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Handbook on Organising the Job Shadowing and Mentoring Programme Published

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At the “Conference on Innovative Methods of Young Roma Inclusion in Society” held on 15.07.2021. from 10am to 2pm in the Novinarski Dom in Zagreb and online, we presented the new handbook “Organisation the Job Shadowing and Mentoring Programme” together with trainees, a mentor, and the Roma youth organisation of Croatia (RYOC).

The manual is available in Croatian and English was created as a result of the needs of the Centre for Peace studies (CPS) team and RYOC to describe our experiences in one place and develop a guide for the organisation of support and mentoring programmes for members of marginalized social groups. Therefore, this manual is intended for all (civil society organisations, institutions, employers, etc.) who plan or implement similar programmes.

During 2020, we implemented the Job Shadowing and Mentoring Programme, conceived as a form of professional development and activist empowerment. Throughout the programme, ten trainees – young members of the Roma national minority – first observed and followed the work of their mentors and collaborators from associations, foundations, and cooperatives for three months. These were organisations actively pursuing a variety of socially relevant topics such as environmental protection, the protection of human rights, improving minority rights, media, culture, social services etc. In the second three-month period, the trainees returned to their local communities and organisations, where they worked on building their own initiatives and/or applying what they had previously learnt to their own organisations or initiatives. In this way, the trainees were able to research, first-hand, everyday jobs crucial to their further development and their work in developing their local communities, organisations, and/or initiatives. Also, thanks to the structured mentoring offered by the programme in the host organisations, the participants had an opportunity to develop their knowledge of methods and working practices in a safe environment. They were also able to gain direct experience of best practices that they would be able to use later in their own work. In addition, the programme included a series of training sessions, workshops, webinars, and various other kinds of meetings. The main goal of the programme was to work towards achieving real social equality among young members of the Roma national minority – a social group in a disadvantaged position. It achieved this by their gaining work experience and new contacts in a safe environment. The programme also aimed to strengthen the Roma civic sector, and network with other Roma and pro-Roma actors in civil society and beyond – all with the mentors’ support.

The programme was implemented as part of the project “ARISE ROMA”, financially supported by the programme “European Union’s Rights, Equality and Citizenship (REC) Programme 2014–2020”, co-financed by the Office for Cooperation with NGOs of the Government of the Republic of Croatia and the City of Zagreb, and implemented by the Centrefor Peace Studies, the Roma youth organisation of Croatia, and Arterarij. Securing the funds in advance was an especially important element to the programme, because programme participation was organised through an employment contract, and the trainees were paid for their work. Designing such programmes often entails planning them well before they are implemented, and finding adequate funds for them to be done well. Besides gaining experience, knowledge, and skills, paid work also helps participants gain a certain amount of economic stability. This is why we consider this element to be one of our programme’s key advantages.

Our programme was intended for young members of the Roma national minority, but we think that certain programme features are also applicable to programmes intended for other groups. Our idea here is not to offer a formula on how to put together such a programme. This handbook is rather more of a list or checklist of the mentoring programme’s various features, alerting the reader to possible ways of strengthening it.

We hope that the handbook will be inspirational, informative, and useful, and that you will use it as a template when organising similar programmes. Of course, the team at CPS and RYOC stands at your disposal and feel free to contact us with your queries and comments!

 

 

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