EMPLOYMENT INITIATIVE – EUROPEAN COMMUNITY
Horizon Projects and Integration
(Re-integration of people with disabilities into employment or further education)
New opportunities for women projects
(Women – a valuable labour source so often marginalised)
THE TRINITY HORIZON PROJECT
(NEW OPPORTUNITIES FOR PSYCHOLOGICALLY DISABLED WOMEN)
January 2015. Copied this assignment to WordPress.com and up-dated same with links where appropriate. These were not available in 1997/98
NEW OPPORTUNITIES FOR WOMEN (“NOW”)
TRINITY HORIZON PROGRAMME AND CONCLUSION
Long-term unemployment and the battle against it is a major aspect of labour market policy. The extent and consequences of unemployment in Europe resulted in the White Paper ‘GROWTH, COMPETITIVENESS AND EMPLOYMENT’. In direct response to the White Paper, the Employment and Development of Human Resources Initiative (“EDHR”) came into existence. Its focus of attention was three marginalised groups, namely the disabled and disadvantaged, women, and young people. This project is concerned with the HORIZON and NEW OPPORTUNITIES FOR WOMEN “NOW” strands.
Equality is a basic principle of democracy and the EDHR Initiative aims to promote equality in Member States. Since inception, the European Union, through equality legislation e.g. equal pay, equal rights to access to employment, working conditions, vocational training, is involved in progressing this dimension. Gender differences are prevalent in the work environment and are reflected in the segregation of women and men into different types of work and in a concentration of women in part-time work. The EHDR Initiative aims at redressing this situation and places great importance on the attainment of educational qualifications and training.
Competition for jobs has intensified and economic activity has been restructured so the acquisition of skills and qualifications provide women, young people and the disabled with the basis for continuous employment in jobs which are more secure, better paid and have career development. If marginalised groups and particularly women do not receive the support to develop skills, education, qualifications, their ability to earn adequate wages is curtailed, the likelihood of unemployment is high and their position in the workplace weakened.
The final section of this project is concerned with the Trinity Horizon Project. I was one of the first 15 participants to be selected on this programme which deals with women who are marginalised on two counts. This project was promoted by Trinity College Dublin, Centre for Women Studies, under the heading “New Opportunities for Psychologically Disabled Women” which was established with an overall aim, to deliver training to women recovering from depression and facilitate their entry/re-entry to the workforce.
One of first 15 women selected for research by the first Trinity Horizon 1997/98 programme https://www.irishtimes.com/news/project-to-help-depression-1.113363
POSITIVE STEPS TO PROMOTING EMPLOYMENT MAINLY THROUGH THE DEVELOPMENT OF HUMAN RESOURCES:–
On 15th June 1994 the Commission of the European Communities introduced a framework Initiative on ‘Employment and Development of Human Resources’ which was a direct follow-up to the Commission’s White Paper on Growth, Competitiveness and Employment. The Initiative reflects the priority placed on employment in the White Papers on social policy and economic policy. The White Paper proposals resulted in Heads of State of Member States convening at the Council of Essen in December 1994 and the following 5 priorities were stated.
1. “Improving employment opportunities for the labour force by promoting investment in vocational training. To that end a key role falls to the acquisition of vocational qualifications, particularly by young people. As many people as possible must receive initial and further training which enables them through life-long learning to adapt to changes brought about by technological progress, in order to reduce the risk of losing their employment.
2. Increasing the employment-intensiveness of growth, in particular by:
- more flexible organisation of work in a way which fulfils both the wishes of employees and requirements of competition;
- a wage policy which encourages job-creating investments and in the present situation requires moderate wage agreements below increases in productivity;
- finally, the promotion of initiatives, particularly at regional and local level, that create jobs which take account of new requirements, for example, the environmental and social services spheres.
1. Reducing the non-wage labour costs extensively enough to ensure that there is a noticeable effect. Non-wage labour costs can only be resolved through a joint effort by the economic sector, trade unions and the political sphere.
2. Improving the effectiveness of labour market policy: the effectiveness of employment policy must be increased by avoiding practices which are detrimental to readiness to work and by moving from a passive to an active labour market policy. The individual incentive to continue seeking employment on the general labour market must remain. Particular account must be taken of this when working out income-support measures.
3. Improving measures to help groups which are particularly hard hit by unemployment. Particular efforts are necessary to help young people, especially school leavers who have virtually no qualifications, by offering them either employment or training.”
The European Council encouraged Member States to draft individual policies, taking account of the above priorities, and having regard to the specific features of their economic and social situation. To reinforce this approach a Pact of Confidence namely ‘Action for Employment in Europe’ was established. This effectively forms the basis of the Initiatives which are now in place and complete in 1999. These Initiatives are subsidised by the Community and funds are granted for measures which satisfy the guidelines stated in the policy document submitted by the Member State. In addition, other Community financial instruments may make an appropriate contribution to this Initiative.
