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Digital skills to enter the labour market

Mar 12, 2024 | News

Miskolc’s poorest receive career guidance and job-search training

A series of training sessions focused on assisting participants in creating realistic life goals rooted in self-awareness, identifying standard job interview questions, and preparing a CV was delivered at the Tetemvár Community Centre in Miskolc in December, 2023.  The sessions were targeted to help the economically challenged local residents as part of a regional 4IM project financed by the European Social Fund. Under the motto of “Miskolc shall be a place for everyone”, the project aims to create institutional structures that combat poverty via the development of a new model for the social and economic development of the city. Part of this model is working with the ‘Community Coach’.

Tetemvár is one of the two Miskolc neighbourhoods (along with Bábonyibérc) that has been selected as a pilot for the afore-mentioned EU-financed social innovation project. Local professionals, city government officials and the residents all agree that in order to sustain the development of the city, the issue of poverty needs to be addressed. The project brings new methods and institutional capacities to this long-standing struggle. Indeed, Miskolc is a city where one encounters an alarmingly unique situation: a dearth of job opportunities coupled with a shortage of a skilled labour force. According to the city administration the labour force has potential, as there is still a sufficient number of people who can be reintegrated into the labour market with the right incentives, social support and training programmes. A higher number of people who work leads to a higher the number of self-sufficient families, and ultimately to a higher number of fulfilled lives. 

Community Coach

The Community Coach, a little-known profession in Hungary, encourages community members to identify and follow their interests in order to harness their potential as individuals and consequently as a community. In the project “Miskolc shall be a place for everyone” the Community Coach provides advice and support to people in extreme poverty helping them to break out of it and subsequently bring about improvements in the community. This „domino effect” means that  individuals not only improve their own lot, but also that of the community in which they live, as individual successes spark a chain of incentives, motivating others to join in. The Community Coach, therefore, is there to drive, encourage, monitor and sustain this process.

Career guidance for reaching realistic goals

With the support of the Community Coach via training sessions delivered at the Tetemvár Community Centre, participants have learned to develop their professional skills and express themselves clearly in an interview setting. „The Centre helps participants to acquire sufficient  motivational skills, to learn how to express themselves better, and to guide them in setting realistic goals for themselves. This can then become the basis for their short- and long-term life goal plans. This can be followed by searching for a job that matches their abilities and skills with what the labour market has to offer,” says Ádám Zakár, a Community Coach and one of the organisers and instructors of the trainings. 

The trainings sessions – organised around groups of 5-9 participants – focused on conducing a digital job search, finding a career path, and reintegrating themselves into the labour market.

The Hungarian Maltese Society also offered training sessions, notably for young adults who had dropped out of primary school and wanted to restart their education. These sessions focused on self-awareness, self-confidence and a shared community experience. More such trainings will be offered in the coming weeks.

Looking for new jobs via a digital job search

Social experts together with professionals from the University of Miskolc assessed households in the two neighbourhoods, Tetemvár and Bábonyibérc, participating in the 4IM project. They found that nearly all households had a smartphone with an internet connection allowing them with the aid of the Community Coach to carry out digital job search sessions.

„Based on individual suggestions and competences, we helped participants to develop up-to-date knowledge about what a successful job search entails. In this context, they were introduced to digital job search methods and to the most popular online job search platforms and portals, such as the Virtual Labour Market Portal (VMP), the sites of the Miskolc-based recruitment and temporary work agencies, and career services sites of companies where one can apply directly for advertised positions,” said Ádám Zakár.

During the session on the labour market, participants learned how to prepare a CV and simulated  a job interview by formulating questions and possible answers, including from the employer’s point of view.  Additional emphasis was placed on ensuring that the participants acquired a clear understanding of the importance of a personal email account and of password protection. As an outcome of the session, participants drafted their first CV based on the provided templates and in accordance to the personal objectives they had set for themselves. The effectiveness of the training and the relevance of the topics covered was proven by the fact that some of the participants succeeded in finding a job shortly thereafter thanks to the project’s programme.

Motivation on the rise

Importantly, group members showed a growing willingness to look for jobs and capitalise on the valuable skills that they learned during the training.  The results show that they have been motivated to design a professional path for themselves and have demonstrated the ability to make better career choices. These are all positive, measurable outcomes of the training that can only but improve the overall well-being of the participants and the communities in which they live in the medium to long term, according to the Community Coach.

„One of the outcomes of the project is to help people in difficult situations find their entry point back to the world of work”, said Andrea Varga, Deputy Mayor of Miskolc and the project’s policy manager. „Cooperation between institutions, NGOs and the local residents has had an important role to play in this process. The ultimate goal is to create responsive public and social services that take into consideration local realities and support residents in becoming self-sufficient and active participants in the labour market.”