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On our website we hope you will find some interesting articles about our work and projects about "drop-outs" or early school leavers.

We in OTD has worked with this since 2003, and can show you really good results about getting these group of young people back to school or work.

There is no big problem with the young people, but we have been met with high walls with our intent to tell the officials about our work, and how they can use some money now - and save a lot in the future.

Politicians this days looking only forward to the next election, not at the long term savings.

Stands for my opinion, John M. Heier


Evaluation of the pilot project ”Job-Circuit”


This evaluation was the main reason for starting the JobCircuit.


Contents

Evaluation of the pilot project ”Job-Circuit” 1

1.0 Methodological approach. 2

Conversations with the youth. 2

Conversations with the employers. 2

2.0 Presentation of the interview material 2

2.1 The youth’ evaluation. 2

The work. 2

Economics. 2

Relations. 2

Recommendations for changes in the project 2

2.2 The perspective of the employer – represented by 3 companies. 2

Competence and work assignments. 2

The candidates’ social skills. 2

The project 2

3.0 Summary. 2

4.0 Conclusion. 2

 

”We need someone to give us a push, and we need a person we have easy access to at all time.”

 

Elisabeth Engh Juel

August 2004

My assignment is to evaluate the project ”Jobcircuit” of 2004. The time-limit for the evaluation is set to be 20 hours. It goes without saying that it must be a concise and limited evaluation. My own work experience and expertise give me good knowledge of the target group of the project. I am a special educator, and the last 10 years I’ve been working in upper secondary school with the responsibility for youth with special needs. In June 2004 I did my master in pedagogy, and my speciality was special education within upper secondary school.

 

1.0 Methodological approach

The project leader wants the evaluation to be done immediately after the end of the pilot project. The reason is that the project group wants external documentation to show for in the further application of the project in the future. The application concerns whether or not the project can continue, become permanent or become transferred to other municipalities. Therefore one cannot wait with the evaluation until the project’s final report has been done.

 

I’ve read the project description of January 23th 2004. I have also read the status presented for the board meeting June 21st 2004. The project description defines the objectives of the project. The status report spells out unforeseen and presupposed challenges. The limitations of the evaluation makes it necessary to read this report together with the final report consisting of more quantitative information.

 

The project shows the need for acquiring an overall view of the target group in question in order to work with the issues. The cooperation between different public services, which is a foundation for the project, can be referred to as the system perspective. The individual perspective, as I understand it to be, is the work being done towards the individual youth. Both perspectives have various informants which provide information and feed-back. The main focus for the project itself is the youth. The project leader registers the candidates’ presence, the variations of the companies, whether or not the candidates receive a permanent job etc. This sort of documentation will be presented in the final report. As a consequence, I will exclude it from my evaluation. My focus will be candidates and employers. This, I think, will provide a complementary and valid evaluation with a focus on the individual perspective. I will therefore:

·        Implement a group conversation with all the young people and 2 individual conversations with youth who preferably represent extremes according to attendance at work. The individual conversations will also strengthen the validity of the group conversations.

  • Implement interviews with representatives from three companies.

All the interviews took place after the end of the project.


Conversations with the youth

The group conversations with the youth were implemented during week 27. My starting point was Ot’s statements in status report 2, page 4. Further I wanted to focus on ”why work/why not work”. I wanted to know what kind of quality of life the youth were experiencing both inside and outside the project.

 

On the same day there were individual conversations with 2 candidates that represented the extremes concerning attendance at work. In a limited evaluation it is common to present the special cases in order to find various causes for these extremes. I wanted to focus on “I know about their work attendance” and how they explained their attendance status. It could be that their absence could be explained by their work or things outside their work.

 

Conversations with the employers

The interviews were implemented during week 32. The objective was to get to know their experiences. What recognizes the participants in the jobcircuit project that function well/bad? I had hoped to get to know how the companies handle the participant concerning work tasks and social conditions. Further, I wanted to know the employers’ opinions about the project: positive and negative experiences and recommendations for change.

 

2.0 Presentation of the interview material

I have chosen to present quotations in italic. This give the evaluation more substance and brings ”life” to the report. Sometimes I also show my questions. These are marked with (EEJ).

 

2.1 The youth’ evaluation

5 youth were all present during the interview – two girls and three boys. A problem is that it can be difficult to be totally honest when others are listening. However, it seemed like that went well, and they were positive towards the conversation and said thanks when it was over. We had an informal conversation that lasted for about one hour. I used flip over and wrote down quotations and important words. When I told them I would write, a boy misunderstood and said: Oh, no, not writing. Some participants were open and liked to talk, others had to be asked questions to talk. The results from the individual conversations will be presented where it’s relevant during the group conversations.