The EDHR Initiative aims to contribute to the development of human resources and to improve the workings of the labour market with a view to enhancing employment growth, to promoting social solidarity in the European Union and to promoting equal opportunities for women on the labour market. The Initiative has three inter-related objectives to three inter-related strands:-
-to promote equal employment opportunities for women, in particular with regard to training measures, access to future-oriented occupations and to management position;
– to improve employment prospects of the disabled, and other disadvantaged groups;
– to promote labour market integration of young people, in particular those without basic qualifications or training;
All employment projects are financed jointly by the European Commission and the Member States with matching funding from public and/or private sources. Projects are generally 2 to 3 years’ duration. For Objective 1 regions i.e. those which are lagging behind in economic development, the Commission provides a maximum of 75% of the total financing and in all other cases a maximum of 50%.
The total contribution from the Structural Funds for the period 1994-1999 is estimated at 1.4 b. ECU
‘Employment-NOW’ 370 MECU
‘Employment-HORIZON’ 730 MECU
‘Employment-YOUTHSTART’ 300 MECU
1) Preparation of Proposal:-
The cross-fertilisation of ideas and experiences promoted within each strand is intended to create positive benefits. Member States are under the obligation to ensure that a well-balanced set of measures is provided in their proposals. The Initiative is to be a catalyst for Community-wide innovation as well as for the organised transfer of expertise and the dissemination of good practice between Member States. Member State promoters, when drafting their proposals, need to consider the following criteria:-
- the transnationality dimension, giving priority to transnational exchange, co-operation and dissemination of information;
- it must be innovative improving the efficiency of training and employment systems and services and the promotion of transparency of qualifications;
- encourage a more active and co-ordinated approach at local level to obtain a greater employment impact. Local and regional authorities, economic and Social Partners and voluntary bodies should be encouraged to liaise.
- reinforce Community policies as well as Community programmes especially in the field of human resources and labour market integration;
- provide for the necessary flexibility to accommodate needs which cannot be foreseen at the first planning stage, and which call for a special effort from the Community.
Within 4 months of the publication of the “Communication”, Member States are invited to present proposals which take the format of an operational programme. During the preparation of proposals, Member States are invited to discuss with the Commission the main priorities and eligible measures and the mechanisms of implementation. Proposals must include a timetable, criteria and procedures for implementation, monitoring and assessment. A single Monitoring Committee within each Member State will be responsible for the initiative as a whole. A special support structure (for HORIZON, the National Rehabilitation of Ireland; for NOW, the National Women’s Council of Ireland) is appointed under the various strands of the Initiative. The national authorities concerned with this Initiative will make reciprocal arrangements with those concerned with other related Community programmes to ensure that, in the selection of the projects, there is the maximum complementarity and the minimum overlap between these programmes.
During and at the end of the planning period the Commission shall evaluate, in partnership with the Member States, the results of the programmes submitted. In order to carry out this evaluation the Commission will use the objectives specified by member States in their proposals as the benchmark against which to assess progress. As a function the desired objectives and the implemented measures of this evaluation will provide data related to the target groups including the final beneficiaries. The European Parliament, the Management Committee on the Community Initiatives and the Monitoring Committee within each state, shall be informed of the results of such evaluation measures and the actions taken in response to them.
This project is concerned with two strands, namely HORIZON and NEW OPPORTUNITIES FOR WOMEN and each will be dealt with separately:-
(Objective: To Improve Employment Prospects of the
Disabled and Disadvantaged)
“ONE EUROPEAN IN 10 HAS A DISABILITY”
The rate of unemployment is 3 times higher than average
Unemployment is likely to be for longer periods
The specific aim of the Horizon strand is to:-
- upgrade the employment potential of society’s most vulnerable members;
- develop new strategies for training, guidance and job creation responding to the differential needs of the various social groups requiring special assistance.
The emergence of a two-track society is apparent. Certain social groups need special assistance to improve their position on the labour market. The Horizon strand is to promote, with an important emphasis on the transnational dimension, measures to improve access to the labour market for those who find themselves excluded from it or those at risk of being excluded. It is aimed at those people who are not merely unemployed but who face severe obstacles to their integration due to the degree of their marginalisation. This group includes, on the one hand, the disabled, and, on the other, the disadvantaged, in particular, people at high-risk, including drug addicts and marginalised persons, immigrants, refugees, itinerants, isolated people, single-parent families, the homeless, prisoners and ex-prisoners. Increasingly, some of the long term unemployed will fall into this group. Priority under this strand must be given to actions in favour of disabled people in particular with regard to the level of funding.
Horizon includes measures, among others, aimed at laying the ground-work for job placement in sectors where prospects for employment-intensive growth appear high. It also focuses on activities that tackle the barriers which keep disabled people and other disadvantaged groups out of work. Priority is given to measures likely to promote employability through:
- novel systems of guidance, training, counselling and employment to adapt the work place to new technologies, develop training and learning flexibility, create community infrastructure in urban areas and set up reception, guidance and employment centres;
- training with appropriate guidance, placement and support programmes, with a view to upgrading basic skills as a first step towards functional and social rehabilitation;
- training of experts and human resource personnel in areas related to workplace reorganisation and adaptation;
- assistance to job creation, based on innovative approaches to work organisation, reduction of labour costs for employers, supported employment places, new employment schemes, assisting the transition from a protected environment and new public-private partnerships.
