The Directorate of Labour in Iceland is a partner in an Erasmus+ project that has the aim of develop training materials for vulnerable women and support workers who work with the group. Other partners come from the UK, Lithuania and Greece.
The European Commission has funded the EMPOWER project to support women across Europe who have suffered or are vulnerable to violence, abuse and trafficking; to improve employability and entrepreneurship skills. The goal is to help women to gain employment and financial independence, a key step towards preventing victims from becoming stuck in circles of violence and abuse.
Partners in Greece, UK, Iceland and Lithuania have come together for EMPOWER to build a new strengths and skills-based training and coaching programme for both vulnerable women and the support workers helping them, to improve the lives of women across Europe. Studies have reported that 1 in 4 women across Europe experience domestic violence over their lifetimes and between 6-10% of women suffer domestic violence in a given year and 68% of human trafficking victims are women.
The target group in Iceland are women of foreign origin, but they have often difficulties adjusting to Icelandic society for several reasons. The reasons can be language barriers, lack of network and, they often find it hard to use their formal education from their home country and therefore have difficulties in getting suitable work. By attending the training, they get a chance to develop their soft skills and employability as well as getting assistance in developing their business ideas, if they have one.
The exercises are built on active participation of participants as well as group work. They also are invited to participate in Empowering Circles who are a group coaching methodology invented by our partners in the UK. There they work together in small groups to share their issues and help each other to find solutions. The group is active in finding suitable solutions that come from their relevant experiences. The training material consists of exercises to help them develop their strengths, and how to cope with new challenges. They learn to develop their goals and how to develop resilience.
Now there are two groups attending the training, the support workers will finish their training in the end of May 2018 and the women will finish in the beginning of June 2018. There was a lot of interest in the training from both support workers and the women.
The training is free of charge and is financed from the Erasmus+ program. This training is a pilot project and after reviewing the results and comments of participants, and there will be an another training sessions next fall for both the groups.
Ásdís Guðmundsdóttir asdis.gudmundsdottir(at)vmst.is