt was made to organize self-administration with so-called "house leaders". House rules with their own set of rules were created. Hopefully, this will also make it easier for the new residents to quickly integrate into the community if there is a contact person.

On the other hand, however, integration into the neighborhood has to happen so that it does not lead to a kind of stigmatization and the residents are only perceived as part of a marginal group in the social environment and not as neighbors. In the future, this can be done through an open offer of activities in the late afternoon and evening in the rooms on the first floor through, for example, exercise classes, discussion rounds or individual play times. Parties in the garden can also promote communication with the outside world, so that the community becomes larger and larger and further promotes mutual support, since many older people also live in the surrounding area.

About this resource

FISCHER Jörg, UIA-Expert
Landshut, Germany Small sized cities (50k > 250k)
About UIA
Urban Innovative Actions

The Urban Innovative Actions (UIA) is a European Union initiative that provided funding to urban areas across Europe to test new and unproven solutions to urban challenges. The initiative had a total ERDF budget of €372 million for 2014-2020.

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