- increased awareness aimed at informing the disabled and disadvantaged groups on employment and training opportunities, and to sensitise the general public and employers to the target groups’ employment potential.
The recognition that “disabled” or “disadvantaged” people can be of benefit to our society is very important. Most people have something to offer but often the benefit they can contribute needs to be identified and worked on and it is the recognition of this which is responsible for the positive results received through the HORIZON Initiative. The following are just some examples of success projects and partnerships under the HORIZON strand:-
- training of visually impaired people in information technologies with adapted equipment
- training of trainers in sign language and development of sign language dictionary
vocational assessment and guidance of people with traumatic brain injury (Headway)
- training of physically disabled in teleworking
- development of a transnational qualification for long-term unemployed, drug addicts and migrants, in the field of experimental design of playgrounds/rooms for children.
- qualification for ex-drug users to become accompanying aid persons for drug addicts
- creation of advice centres for refugees from Yugoslavia
An interesting example is the Greencaps Co-operative. This non-profit making organisation provides employment for the disabled and long-term unemployed from the Ballymun area of Dublin. ESF support has allowed the Greencaps co-operative to develop a partnership between the Ballymun job centre and the airport company, Aer Rianta, which offers placement opportunities for the disabled people at Dublin Airport. Jobs range from baggage portering, queue management, and support for disabled passengers, to helping with the new left luggage facility for passengers. This project helps people threatened by exclusion to develop the necessary skills and qualifications to gain access to the Labour market.
For both the disabled and disadvantaged, the intensive individual guidance is of the utmost importance to enable them to move from sheltered employment into mainstream employment or even directly into paid employment. HORIZON promoters come from many areas including local and regional administrations; NGO’s of handicapped people and other disadvantaged groups; solidarity organisations for migrants, refugees and ethnic minorities; functional rehabilitation centres; the social partners; firms; local economic development agencies; training, guidance and employment centres; universities; research centres and other educational institutions. The first call for project proposals was launched in 1995 and, to date, Member States have selected some 635 projects to participate in the first phase of projects. In 1997 the second phase of projects commenced and by the end of the programme in 1999, over 1200 projects throughout the Union will have explored new pathways for integrating disabled people into employment.
Refer: Appendix I for examples of Horizon Projects
NEW OPPORTUNITIES FOR WOMEN “NOW”
32% participant rate by women in labour force (2nd lowest in Europe).
European average = 42%
25% of workers deemed “low paid”, 61% of these are women
25% of women fall into “full-time” category
Average female earnings are 67% of male earnings.
70% part-time workers are female.
Women experience high rates of unemployment and account for a disproportionately large percentage of those in precarious, poorly paid or part-time employment and remain under-represented at decision making levels in the working world. This strand aims to help to reduce unemployment among women and to improve the position of those already in the workforce, through the promotion of equal employment opportunities. It encourages innovative strategies to respond to the changes in work and changing job requirements. The transnational dimension of the initiative will permit a comparison of different experiences as well as the transfer of knowledge, experience and co-operation. It will also reinforce the development of innovative actions in favour of women, especially in Objective 1 areas i.e. less favoured regions, and in sectors where such actions are at present less developed. To ensure a maximum multiplier effect, particular attention is given to the training of trainers as well as the structure of training programmes, methodologies and tools.
NOW (FIRST PROGRAMME 1991 TO 1994)
The first programme operated in all countries of the European Union during this period. This was the first European Social Fund initiative aimed specifically at WOMEN, with an allocated budget for labour market actions. The NOW programme was established to counteract this situation of inequality. The aim was to establish pilot projects which would demonstrate new ways of integrating and involving women in various labour market measures i.e. employment, enterprise, education and training. The Department of Enterprise and Employment is the national delegated authority responsible for all matters relating to the European Social Fund in Ireland. The Irish NOW co-ordinator is based in the in this Department. The Operational Programme for NOW in line with the programme priorities and objectives as outlined by the European Commission is the responsibility of the Department and it is the Department of Enterprise and Employment which makes the decision as to which projects are selected for participating in the programme and for the amount of approved finance to project promoters. The National Women’s Council of Ireland provides the National Support Structure for the implementation of the NOW Operational Programme.
FIRST NOW PROGRAMME
May 1992 – 15 projects selected
April 1993 – 18 projects selected
These projects covered a broad spectrum and adhered to the following themes:-
- New technology and diversification
Introductions and longer duration programmes exposing women to the growing
electronics and engineering industry.
- Reconciliation of Work and Family Life (Childcare)
Lack of childcare facilities in Ireland is a major deterrent to women engaging in the workforce.
