To improve this situation, SymfoS implements a systemic approach that focuses on target groups at four different levels:
- Young people (15-25 years) facing problems in school or labour market (low qualified, job seeker, drop-outs, NEETS). To achieve inclusion, this definition is consciously set broad, but will be specified according to regional needs. Objectives pursued are effective support in motivation and goal-setting, discovering “hidden” resources, increasing self-responsibility and strengthening their social net by implementing a peer “buddy system”. The use of the universal language of symbols instead of writing will help to overcome resistance in active participation of individual problem solving.
- Career guidance officers in VET-providers, NGOs, youth centres and schools: Due to missing compulsory curricula there is often a lack of methodological knowledge and tools for dealing with disadvantaged youth. SymfoS aims to support them with a holistic approach, centred on the individual needs and goals of young people and strengthening the self-help potential of clients and peer groups. This leads to improved quality and higher success rates of counselling processes.
- Decision makers in VET providers, NGO, youth centres and schools: The key lesson learnt from prior projects is to involve them in the early stages of implementation. Career officers need a suitable framework (mandate, resources, QA, commitment from management) to work properly; this has to be included in the planning of new services by organisations and proposals for public funding. SymfoS will create an intense dialogue with management and provide them with checklists and business models (how to “sell” this approach to funding bodies).
- Education policy makers in charge of recognition tools for skills and qualification will be involved at two different levels: Accreditation or certification of train-the-trainer curricula and recognition of learning outcomes for young people. As there are currently many initiatives in partner countries (like “Ausbildungsgarantie” in AT, “Youth Guarantee” in IE and GR, “Job Act” in IT, “Strategy on Entrepreneurship and Youth Employment” in ES) we see the necessity to focus on the individual support of disadvantaged youth. These strategies often do not work for clients who face multiple barriers to labour market participation and require more individual support.