 

I started by asking them if they knew about the purpose of the project:

·        Get youth into work

  • There’s no fun lying in bed all day long

I asked why they needed a project to get a job. They claimed they needed a push to get going, and that it was necessary for them to have a person who could help them during the process.

·        None of us have looked for a job in the newspaper

  • We don’t dare to call and stuff

The youth explained that they were recruited to the project at the office for social services, child welfare office, through friends or through direct contact with the project leader. They said that in the beginning they were gathered to talk about what they wanted to work with.

·        We said what we hoped for or what we thought we hoped for

  • It is useful to find out what we don’t want

The youth were satisfied with the group gatherings and especially the training with OT.

 

The work

The youth knew what an employer expects of an employee concerning attendance, giving messages, honesty, punctuality etc. They admitted that it could be difficult to implement these things in practice. They corrected each other: (One interrupts the other): – and that comes from you! The person replies: But I mean it although it doesn’t always work like that.

The youth liked the rotation of different work-places since they did not have any experience with working in companies. They expressed ambiguous arguments. Rotation of work-places is necessary, but at the same time they meant that they should be able to switch work if they disliked what they were doing.

 

The fact that they recognize and like their work assignments seem to be the most important fact concerning whether they like a job or not. Further it is important “…that you like the people, and the people like you.”

In the individual conversations this gets further pointed at.

·        No one showed me what to do. There was nothing to do. One day all I did was to sweep something from the floor. No one talked that much to me. I just stopped showing up.

  • They are nice there. I was planning, gluing and polishing. They show me how.

 

On the question concerning attendance and sustainability at their work place, several answered that they had left their work before the period of 3 weeks was over.

I just left and didn’t return even though there was one week left of my stay.

 

The reason for this could be that they didn’t like being at the work place or relationships that didn’t concern work. On the question, what then happened, the answer was: John talked to them.

Economics

One topic of conversation was how the project influenced their economic situation. The youth said that the wage was relative low and didn’t determine whether they went to work or not. Even withholding their wages when they were absent did not change their motivation for attending work:

You get less salary, but the amount isn’t that big – so if you don’t bother going to work, there is no reason to go.

Another candidate: But you need to think a little longer

How?

What this might lead to – you get just the same amount of money from the social service, but there you get ONLY the money.

What do you mean by that? (EEJ)

Being a part of the project can lead to something more, so you shouldn’t just think about the money. You might eventually get a job, experience and connections.

Relations

The youth talked about how being part of the project had changed their social relations. Outside the project they almost only talked to their parents who were negative to their “life on the coach”. They turned night into day and were bored. Participating in the project meant that the youth hade to change into a normal daily rhythm which could lead to some consequences concerning their relationships to their parents: Parent smile more often. Furthermore, they claimed that they got to know new people, they talked more, and a broader social network could lead to positive consequences concerning future job possibilities:

If you do a god job, the employees can tell that to others when you later apply for a job.

 

The candidates express a positive relation towards their project leader. The fact that they have a steady relation to a person that is easy accessible seem to be essential.

·        We just text him a message so he can call us when he has the time – then it goes two seconds, and he calls.

 

  • He is easy to get hold of.

During the individual conversations it turned out that the project leader took initiative to a meeting in the group for those responsible so the person in focus could have access to professional help for her/his problems.

The conversations illuminate a possible link between relations towards family/ cohabitant and attendance at work. One youth explained how the mother takes responsibility and practises a routine to wake her up in the morning: Then my mother comes and wakes me up. One other youth lives alone and has problems getting up in the morning. This youth points out the role of the project leader in solving the problem: Then John found out that I might work night shifts.

Recommendations for changes in the project

The youth were of the opinion that it would be good if the jobs had been planned better so there was no need to wait for the job rotations.

 

The youth are clearly irritated because other candidates within the project can spoil it for them:

Those who do not show up destroy for the rest of us. The work-place does not want us. Because then they have destroyed our reputation and it is easy to crack down on all of us.

Why do you or any youth need such a project? (EEJ)

The youth express that they are not capable of exiting their passive way of life without help. They further explain that their family cannot assist them.
We need someone to give us a push, and we need a permanent person which is easy to get hold of.

How is your way of life without the project? (EEJ)

A coach in Degernes [ed. Location in the municipality of Rakkestad].