This measure introduced vocational training in childcare, piloting different models of childcare provision and setting up childcare enterprises.
- Advice and Guidance Services
The lack of information is a major barrier for women. Projects funded under this measure ensure that women have access to information and advice on vocational training and employment opportunity. Guidance services are also provided for women.
- Upgrading of Skills
* under-employed women
* those facing unemployment
Objective: technical training for women with non technical backgrounds.
Preliminary vocational training provided to women to enable them to access mainstream training courses
- Enterprise Development
Assistance to women to encourage them to establish their own businesses.
From the innovative perspective, much attention was given to new working methods and approaches. The outcome was a development of a whole range of alliances being forged between different providers and sectors. Some examples include:-
- The Women and Enterprise Network promoted by the Parents Alone Resource Centre https://dorasbui.ie/ This created a modular programme which focused in a creative and flexible way on the development of enterprise and childcare in the Coolock, North Dublin.
- Wallaroo https://wallarooplayschoolcork.com/ and University College Cork
- This established a joint childcare project.
Another area tackled was the under representation of women in certain careers. A major disadvantage lay in the subjects selected by girls at Leaving Certificate level (Chemistry, Physics were rarely included in their subject choice). It was identified that work needed to be carried out with girls so that when making the selection of subjects for Leaving Certificate, science and technology based subjects could be chosen. Two technology colleges in Dublin and Cork were pro-active and introduced ‘taster’ courses in science and technology. The success was noteworthy:-
Cork: 900 girls participated.
Outcome: A number of schools had to change their Leaving Certificate timetable to
accommodate girls opting for science subjects.
THE SECOND NOW PROGRAMME (1995 TO 1999):-
This is the follow-on to the first programme. The guidelines as stated earlier for the Employment and Development of Human Resources Initiative (which includes NOW) were published by the European Commission in the Official Journal of the European Union on 1st July 1994. It was again re-stated that the overall objective of Employment NOW in Ireland is to increase the participation and integration of women in the labour market through the development of transnational and innovative pilot actions. Based on the evaluation of the first NOW programme, the objectives were extended to include some of the following:-
- further integration of women into vocational training, employment and business creation
- addressing the issue of segregation of women in employment and to secure and improve the status of employment in sectors in the process of industrial and organisational change
- ensuring that within public and private organisations, procedures, practices and personnel are gender inclusive in their operations.
- developing new structures and practices in the labour market that facilitate the reconciliation between family responsibilities and working life.
strengthening social cohesion between women living in disadvantaged and marginalised communities.
- Involvement of community and voluntary groups in the design and delivery of labour market services.
The Department of Enterprise and Employment received 205 applications for Employment NOW. Of this total, 41 projects were approved technical assistance money to further develop and elaborate upon their proposed actions. Following the project development phase, 39 projects have been approved to enter the Operational phase of the Employment NOW Strand 1996-1997.
Experiences of projects within the first NOW programme would certainly suggest that the formation of a dedicated NOW committee within sponsoring organisations and groups, works to the advantage of both the NOW project and the sponsor organisation. Emphasis is placed on the importance of engaging the support of senior management within sponsoring organisations. It is the responsibility of the paid project teams to implement and follow through on the policies and programmes agreed. Some leaders have considerable responsibility covering areas from finance, staff, day-to-day issues while others can rely on others in the organisation. For the effective running of a project an in-depth understanding of the subject/thematic area e.g. childcare, training, financial control and management, communications and interpersonal abilities, negotiating skills, staff management, public relations and report writing is necessary. This makes it more appropriate to establish a project team. The primary function of the Project leader is to co-ordinate, guide and inspire his/her team.
Training and Accreditation:-
This receives a high priority within each NOW project. A primary focus of the projects is the acquisition of new skills and knowledge. Many courses are accredited during the NOW programmes. Accrediting organisations include the Department of Social Policy and Social Work in UCD, the Extra Mural Department of St. Patrick’s College Maynooth, City and Guilds and the RSA. There is a general recognition of the importance of accreditation and its importance to women once the NOW programme is finished. Changes are made to the traditional system of accreditation based on formal qualifications. New dimensions include accreditation based on proven competence, coherence and progression routes between different levels of qualification; flexibility in delivery systems (modular training, part-time and full-time courses).
A primary intention of the NOW programme is that benefits are not merely accrued by participants, trainers and organisers. There is a need for dissemination of material and value is placed on all appraisals. The following are examples of some of the publications now available:-
- NOW Childcare projects – ‘Making their Mark’,
- Aontas Report on Accreditation published with the Combat Poverty Agency – ‘Can you Credit it’,
- Evaluation Report by Parents Alone Resource Centre
- Outdoors Now Project produced by the National Youth Council.
