PROGRAM: The cornerstones of our approach are self-empowerment, education and training, supplemented by effective work placement, counselling and assistance. Professional and vocational (workforce skills) training is one of our major priorities.
There are three distinct phases in our involvement with our clients:
Phase 1: In-house
The first 15-18 months of the programme take place at our own centre, where we provide a welcoming and containing social environment, psychological and personal development through therapeutic interventions and workshops, social and recreational activities to facilitate social integration and readjustment, and structured educational and vocational training. The process starts by creating a warm, secure, and non-judgmental environment in which our clients immediately begin to experience what it feels like to have the value of their lives affirmed, and to be treated with respect, dignity, and kindness. Through therapeutic intervention and workshops we help our clients develop individual resilience, self-efficacy, and a sense of future. It is towards the end of this phase that we are able to assess the potential of each of our clients and guide them towards a suitable track for the next phase where they have to select the field of their advanced training or longer term education programme.
The cornerstones of the educational and vocational training program are the basic training in information technology (‘IT’), English language, word processing, and accounting. Attendance at these core classes is compulsory for the first year. This is followed by a formal assessment to decide upon the most appropriate further training for the individual.
The focus of the IT training is on acquiring the International Computer Driving Licence (the ICDL, the international version of the ECDL European Computer Driving Licence), an internationally recognised, standardised qualification in computing skills; and on enhancing the employment prospects of our clients by developing their computer skills to advanced levels.
English language training comprises instruction, training and practice in English, using the Cambridge ‘New Interchange’ course, with development to the level of the Cambridge First Certificate in English (FCE), or IELTS equivalent. ‘New Interchange’ is one of the world's most successful English courses for adult and young adult learners at the beginner to intermediate levels. The students are regularly examined by external examiners and, upon successful completion of their exams, are awarded appropriate certificates.
Phase 2: Professional training
At the end of the first phase, each client has the opportunity to select a more advanced vocational or professional training programme. For advanced training for white collar professions such as IT, accounting, secretarial, or architectural drafting, our clients can enrol in courses offered at selected institutions.
Preparations for trade careers such as a seamstress or beautician involve both on the job training and enrolment in courses at specialised trade schools. Clients are also encouraged to sit for university entrance examinations to continue their academic studies at a higher level. Depending on the path chosen, this phase can take from six months to several years.
Phase 3: Job placement and monitoring
We provide an important and necessary placement service, providing access to information, resources and advice that enables our clients to make informed choices about how best to make use of their skills and training. The objective is to enable them to find gainful employment, and to engage actively, positively and independently in modern Iranian society. This service is provided by professional advisers and social workers, who offer counsel and assistance in finding employment. Upon job placement, each woman is monitored for a minimum of six months, to ensure her full integration into her new work environment and social structure. An important part of job placement and monitoring is employer feedback. This involves the employers in what we are doing, helping us to improve the quality and effectiveness of our training, and raising awareness of our activities.