In December 2014, almost 10% of the EU28 active people could not find a job, and youth unemployment recorded 21.4%. The frustration of not finding a job, the lack of self-confidence and of social integration of the jobless, reinforced by the public perception of them as social “freeloaders” creates a vicious circle and further deteriorates their chances of finding a job.
Existing programs that deal with youth unemployment through skills development and classic training have proved ineffective in fighting such a structural unemployment crisis, with an average job placement rate of less than 20 percent. On the other hand, classic job coaching focuses on overcoming participants’ weaknesses instead of focusing on tools to instill higher levels of self-esteem and hope. They fail to empower young people to develop a vision for their lives, to take responsibility, but also to acquire life skills such as punctuality, reliability, teamwork, endurance, a strong work ethic, commitment, and respect for others.
Sandra Schürmann's "Projektfabrik" takes a different approach by drawing unemployed youth into an intensive program that uses performing arts to help them regain self-confidence and self-worth and teach them vital professional skills.
PART ONE. PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT. Young jobseekers enter a five-month program aimed at producing a theatre show. With a local theatre pedagogue and job coach providing support, they experience every type of work related to the theatre production, including playwriting stage design, acting, performing, publicity, and event planning. Participants receive hands-on experience with skills used in professional fields, such as management and marketing. What is more, through clearly assigned responsibilities, these young people learn to work as a team, to rely on others, and see how much they can achieve when they take personal responsibility, after a long period of social isolation.
PART TWO. PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT. With the support of a professional job coach, youth find a five-month internship and put in practice the skills learned. The coach works closely with the theatre pedagogue and closely evaluates and assists each participant.
With a 43% success rate of finding a job or vocational Training, JobAct strongly outperforms the state agencies' rate of 24%. On top of the 43%, an additional 24% of JobAct® participants go either back to school to finish a degree or go into other programs that keep them off the streets.
So far, JobAct have run over 220 performances in 80 locations., involving more than 4400 participants and 44.000 people have attended JobAct® performances. Currently they run between 35 and 40 projects per year. ProjektFabrik works with more than 80 educational institutions and established a network of collaboration throughout whole Germany and with 84 different JobCenters.
SCALING JOBACT IN SPAIN
Following the supported provided through This Works GlobalizerX Program, JobAct team developed a clear idea of their scaling plans: they want to develop a European network of institutions and individuals trained in JobAct methodology and/or who use art as an educational principle for employment programs.
In 2015, following various events across Southern Europe where Ashoka introduced them to several partners, they created a small network a won a EU-wide competition launched by Mercador Stiftung which enables them to organise local workshops in Italy, Spain and Greece and further develop the potential of the network and of scaling the methodology across Europe. In Spain, Ashoka has been marketing their work in various national medias to attract attention and is supporting them to organise the local workshop in Madrid in spring 2016 where they will also re-connect them with potential supporters.
SCALING JOBACT IN ITALY
Ashoka Italy has been promoting JobAct among local partners since early 2015. Moreover, with the support of a local Strategic Advisor Francesca Cima, international affairs advisor at ItaliaCamp, JobAct team met various organisations interested in learning more about JobAct and in particular Vivaio per l’Intraprendenza fro Florence who is currently the key partner in the country. Together they are applying for EU funds and maintaining the momentum after a local workshop that JobAct delivered in October 2015 and hosted by Vivaio. Ashoka is supporting Vivaio to develop a fundraising strategy and with promoting the model in mainstram media.
SCALING JOBACT IN GREECE
Following JobAct’s team participation to a key event in April 2015 in Athens, Ashoka Greece has been supporting JobAct to develop a local partnership with Cacoyannis Foundation. Ashoka has been supporting with dissemination and promotion in media as well as in the partners research phase and will support with the organisation of a local workshop in Athens in late spring 2016.