Resource materials are also available. These resources are of direct transferable benefit and will be ongoing and durable reminders of the work or NOW projects. The FAS publication encouraging women to link into available labour market measures, the Dublin Institute of Technology (Bolton Street) series of science related videos for use in primary schools, the Aontas Day-Time Pack (information on all aspects of setting up and managing daytime education groups), all represent an impressive array of resource and training materials which will be of ongoing and long-term benefit. Different organisations are trying to adapt existing NOW models to their own specifications and requirements. The Wallaroo childcare training model is replicated in Wexford. The Regional Technical Colleges in Athlone, Dundalk and Limerick have linked up with the Dublin Institute of Technology in respect of the work which it is doing with women interested in accessing technology related courses.
NOW projects, in general, provide childcare and training allowances. The provision of childcare facilities is innovative as it allows women to participate freely and with enthusiasm in the courses and opportunities available. Attendance on NOW courses is an ideal route for women to re-enter the workforce. As well as providing women with training, classes dealing with self-esteem enhancement and awareness provide the advantage of making women alert to their ‘dependent’ status in Irish society and how best to change it. Women’s dependency mode and exclusion from social welfare due to their non-employed status militates against women’s entry and re-integration into the workforce. The problem is further compounded by factors which include lack of affordable childcare, the absence of tax relief for working parents, the ineligibility of not being on the live register which in turn prevents them from registering on mainstream courses. By making women aware of their status, it enables them to redress the inequality that exists. Women are an under estimated force and are becoming increasingly active both within employment and in local initiatives concerned with development and empowerment. Programmes like NOW and HORIZON provide women and people with disabilities with options which ultimately may lead them into mainstream employment. Women’s response is positive to participate. NOW has raised women’s expectations in terms of labour market participation on their own terms, while at the same time enabling them to make a valuable contribution to both social and economic development.
Refer: Appendix II for examples of NOW projects.
TRINITY HORIZON PROJECT
CENTRE FOR WOMEN’S STUDIES
TRINITY COLLEGE DUBLIN
- Estimated: 200,000 people (1 in 20 workers) suffer from depression
- Indications are: Higher prevalence in women
Almost 20% of Horizon projects indicate that they target people suffering from mental illness (Germany and Spain place pronounced emphasis on promoting employment for this target group)
Disabled women are particularly vulnerable. Only 2% of projects address this specific group
An estimated 200,000 people in Ireland suffer from depression and women are particularly affected. Studies indicate that work affords protection against depression for women and with this in mind the Trinity Horizon Project was established. As well as the usual employment hurdles, people recovering from depression have to contend with feelings of low self-esteem and anxiety which make job interviews and job search even more threatening and distressing than for other unemployed groups. This Project is a training and research programme funded under the Horizon (Disabled) Programme of the European Union’s Human Resources Initiative https://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-90-1084_en.htm and run by the Centre for Women’s Studies, Trinity College, in collaboration with AWARE https://www.aware.ie/help/education/aware-monthly-lectures/. The support structure for this programme is the National Rehabilitation Board (became National Disability Authority 2000 https://www.inis.gov.ie/en/JELR/NDA%20-%204.pdf/…/NDA%20-%204.pdf. What makes it particularly interesting in the context of my project is that its target group are women who are marginalised on two fronts. I was selected as one of the fifteen participants of the “First Trinity Horizon Project Group” and having had this opportunity presented to me, I wish to highlight my experience so that others can be made aware of opportunities that are available.
A training programme, consisting of two three-month periods was established and the first term commenced in October 1996. It was a four day week, with four and half hours classes each day. The following modules were included in the programme:-
• Women and Society
• Creative Writing
• Group Therapy
• Information Technology
• Personal Development
• Women and Health
• Physical Activity
The Co-Project Director, a psychologist, met with each participant every two weeks. A major objective of this course was not the acquisition of training for the participants but the need to attain coping skills and this ensured a team of trainers alert to the underlying issue of depression. Participants were requested to complete daily mood charts and submit these to the course organisers for each week. Interviews and assessments were undertaken at the commencement of the course, at the end of the first term and two months after the completion of the 2nd term.
The first part of the programme was broadly based with the intention of engaging the participants in the process. The aim was to have it as “stress free” as possible and a major objective was to give participants a wider perspective on their situation and to open up choices and facilitate optimism-based behaviour at a later stage. During the 2nd period, the focus changed and two new topics were introduced, namely career planning and job-search techniques. An interesting dimension to the programme was the attendance of the 15 participants at the Trans-national Day held at Trinity College in February 1997. The 15 participants had exposure to the Trans-nationality feature of the project which has links with the Expertise Centre for Women and Management, Hogeschool van Amsterdam https://www.hva.nl/and the Working Well Trust, London https://www.workingwell-trust.co.uk/. Representatives from the Netherlands, Italy and Greece made presentations about the programmes they organised in their respective countries – the common feature being women and their return to work. The exchange of information was interesting and enlightening and some of the following points were of particular significance:-
- of the sample group, 81% of jobs were sourced from the non-profit centre
- education is a major source of employment
- temporary/part-time work is what is mostly available for those re-entering the work environment
- networking and traineeship are the most effective methods of seeking employment
For marginalised women and particularly those who have suffered from depression, it is necessary to be made aware of changes in techniques in regard to seeking employment. For many people, employment is based on the concept of a decade ago i.e. the job for life, the pension, employment via agencies and not by recommendation “pull”. Evolution results in change so mind-frames need to change also and it is good to hear from others (particularly from members of the EU) as to what is acceptable now.
