Practices for Collaboration between Universities, Businesses and the Third Sector: ICT Formative Project for the Insertion of Youths at Risk of Social Exclusion
Even before the crisis, the employment situation of young people in Spain was more than three points below the European average (Navarrete, L. 2007). The economic downturn – and its specific characteristics in Spain – have worsened the situation and increased the vulnerability of young people, especially those with a lower level of education. In January 2014, unemployment peaked at 54.6% for those under 25 years (55.0% men and 54.2% women). The combination of age and lack of education puts this group at risk of social exclusion. School failure and the collapse of the construction industry in which a significant number of young people without educational qualifications worked are two of the main causes of the increase in situations of social exclusion in this age group. This has significantly increased the demand and pressure on Third Sector organisations dedicated to this collective.
While in Spain the Third Sector held up well in the early years of the crisis, it should be noted that 70% of their income comes from public funds. This source of funding has been drastically reduced (with falls of 20 to 30%) since 2012, due to budget cuts and the difficulty of receiving allocated funds. This, together with increased social needs, has left social entities in a difficult situation. The study by the Obra Social La Caixa (2013) notes that although there may be a medium-term economic recovery, in no event will the levels of funding prior to 2012 be achieved. This makes it imperative to seek financing alternatives to continue to meet social demands.
To overcome the situation of social exclusion among young people, the key element is training. But it should be stressed that this training must be appropriate to the needs of companies, so that, upon completion of the studies, the transition to the labour market is rapid and in consonance with the training received. The Plan of Digital Inclusion and Employability, approved in June 2013, states that, from the point of view of economic growth and employment, the digital economy brings with it an increased demand for qualified professionals, making the ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) sector a priority area in generating opportunities for social inclusion.
The present study highlights the procedure and results of a pilot project in which the Abat Oliba University, technology companies (Microsoft, Cisco and PUE) and the Third Sector (Trinijove Foundation) have joined together to develop a formative curriculum for Smart Cities that includes the global solutions of several technology manufacturers, suitable for young people with low educational profiles and social exclusion.
The main objective of the project is to design a training in ICT appropriate to young people in a situation of social exclusion without knowledge or experience in the sector, and ensure their insertion into the labour market in social enterprises and normal companies.
To ensure the success of both the training and the insertion, these will involve tutoring sessions with individual coaching and implosive group coaching in order to accompany the young person throughout the whole process and exponentially improve the chances of success. Tutoring and coaching will be conducted for six months, i.e. during training and the subsequent three months in order to facilitate the process of insertion into the labour market.
To evaluate both the feasibility and appropriateness of the procedure and the results of the same, qualitative methodology will be used. In-depth interviews will be combined with observational techniques and satisfaction surveys. The insertion into the labour market of each participant will also be monitored.
Although this is a small-scale project, since the training will be provided to twenty young people, the implications both practically and socially are really important, because:
1 – It involves the collaboration of university-industry-Third Sector in the development of a project that goes from designing the training to the subsequent job placement.
2 – It seeks to achieve at least 50% private funding.
3 – Training will be bound to employment insertion.
4 – Individual and group coaching will encourage the reintegration of the individual in the learning process, such that study and progress might continue throughout their careers.
In short, it seeks to encourage the involvement of businesses through their CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) programmes for the training of socially excluded young people in areas capable of generating short and medium term employment.
Tam metin:PDF (English)
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