A comment on school:

It is no point in sending me to school. I just hate school. I’ve started basic courses twice – that’s enough.

2.2 The perspective of the employer – represented by 3 companies

The project leader had oriented companies individually about the project. He later contacted the company with respect to the single candidates.

 

Positive experiences:

·        Show up at work on time

  • Does the assigned work and completes them
  • Goes directly back to the tasks at hand and continues to work after the break
  • Does not leave the work place
  • Completes the day

It is great potential in all of those who has been here, and all of them are capable of doing the job.

Negative experiences:

·        The youth agree to the rules etc. in the first job interview, but do not always follow

 

  • The youth have a low threshold for “pain” that makes them stay home from work
  • The youth can express excuses that in general are not acceptable in working life: That they for instance were unable to a deliver a message about absence from work because they were out of money on their cell phone
  • The youth are relatively lousy at letting us know about absence etc.
  • The youth can be very impulsive: It seemed that she enjoyed her work, but as the boyfriend was on the outside, they both went for a cigarette, and they both were gone for the rest of the day.

 

Competence and work assignments

The employers are clear in that the candidates have no need for special competence in acquiring a job. The work assignments are learned within the company. One employer expressed: The largest qualification we demand is that you can count to ten. It is the area of job ethics that the candidates need competence.

The employers express that it might seem that job assignments work best when they are completely clear and concrete. These are not misunderstood and take the shape of being “from here to there”. It might seem that it is less successful when the candidates need to show initiative towards the job assignments. Job assignments that focus around objects seem to work better than those concerning people.

 

The candidates’ social skills

The companies are of the opinion that is important that they have a positive basic attitude towards this type of youth. All the companies explain that their first interview with the candidates is such that the candidates are being explained what the company expect of them and how things work – rules. Furthermore, that the candidates are given a type of sponsor to relate to. The companies were of the opinion that the youth should only receive instructions from maximum 2 persons.

 

I did not interview the sponsors, but more persons from management positions. These people did not have the same close contact as the sponsors, but were of the opinion that the candidates functioned relatively fine in break time etc. They meant that the work rotation was positive, but that 3 weeks was too short amount of time to get in close contact with other colleagues.

 

The project

The employers were of the opinion that it is a part of the company’s social responsibility to take in youth from this project. They believe in the project. Furthermore, they are very positive in that the project has a project leader so that the youth and the employers can relate to one person. It is furthermore positive that the project has a foundation within the community.

 

It is a clear conception that this target group cannot take initiative on its own to exit unemployment which can easily become a permanent way of life. The employers were of the opinion that the need for a project leader is enhanced because the majority of the youth has a weak social- and family network that can help them get on track:

·        This youth has no chance without the project. Within the project they can show to an employer that they are capable

  • It is not enough for them to know how to get a job, someone needs to take care of them
  • The youth does not seek help and might also have little support from home

Two out of three companies want a closer follow-up of the candidate from the project leader in the work place. All of the employers are of the opinion that they have no responsibility for the candidates when they have left the work place. They want this distribution of responsibility to be clearer. Follow-up with respect to absence etc. must be assigned to the project leader. In general they want clearer and more systematic routines for cooperation with the project leader with reference to absence and how to act when the period for the candidate within the company is cut off. One opinion is that it can seem a little easy for the companies that the candidates just fail to show up, and the project leader put things straight. One suggestion was that the candidate and the project leader should have a meeting with the employer in order to terminate the job in a orderly fashion. It is too easy just to disappear without any other consequences than a new job opportunity.

They all had great general confidence in the project and the project leader, but it was expressed that it should a be a public supervision if it was to be permanent.

 

3.0 Summary

The material shows that it is a relatively large co-relation of opinions within the expressions from the youth and the employers.

Candidates and employers:

·        They have the same understanding that this target group is dependent upon such a project in order to become active/employed. The youth does not seek different services on their own initiative in order to do something with their own life.

 

  • They are of the opinion that the personal and close follow-up from the project leader is decisive in exiting a passive life.
  • They agree on criteria of work ethics and that the youth can still have a very low actual work ethic.
  • They agree that it is important that the company has a positive attitude to this type of youth.
  • They believe it is easier to become successful when the work is concrete, clear and has a definite beginning and end.
  • They assume it is easier to work with objects rather than people.

 

Candidates and employers can have diverging opinions regarding the tasks solved by the project leader. The youth is of the opinion that he is easily accessible. The employers hope for a closer follow-up. It is decisive for the employer that it is firmly established that their responsibility for the candidates are limited to when the candidates are at work.