The conclusion of the second term was traumatic for certain participants. All groups have to end and the feeling for some was that they were not ready yet to move out and compete in a working environment. However, it is necessary to realise that the Trinity Horizon Project has an overall objective of re-employment but not necessarily before one is capable to undertake that option. It is a beginning and further steps are now available to the participants. The Horizon project enables us to register with the National Rehabilitation Board and they provide courses to assist people with disabilities to return to the workforce. An additional advantage of registration with the NRB, is that options exist in relation to FAS employment schemes and courses. FAS replaced by Solas. https://www1.solas.ie/
The Trinity Horizon Co-ordinators organised for FAS personnel to make a presentation of what is on offer at their local offices and this introduction will no doubt assist the participants as and when they feel able to move forward. FAS opens up a number of areas for us and in my opinion the Community Employment option has the potential to provide the next step up the rung of the ladder to satisfactory employment. The objective of this scheme is to provide temporary employment and individual training for the long-term unemployed and the socially excluded. Funding is provided by FAS in respect of Community Employment projects which may be sponsored by public bodies or voluntary organisations. Projects must respond to an identifiable community need and there must be some development accruing to the participant from the work. The expenditure on the Community Employment measure for the 1994-1999 period is projected to be £65.73 mn in EU aid matched by £65.73 mn from the Exchequer. For women who are marginalised and who need support structures, these local schemes can be of particular benefit. For women over the age of 35, they can remain in community employment for a three year period and although the remuneration is low, the 39 hours every two weeks, the training allowances, the liaison with the Employment Officer on a weekly basis make it an attractive alternative to returning to the situation which more than likely was a large contributing factor to bringing about the illness in the first instance.
FAS provide Employment Service Offices in 51 locations throughout Ireland. It offers employers a free recruitment service. A computerised service is in place which can link the requirements of employers with the qualifications of job seekers. The Employment Services Offices also provide information on all FAS services – training, employment, self-employment, co-operatives etc. FAS offices also run CV clinics to assist job-seekers. FAS are also involved in the Local Development Programme which recognises the importance of a local dimension to enterprise and employment creation and the importance of developing capabilities of local communities to contribute to tackling unemployment and pursuing local development. The Local Development Programme is implemented through the Community Employment, Enterprise Partnership Boards and, in designated disadvantaged areas, and Area Partnership companies. This is an area open to the Trinity Horizon participants to explore and again is a means of adding to skills and capabilities within a somewhat cushioned environment.
The third part of the programme covered a two month period and consisted of lectures one day a week. Three modules were continued on a rotational basis namely personal development, creative writing and drama. Appointments with the psychologist also continued for the period. This part of the programme provided support and consolidated the experiences of the previous two phases. Although the numbers attending were less, a core still existed who backed each other providing a moral support system which ultimately I feel will pay dividends. To date, all members remain in contact with each other and groups meet for coffee in Bewley’s, for theatre and cultural pursuits.
It is important to note that in addition to the delivery of a training programme, research was carried out on a continuous basis on the characteristics and needs of the target group as an input to the development of the training programme. Research was also carried out to evaluate the effectiveness of the training programme. A randomly selected control group with similar characteristics were selected to enable this research. On the basis of the training and research carried out in this HORIZON project, it is hoped to develop a proto-type programme which can be replicated in other parts of Ireland as well as Europe. A second group commenced the programme in April and no doubt the experience of the project leaders and the research material has led to refinements in this next project.
Solidarity sums it up for me. A ship in a storm with 15 people on board, all of whom had and were in the process of experiencing major life events and who suffered from depression. Nobody knew when the ship would reach dry dock or even if it would. Nor did we know that if it did, would all of us still be on board. The strength of the programme was the sense of obligation that each participant had. To clutch the straw was necessary. It may have been a difficult undertaking but then if one didn’t what would be the outcome – a return to an abyss of nothingness and an exclusion from the friendships which were formed and made during turbulent emotional times. These friendships gave people a sense of obligation to others on the programme and to those who may benefit in the future through similar projects.
The broad spectrum and non-stress related ethos of the first phase gradually teased out hidden talents in certain people. Creativeness played a strong part and the Newsletter produced by the 15 participants at the conclusion of the 2nd module indicates just how much hidden talent existed and was suppressed by low self-esteem and diminished self-confidence. Refer Appendix 3. This poem is written by an exceptional woman who cared for her child, a child who died approaching the end of the first decade of her life and is just one sample of the creativeness which is concealed.
