Enhancing Diversity and fighting against Discrimination

IMG 5765On Thursday the 19th of November 2015, the final Di&Di's French steering committee, which took the form of a conference and debate, entitled: “Fighting against discrimination and promoting diversity in the labour market: Building inclusive strategies and concrete solutions for the professional integration of migrant populations » was held. It was organised by one of the French partners, Enda Europe, at the Maison des Metallos (Paris 75011) for the restitution of the final results of the European Di&Di Project.

The afternoon (see programme here) was launched with an introduction by Arielle Michelier, an Enda Europe board member, who described the organisation’s history and activity, particularly in relation to the themes of the day: discrimination and diversity.

Then, led by Simona Mattia (Migration and Diversity project manager, Enda Europe), it was time for the first half of the program: the results of the six European partners, the lessons learnt and the challenges ahead for the Di&Di approach.

The audience was first reminded of the general framework and aim of the project (to assist the integration of migrants, primarily young graduates and low-qualified women, in the employment sector). The Di&Di multi-actor participative approach IMG 5762is particularly innovative and sustainable because it takes into account the local context of each country with regards to immigration and employment and then adapts its format through action-research methods to deliver the most suitable project.

From the results, a few areas were identified as requiring more work: legal rights, the implicit rules of the labour market and the lack of networks. Nonetheless, most participants gained awareness about their rights, increased their self-confidence, valued their background and skills more and improved their knowledge of how to enter the job market, present themselves to the employer and avoid discrimination. Some, amongst themselves, even set up their own professional networks, like in Bulgaria. Overall the project was deemed a success.

After a short break, the second half of the program commenced: a round table with contributions from actors, from a range of fields, engaged in the fight against discrimination and the promotion of diversity.

IMG 5799The discussion was launched by Sonia Hamoudi, (CESE), who discussed her latest report on:” “The economic impact of diversity policies on company performance: the case of young graduates of foreign origin”, concerned with young French nationals of foreign origin. She stated that, rather than empty diversity policies, real opportunities needed to be offered to them, to avoid harming their self-esteem, leading to further negative repercussions. Building on this Rokhaya Ndiaye (APIMIG) explained that one of the biggest problems was the lack of knowledge about the implicit rules of the labour market. Babe Deme (Personal Development coach & ADEM) seconded this and emphasised that migrants tended to be overly loyal to their first employers and, hence, undervalued themselves. For these reasons, Fanny DRIGNY (ANI) underscored that early intervention was essential as suffering discrimination as a child can negatively impact how one grows as an adult. Additionally, Bernadette Piter (Discrim’Consulting) explained that existing legislation in France is fairly effective against discrimination, but that the main issue is that few people know their rights. After a lively discussion with audience about practical implementation, the reality of diversity policies and how to raise awareness amongst employers, the debate finally drew to a close.

Overall, the conference and discussion was a fruitful exchange of opinions, ideas and information that can hopefully continue to spread the message of Di&Di and be built on for a diverse employment sector, free from discrimination.

All along the development of the Di&Di project, national steering committees are organized by each partner in the five European countries. These committees allow to gather contributions of experts working in the field of social or economic integration (associations, local authorities, firms, ...). They are a fundamental resource to improve the experimentations protocols and contents, and to identify and disseminate the main achievements of the Di&Di.iecob

In Italy, IECOB hosted the second Steering Committee at Fondazione Garzanti (Forlì) on October 2nd, 2014.

The first part of the meeting was focused on the presentation of target groups and on the illustration of both the training and mentoring programs, in view of the experimentation sessions which are starting soon. The second part, instead, was characterized by an open and fruitful discussion where all participants gave good examples of best practices already experimented in the Municipality of Forlì:

 - The “Foreigners Council”: it aims to encourage foreigners’ participation to the public life of the city and to facilitate a dialogue within people with different religions. The President and Vice President are permanent members of the Municipality Council and they have right to speak.

 - The “Citizenship ceremony”: during Second World War the liberation of Forlì took place on November 9, 1944. In this date and each year Municipality of Forlì organizes a public event to meet all foreign citizens who took Italian citizenship during the year.

iecob. torneo.mundialitoTorneo Mundialito, a multicultural sporting project in Forlì

 

- The “Project Mundialito”: each year the Municipality of Forlì and “The Center for Peace” organise a football tournament where each team represents a different nationality of the city. This project was promoted with the aim to create a social event for all immigrants resident in the city. The football tournament is not the only activity but it is just the spin up event representing the occasion for debates about discrimination and integration issues. The soccer tournament is organised every year and  2014 was its 10th anniversary.

 - The“Bicycle tour”: Municipality of Forlì with the collaboration of several Associations organises a bike ride to discover the different places of worship in the city.

 

 

 

 

Enda Europe and iriv hosted the second steering committee meeting for Project Di&Di on Thursday, September 18 at the Cité de Métiers in Paris. During this meeting, representatives from several different organizations discussed the professional training and mentorship programs that will soon be launched, deliberating over matters ranging from theoretical underpinnings of these programs to practical measures necessary for success. To give an example of a successful program, the steering committee invited Marie-Laure Gibaud to speak on behalf of Histoire d'entrepreneurs, a website that helps immigrants become entrepreneurs.

The first steering committee of Di&Di project

On Thursday, April 24, Enda Europe and iriv hosted the first Di&Di steering committee at Cité de Métiers, in Paris. All along the meeting, many ideas were discussed, as professionals from various organisations, associations, and companies were informed about the aims and expected results of the project Di&Di.

The launch of the steering committee have offered the opportunity to share and exchange with the participants about their practices, ideas and propositions. Enda Europe and Iriv have then presented the Di&Di project : the European partnership, its objectives, its main activities and its development in France. They have also described the expected content of the training and the mentoring programs, in order to have the participants' feedback on them.

After this presentation, discussion was opened with the participants.

One of them proposed English as a common language for training and mentoring sessions, in order to facilitate exchanges among the professional networks in the five countries. Another reminded that the 'eight key competencies' at the European Level are already in English. Therefore, Mélodie Beaujeu and Bénédicte Halba indicated that it is in the spirit of the project Di & Di to keep diversity of languages ​​and adapt the programmes to each national context.

The following topics were also addressed:

  • The issue of diplomas recognition, and access to information on VAE (Validation of Acquired Experience)
  • The issue of access on information about the project Di&Di
  • How to create interaction and reciprocal helping between the two targeted groups of the project
  • The necessity to focus on firms' involvement in the project
  • Further explanations of the Di&Di approach : how to promote diversity starting from a non-discriminating hiring process and the identification of employment barriers faced by migrants (such as diploma recognition)

The first steering committee of Di&Di project The first steering committee of Di&Di project

Lifelong Learning Programme

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