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SymfoS Newsletter #2

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SymfoS – Symbols for success

SymfoS: symbols and counselling to increase self-awareness among young people

How to improve educational and professional vocational systems to support disadvantaged young people? Symbols can contribute to increase self-awareness, self-esteem, the definition of goals and entrepreneurship among young people. Ten participants tested on themselves SymfoS – Symbols for success counselling interventions during the second SymfoS transnational train-the-trainer training reserved to social workers, trainers, youth workers and career officers working in the different project’s partner organisations…

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What has been done till now in the project countries?

Austria – SymfoS live-demonstrations at the Austrian Employment Service

The Austrian partners ZeMiT and Hafelekar organized a half day information event for multipliers, stakeholders and trainers on June 26 in Innsbruck. The event was hosted by the Austrian Employment Service and was visited by 30 people. A general introduction by Armin Brugger (ZeMiT), was followed by “live-demonstrations” of two SymfoS methods Basic Clearing and Competences and Resources pathways. Bediha Yildiz (ZeMiT) and Paul Schober (Hafelekar) worked with two young people on their aspirations and resources for their further career. These hand-on sessions were discussed by all the participants afterwards and during the coffee break. During the second part of the afternoon the symbol work material was presented on four tables and small groups changed from one presentation to the next. The event created a lot of interest in symbolwork and some participants registered for a symbolwork workshop offered by Paul Schober in November 2017. One participant asked for further information and introduction and tried the Basic Clearing shortly afterwards in his organization.

Germany – 3 successful events delivered by the SymfoS team in Düren

In April, June and July 2017, the Sozialwerk Düren organized 3 successful events to promote and disseminate SymfoS. In an information event in April 2017, 16 decision makers from the youth welfare, the vocational orientation and school were informed about the origins and the background, as well as the objectives and possible applications of the interventions of the SymfoS project. They welcomed the event and sent employees to the first external SymfoS workshop on June 26. During the event the decision makers added their symbol, which represents their organization, to the SymfoS Planning Road. In July 12 colleagues from the SymfoS coaches of the Sozialwerk Düren learned about the SymfoS project in a first workshop and the interventions of SymfoS were integrated in the daily work. A regular SymfoS meeting is now being held for practice and exchange with colleagues.

Ireland – Testing the Basic Clearing tool in Ballymun Job Centre

BJC focused its piloting activities in testing the new SymfoS method called Basic Clearing. The Basic Clearing is starting point of all SymfoS interventions and consists in a quick assessment tool that support the counsellor to establish the needs of the young person.

The tool was tested with a group of students from the local Youth Reach Centre. Youth Reach is an education programme run for early school leavers, 15-20 years, which provides students with an opportunity to gain qualifications outside of the mainstream school system. The tool was initially used in a group setting, however, the practitioners found that the students were reluctant to discuss their stories in front of their peers, an issue which may speak to the Irish cultural perception of not wishing to speak about difficult issues in front of others. The practitioners decided to try it again in a one-to-one setting with a second group of students. This yielded much better results and action plans, and the students were more comfortable engaging with the tool on a one-to-one basis with guidance officers in private.

After the recent training in Malaga, two more BJC staff members have been trained on the SymfoS method. On their return, both newly trained and previously trained staff of the BJC met to share their experience of the tool and are looking forward to using the SymfoS tools with clients in the near future!

Spain – “SymfoS, the power of symbols” Multiplier Event by Caminos

Between April and June, Asociación Caminos carried out three presentations of the “SymfoS, the symbols for success” project in Málaga to an audience of youth workers from different organisations and sectors (psychologists, social workers, employment counsellors, social integrators, educators). At these events Caminos staff members introduced the work with symbols and presented the different SymfoS counselling scenarios, combining theory and practice, as well as inviting the participants to experience for themselves the power of the symbols. On October 24th, Caminos organized the Multiplier Event “SymfoS, the power of symbols” in Vélez-Málaga. The event was attended by career guidance professionals, staff from public institutions and youth workers from social organisations. Two certified SymfoS training activities starting in November are already booked out after the event.

Italy – Symbolwork in CESIE’s non-formal education environment

SymfoS project provided CESIE’s staff with valuable methods to work with young people and within international and local non-formal activities to explore young professionals’ motivation. The two Italian trainers of SymfoS, Julia Isasi and Chiara Granata, after attending SymfoS training in Düren, delivered a special training for CESIE staff and other local organisations and supported local young people in the process of making important decisions for their lives with SymfoS interventions. One of young person these is Abduh, a young migrant who is about to reach the age of majority. An action plan created with the support of the trainers will guide him in finding his economic independence and proper living conditions. How does SymfoS fit into the everyday work at CESIE? The SymfoS methods have proven to be very useful in international and local training for trainers, educators, youth workers with the aim of exploring their career path and planning their career development in the short term.

What next?

In the coming months, the newly trained counsellor will implement in each country:

All the SymfoS – Symbol work counselling scenarios for Career and Education Counselling;
The Basic-Clearing methodology for Symbol work;
The Methodology for individual learning and career pathways, supported by peers and buddies.