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EMBRACE – Enhancement of Migrants aBilities and Recognition of their Acquired Competences, in Europe
Start date: Sep 1, 2016, End date: Aug 31, 2019 PROJECT  ONGOING 

The project EMBRACE aims at structuring a transnational methodology able to identify, document and validate non formal and informal skills and competences acquired by immigrants in their original country – or in another EU State – in order to improve their opportunities and access into the European labour market.The project target group is thus made by immigrants coming from countries extra EU recently arrived in our Continent, currently unemployed, with or without a formal education certification, with or without a former job in their country of origin, or in another EU country.Actual migration flows are very different from the ones we have known in the past: before we had immigration of persons mainly in search of jobs opportunity; today immigrants are escaping conditions of social and political conflicts – when not war – and are seeking protection or the status of refugees.In this context it is difficult to match demand and supply of the labour market due to a lack of shared instruments for the validation and certification of competences owned by immigrants who arrive in the UE without any documental evidence of their previous studies or professional experience. Moreover the tools currently used for this purpose do not take into consideration personal histories, cultures and professional experiences gained in productive systems different from the European one, making them not spendable in our labour market.Considering this situation, EMBRACE focuses on the agri-food sector (production, transformation and distribution) because of three main reasons:- it is the main occupation held by immigrants in their origin country;- in EU the workforce needed by this sector is not always covered by local offer;- although it is characterized by technological gaps, it is a sector present both in the country of origin and in the one of destination. Even with the focus on this sector, currently used instruments are thought for a European labour market lexicon, underlining a lack of competences also in intercultural counseling and certification operators.To fill this gap and achieve project objectives, EMBRACE defines three main outputs:1) A catalogue of professional profiles and competences needed in the EU and in the agri-food sector;2) Methodological guidelines to recognise and validate competences of citizens coming from third countries, tested on 33 case studies within the agri-food sector, but transferable to other contexts;3) A toolkit for counselors and certification operators in order to provide them with a “step by step” guide to support immigrants in their search for a new or better job, through the identification and validation of their non-formal and informal competences and skills.The partnership is made up of 8 partners coming from 6 EU states defining a multidimensional network able to cover all identification and validation process, granting a widespread dissemination to local and international stakeholders and creating a bridge between immigrants and labour market needs. In particular, taking into consideration current immigration flows, partners come both from “arrival” countries (Spain and Italy) and destination countries (Denmark, Netherlands and Germany).This partnership is an asset also to support the transnationality of the project, relying mainly in the need to grant immigrant a “intra-European” mobility and responding to the recommendation of the EU on the need of having stable and shared system for the validation of competences at EU level.It is therefore essential to activate a European approach that focuses on integration and inclusion of citizens from non-EU countries through the definition of strategies for the recognition and transparency of experiences that meet the demands of the international labour market and to promote the empowerment of migrants favouring an active citizenship process in diverse cultural, linguistic, social and economic contexts.

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