 

4.0 Conclusion

Political guidelines provide signals for various improvements and cooperation between the local services to make activity/work more accessible for everybody (The Rattsø-Commission and St.report.no 12 2003-2004). The guidelines include the agreement on an inclusive work place and the awareness of particularly vulnerable groups. But still, this will not be adequate assistance for everybody. I believe that the material shows that a project like “Job-Circuit” is a precondition for this target group to exit a passive, non-binding and possibly marginalized life.

 

Scientists often use the words “controlled from within” and “controlled from the outside” to understand how people experience and practise control and show initiative towards their own actions among others. The terms “actor” and “pawn” cover the same (Nygård 1993). The research also show how this duality often coincide with the behaviour of the person, a perceived control over one own’s life, an idea of one own efforts and goal attainments etc. From the material, my competence and experiences I hold that the target group in the project Job-Circuit often can be characterized as “controlled from the outside” and “pawns”. The youth that I spoke with, were all positive towards a more active way of life. Still they show no effort in trying to change their own situation. The employers confirm this. The process of changing a person’s conception of himself as a pawn to becoming an actor in one’s own life, has a lot do with a sense of reality. I believe that the project is important to reconstruct a negative situation to become a more positive situation.

 

Several times in the evaluation it occurs how important the proximity to a project leader is. In work revolving persons that in some sense are in danger of becoming marginalized, the importance of a personal support network and close relations is pointed out. Often the work empowerment is attributed to this (Lassen 2001). The method of empowerment focuses on enhancing opportunities and relations. The focus should be on the individual within a system, and not the isolated individual. The theoretical point of departure rests upon system theory and the meaning of mutual influence on different levels in one person’s social network (Frønes 1997). The way I see it is that the project’s organization rests upon this theoretical point of departure. Several agencies cooperate, but the single youth relates to one easily accessible sponsor. A big challenge for this sponsor is the work of increasing the single youth’s role as an actor.

 

I spoke with five of the youth. The project has had eleven. During the work with this target group it is important to be aware of the large possibility of drop-out. I do not know exactly with regard to this material, but we can assume that the candidates have had a relatively long passive way of life and possibly a negative school career. Upper secondary school is referred to as being preventive in relation to pupils with a negative school career. By this we mean that the school has limited possibilities in turning around the negative development. It is important to have a relatively realistic level of ambition. An employer expressed that if one person was saved from a passive way of life away from social welfare, the project is successful, both for the general social welfare and the single person in question. Another employer hoped that the project would catch youth on an earlier stage.

 

The project was short. The project’s main goal was that the youth eventually acquire permanent jobs. This is very ambitious. I believe that the project itself has intrinsic value here and now. The goal is that it is also a value for the future. From a constructivist perspective, where the goal is to reconstruct reality, I believe such a “militant project” is necessary for certain youth to at all experience how it is to be “only just on the ball-court”. One youth also explained that he had a future perspective: Being a part of this project might lead to something more, so you shouldn’t just think about how low the salary is. You might get a job, experience and contacts. Persons controlled from the outside rarely have future perspective. This candidate’s assertion I believe revolves around what is most important to the project “Jobcircuit”: To attempt to get late youth to become more actors in their own lives.

 

This evaluation gave the kick-off for the JobCircuit, - a LdV Project

Background
The project aimed to develop a methodology called "JobCircuit" (job rotation including teambuilding, information ofemployment, experience of changing jobs) based on a successful limited project developed and tested in Norway in 2004.
The target group of this project are VET school drop−outs (early school leavers) and young unemployed people, 15 to 20 years old.
The project will develop a methodology for cooperation between the labour market (SME's), the education institutions and the social welfare structures creating possibilities for young people to find their way in life through guidance and cooperation.
The project will also have an eye on long−term unemployed young people between the ages of 20 and 25 who have not succeeded in finding either a job or education.

A range of public entities in collaboration with commerce and industry will design methods for guidance and vocational training in different firms over a period; job rotation. This will facilitate a smooth introduction and participation in the labour market for the target group who have not been able to find their place in the job market, traditional education systems, or in positive social activities.
One of the main goals of the project is cross boarder and international exchange of experiences and practices. This will enable to develop a wide range of methods, tools and concepts that give clues on how to handle this marginalized group. The results will be disseminated to wide public entities and the private sector.


You will find more about our project under the other menupoints.

Regards
John M. Heier
Projectleader.