Door to Work Programme
AkiDwA successfully completed their Door to Work programme on the 7th of July 2021. Door to Work is an innovative project which partners migrant women in the Greater Dublin Area with employers (public bodies, private companies, and NGOs) for work experience lasting several months. Funded partially by the Access to Employment strand of the Equality for Women Measure, the programme is specifically targeted at migrant women experiencing difficulty in accessing the labour market.
In their strategic plan Shaping the Future 2019-2021, AkiDwA identifies employment, alongside gender-based violence and health as one of the key areas of work for the organisation. AkiDwA believe that without the attainment of equality in the workplace and in the access to employment, migrant women in Ireland cannot achieve full equality and integration in other spheres, for example, their communities, home and education. Thus the Door to Work project was designed with the aim of ensuring the social inclusion of migrant women and their economic independence, primarily through the development of professional skills. In the long-term, it is envisaged that Door to Work will enable migrant women to secure lasting paid employment.
Furthermore the programme aims to empower women to seek employment in areas of their own interest and in fields specific to the qualifications obtained in their country of origin (e.g. IT, media, communications, admin, finance, legal, community and development work).
“We want to try and reduce the stigma in Ireland that care and cleaning are the only jobs suitable for refugees and asylum seekers.” says Paula Letsie, director of Door to Work at AkiDwA.
The project, which commenced in February of 2021, was an overall success with twenty-seven migrant women taking part. Amongst the employers involved were PayPal, SkillNet, Dress for Success, Indeed, the Irish Wheelchair Association and the Amplifier Group. AkiDwA secured sponsorship from PayPal which enabled the purchase of computer tablets, related equipment, and internet for each participant enabling access to online training. Over one hundred PayPal staff also registered to volunteer, providing much needed support in mentoring, career coaching and training. In March PayPal conducted mock interviews with the participating women for which they received extensive feedback. In May participants benefited from training sessions with SkillNet in Microsoft Excel, Word, and Powerpoint. Sessions were arranged with Indeed.ie to teach women how to apply for jobs using their platform.
“As a result of the Door to Work programme four participating women gained long-term employment. Participants also gained confidence in attending interviews and writing CVs.” says project Director Paula Letsie.
Both PayPal and AkiDwA will meet in September to discuss the next phase of the programme.