Each module represented different things to different people. To me, many closed doors were opened up. I pre-judged the Drama module with the flippant comment – “Why Drama”, it bears no relevance to returning to the workforce. For me drama proved to be one of the most enlightening experiences. Inhibition, shyness, lack of confidence, poor self portrayal are characteristics commonly found in people suffering from or recovering from depression. The breaking down of these barriers within our group by participation in exercises such as playing “Tig and Tag”, noughts and crosses, acting out plays written on the spur of the moment, in my opinion, proved to be ideal ways of breaking down barriers which inhibit participation in society. It led to an openness and acceptance of each other and removed childhood fears of others “laughing at you” because you did something “stupid”. An added advantage in encouraging people to participate in drama exercises was that it opened up confidence potential to engage in role playing. Role playing has two important aspects to it, firstly, it is a useful means of preparing for a situation which causes you fear and secondly role playing can be skilfully used within an interview situation along with other basic techniques. Drama re-iterated creative skills that were present in certain people, writings from creative English classes could be acted out in drama classes.
Personal development resulted in people analysing situations, developing strategies, establishing boundaries and ultimately gaining a value in their person. The one person to gain employment immediately refers constantly to the benefits derived from this module.
To have had the privilege of Monica Barnes, TD, for two and half hours each Monday was again invigorating. A mind and a capability to impart knowledge highlighted all kinds of issues which alerted us more to the Society around us. The fact that the election occurred at the conclusion of our course was a great benefit. Monica was seeking assistance with her campaign and who better to assist but certain members of our group. They did participate and the reward for them is the satisfaction that she won her seat. Hopefully, one of the participants will find employment with Monica.
As previously stated the aim of the project was not training but the acquisition of coping skills, however, we did have the facility of the computer room at Trinity College Dublin and this provided enough tuition to alert people to the technological advances made and provided them with sufficient confidence to undertake further tuition at a later time.
The Trinity Horizon project provided us with options. Some participants had the confidence to apply for Third Level Education, and one was accepted. Others, as mentioned previously, participated in Monica Barnes election campaign, another gained employment in the Social Work Department of the Eastern Health Board, one woman received a job in her local school via the Community Employment option, another person is about to attend the FAS Business Appraisal Programme – she is looking at the option of setting up her own mini-bus business. Overall, progress is good. People are aware of what is available to them and will explore the opportunities at a later time.
The European Union’s recognition of untapped potential employment sources, the necessity to break the dependency mode of marginalised groups, the need to address the issue of inequality in relation to women and work, all contributed to the progressive set of policies implemented by Member States over the eight year period 1991 to 1999. The Employment and Development of Human Resources Initiative in 1994 established the strands which form the structure for the implementation of policies to deal with people who are marginalised. In this project I have focused on the New Opportunities for Women and HORIZON strands. Of significant importance, is the compliance of projects with the criteria of trans-nationality, the multiplier effect and the innovation requirement. The aim is to avoid replication and through central monitoring to develop projects along the lines of the original models with the necessary modifications, to enhance the prospects of marginalised people into employment. The Trinity Horizon project is such a proto-type. It is innovative in that it is dealing with women who suffer from depression and as previously stated, women who are marginalised on two counts. The findings of the Second Commission of the Status of Women make the following statement:-
“There are strong grounds for believing that the incidence of depression among women is a direct consequence of social and environmental factors related to the lesser financial and social status of women, isolation and inadequacies in the built environment”.
If this is true and the Trinity Horizon project proves successful, then the implications for women in the European context is significant. The availability of courses, training programmes via NOW, HORIZON, YOUTHSTART, FAS, the engagement in community employment, all lead to an awareness which encourages people to move from dependency to being independent. Women through exposure to such organisations as the National Women’s Council of Ireland become aware and capable of fighting for their rights. Prior to the HORIZON course, I had little awareness of the true vulnerability of women and now can appreciate the “flier” given out by the National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI) https://www.nwci.ie/ during the 1997 election which read as follows:-
“Women’s Rights 2000”
Transforming women’s lives through basic rights
• Safety and Security
• Valuing unpaid work
• Opportunities and equal opportunities in a flexible workplace
• Ending the dependency trap
• Childcare services
• Family and carer supports
• Accessible education and training
The recognition of the European Community of the requirement to address marginalised groups and their exclusion from employment is invaluable.
Annual Report from the Commission Equal Opportunities for Men and Women in the European Union, 1996 https://ec.europa.eu/justice/gender-equality/other-institutions/…/index_en.htm
Department of Enterprise and Employment, Employment Initiative, Objectives and Eligibility Criteria. https://ec.europa.eu/social/BlobServlet?docId=5790&langId=en
Department of Enterprise and Employment, The Employment Initiative in Ireland 1996-1997 https://en.wikipedia.org/…/Department_of_Jobs,_Enterprise_and_Innova..
