Supporting access to employment
Friday 30 April 2021
Inclusion through work and occupation of people in precarious or excluded situations has always been an important part of Caritas Luxembourg's work. With the pandemic, this aspect takes on particular importance: the sanitary crisis has a strong impact on the world of work and makes the people supported by Caritas Luxembourg even more vulnerable.
Creating new opportunities
At the beginning of 2020, Caritas Luxembourg set up the service "Travail & Innovation", one of the objectives of which is to identify, develop, launch and, if possible, link initiatives relating to work. The aim is to support as much as possible the creation of new employment opportunities for people accompanied by Caritas Luxembourg who have more difficulties than others to find a job on the labour market. In 2020, more than 150 people participated in employment activation measures in different departments of Caritas Luxembourg, some in the Centre Ulysse where they help in the kitchen, at the reception or in the technical maintenance of the building, others in the social grocery shops where they put products on the shelves. However, the vast majority of people work in the Atelier Thérapeutique d'Ehlerange. Here, people wash and iron the laundry of different shelters, while receiving medical-psycho-social support. The participants also take part in socio-therapeutic activities to strengthen their self-esteem, autonomy, social contacts, etc. The atelier is financed by the Ministry of Health. Another project that welcomes people in employment activation is the "Weidendall" project. Its "gardening" activity has been developing well since 2020 and currently employs about 20 people. Two additional activities were launched at the beginning of 2021: maintenance of green areas and cutting firewood. Other employment projects will be launched during 2021. The major part of the measures in favour of employment are carried out in collaboration with the Office National d'Inclusion Sociale (ONIS).Having an occupation allows all these people not only to fight boredom, to come out of isolation, to learn about life in a group, but above all to show others and especially themselves that they are capable of doing things and thus to feel valued. At the same time, they acquire new skills and stabilise their psycho-social situation.
Accompanying refugees to employment is another of Caritas Luxembourg's main activities. This is achieved through several actions, including job coaching carried out by volunteers who work in the field in pairs with refugees, "Employment" workshops set up to promote the professional integration of refugees and partnerships with private employers and the Agence pour le Développement de l'Emploi (ADEM). In 2020, although hiring from these partnerships was suspended due to the sanitary crisis, collaboration with ADEM to offer training to refugees continued. Caritas Luxembourg also approached companies in the craft and construction sector by sending them the applications of its beneficiaries and by offering assistance in the administrative procedures with ADEM. In September, a third Integration Class for Young Adults (CLIJA) composed of 8 students (6 of whom are accompanied by Caritas Luxembourg) was opened at the Diekirch hotel school. Finally, this period of crisis has led Caritas Luxembourg teams to contact its beneficiaries who are employed to check that there are no problems, that the rights of people on short-time working are respected and to provide administrative support to people who have lost their jobs in their application for unemployment allowance. In total, 84 people benefited from this support in 2020.