How are young migrants supported to enter and to stay in the labour market? That was the question posed by our joint event this week with PICUM (the Platform for international cooperation on undocumented migrants). Focusing on documented and undocumented migrants we discussed with representatives of the European Commission and Social Partners how civil society has a role to play in preparing young migrants for employment as well as supporting them in gaining skills and learning throughout their early careers.

What was particularly stressed was the importance of accompanying social services such as child care for migrant young women, appropriate housing and access to community based facilities. Peer mentoring from other migrants was also highlighted by Eurodiaconia as essential, as was a gender sensitive approach and specific employment pathways for migrants that recognise their unique situation. This was a very timely debate given the increasing focus not only on migrants but on youth unemployment generally. How initiatives to support youth into employment are being accessed by migrants was a core question as was how undocumented young migrants can get any support at all.

The debate was made all the richer by the participation of 20 Eurodiaconia members who were in Brussels for the annual meeting of the Migration Network. As such, we were able to demonstrate concrete projects and experience in inclusion methodologies and the impact of policy proposals in reality. The meeting was hosted by our member, the Salvation Army Europe and particularly focused on member’s projects presentations on integration in Germany, the Czech Republic and Italy. It provided an opportunity for Eurodiaconia members actively working for a better integration of migrants, to exchange on good practices and key elements to foster integration projects and policies.

There is much to do, much to follow up on, but again we saw how including NGO’s and church related organisations is essential to have the local knowledge and reality check as well as the sustainable commitment to providing the services and actions needed to support people in vulnerable situations. We must be recognised at all levels as essential partners and supported in our work. Only by effective partnerships at all levels can change be brought about and real sustainable transformation happen.

Have a good weekend,