Employment -HORIZON Initiative – Special Report – February 1997
Employment-HORIZON Newsletter ESF
Employment Projects in Ireland 1996-1997, HORIZON
Employment Projects in Ireland 21/4/97, NOW
Employment and Social Affairs, The ESF in Ireland https://ec.europa.eu/esf/ireland
European Commission – Communication to Member States “Employment and Development of Human Resources
Evaluation of the NOW Initiative 1991-1994 Ireland, NOW Support Structure – National Women’s Council of Ireland, August 1995.
FAS, Women in Focus 1995-1997
FAS, Workplace / Jobstart
HORIZON Update, The Employment Horizon (Disabled) Support Structure, NRB, Issue 3, December, 1996
EXAMPLES OF HORIZON PROJECTS
PROMOTER PROJECT NAME OVERALL AIM
Brothers of Charity Deise Laundry https://www.brothersofcharity.ie/southeast/contact_waterford.php
Establishment of a commercially viable laundry to facilitate the transition from sheltered to open employment for people with mental handicap
City Arts Centre ACT 1
To pilot new models for education in the arts for people with various handicaps by establishing an integrated community arts training programme
Cluain Enterprise Sheltered https://cluaintraining.ie/services/sheltered-work-services
To develop, cost and evaluate a model of Employment Initiative sheltered employment for persons with psychiatric illness. The enterprise to be established comprises an licensed premises with catering services
Cork Deaf Enterprises Driving Wheel https://deafenterprises.ie/
To train person with a hearing impairment in car valeting and driving with a view to employment in the car valeting sector
Kingsriver Community Kilkenny https://kingsriver.ie/
To train people with disabilities for employment Furniture Design in a saw mill enterprise producing high quality wooden furniture
Pan Pan Theatre https://panpantheatre.com/
To establish the Pan Pan theatre as a fully professional theatre company, integrating and employing people with a hearing impairment
St. John of God Interact https://www.psychiatrictraining.ie/index.php/sjog-st-raphael-s
To design and develop models for certification with the School of Occupational Therapy, Trinity College. Classes integrate disabled and non- disabled people
Sunbeam House Fuinneog System https://www.president.ie/…/speaking-notes-for-the-president-mary-robinson-on-…
To provide improved employment prospects for 20 people with a mental handicap by setting up a commercially viable high-tech PVC window manufacturing facility
Threshold Foundation Ireland inception 1981 https://www.threshold.ie/download/pdf/threshold_annual_report_2008.pdf
To develop an efficient supported employment strategy for persons with psychiatric illnesses based on the Lebenswelten Berlin “foster colleague” model
Western Care Jobfit, Castlebar, Mayo https://www.westerncare.com/menu.asp?menu=77&parent=0&item=0009
To actively involve employers in the promotion of employment opportunities for 30 people with learning disabilities
EXAMPLES OF NEW OPPORTUNITIES FOR WOMEN (“NOW”) PROJECTS
PROMOTER PROJECT NAME: OVERALL AIM
Community Radio Women on Air https://www.castlebar.ie/clubs/community_radio_castlebar/
To design and pilot innovative pre-training for Castlebar programmes to promote equality and access by women in the media and radio sector.
Construction Development of Industry Federation
- To create a European wide forum for women.
- Industry Federation Women involved in in SME’s to participate fully in business
- Running Construction development and to achieve a greater identity
- Enterprises and equality of opportunity
D.I.T. Childcare https://www.dit.ie/…/Childcare%20Form%2015.16%20Ver%202.pdf
- To develop a recognised system of national Accreditation in Early certification in early childhood education.
- Childcare Training to facilitate flexible access routes into the system
Ronanstown Community Based Childcare https://www.irelandlookup.com › Community Centres › Dublin
Provide community based childcare facilities
Women Network Group https://www.cpln.ie/index.php?showFile=76
- Childcare Centre and in the North Clondalkin areas for women wishing
to take up training, education, enterprise creation or returning to work activities.
- To develop through mainstream partnerships childcare training opportunities for women in the area
- To provide a Resource Centre for women
- Project involved in prostitution in Dublin with a view to enabling them to avail of pre-education,
- pre-training as a first step to enter into vocational training and/or education
SIPTU/UCG Making Equality
- To design, develop and establish gender equality
- Policy Practice and career activist programme for women trade union members and staff
Waterford Crystal The Crystal NOW
- The promotion of new opportunities for women
- Project in the Waterford Crystal organisation and to
maximise the contribution of women within the organisation
Women’s Aid Domestic Violence https://www.womensaid.ie/
- To establish professional qualifications for Community Based personnel working with domestic violence victims
- Initiatives in Ireland and to establish professional career for personnel
When thinking of her
I will remember
the beauty of nature
in all its splendour
life falling leaves
cool deep seas
an angel’s smile
small white hands
Feet that tapped
with sweet delight
silken skin so
pure and white
Love her Life,
Peace her Shroud.
Project completed 1998: WERRC Women Studies UCD 1997/1998
Updated by using relevant links showing projects still in existence.
16th January 2015