“Building Hope” – Supporting Professional Training Courses For Disadvantaged Women And Youngs To Help Them In Finding A Job

Project location: ITALY, Rome
Project start date: April 2011 - Project end date: March 2014
Project number: 2010-80
Beneficiary: Fondazione Il Faro di Susanna Agnelli

"Building hope: tools, dialogue and job" was addressed to 30 young migrant women in Rome, coming from social and economic hardship. The aim of the project, from a quantitive point of view, was to increase the beneficiaries employment rate. The qualitative aim was, on the other hand, to improve women social and economic starting conditions, through a process of self-empowerment. Both the results have been succesfully reached.
The two planned vocational courses, for hair-stylist/make-up artists and for barmaids/waitresses, were held from February, 10th to April, 14th . Each class was composed by 15 young women, from 17 to 26 years old.
The admittance examination consisted of a first test of Italian language and a written exam about the preliminary knowledge of the job that the candidates intended to learn. Then the young women had an interview with the tutors, in order to evaluate their oral comprehension level and their work motivation.
Lessons took place every day from Monday to Friday, from 9 a.m. till 1 p.m. The 150 hours training courses were divided into a theoretical part and a practical one. Practical lessons were given in Faro equipped laboratories. All the teachers were professional people, with a long experience in teaching to students with difficulties.
The main subjects of the hair-stylists/make-up artists course were: the illustration of professional tools, thier function and correct use, the structure of hair roots and of sebaceous glands, the hair fiber, the types of hair cosmetic products (composition and use instructions), the hair treatments (discoloration, permanent...), the shampoo, conditioner and set practice, the hair cut and styling techniques, the chemical composition of permanent and hair smoothing products, the use of brushes, hair-curlers and the techniques for creating colour highlights and colour rays, the importance of a good looking hair-style, the most frequent technical terms of the profession, how to deal in the correct way with the customer. As far as making up, the students learnt how to use the most important products (lipstick, lipgloss, foundation cream, concealer, blush, mascara, eye shadow, eye and eyebrow pencil...) and how to create an original makeup fitting every kind of look.
The main subjects of the barmaids/waitresses course were: basic notions about job market and marketing, the main items about general agreements on wages and conditions, hygiene and safety regulation in job sites, personal hygiene rules, client reception, the order, structure and different menu kinds, tools for room and bar service, Russian service, English service, French service and the table clearing, room setting, mise en place, the pouring of wine, the organization of the bar team and the exceptions to service rules.
A very important aspect is that the students had the chance to learn by experience not only technical subjects but also how to behave in a suitable way in a job context. Teachers asked them to respect the colleagues, to know the job hierarchy, to be every day punctual, to fulfil their tasks carefully and, above all, to work in team.
Another important aim of the project was indeed to help the young women to experience a deep condition of integration and solidarity. Every morning, before the lessons, all the students met in the Faro theatre hall to discuss together about the most important news of the day or their personal problems (children, home, relationship with their country). Sometimes tutors made them see fragments of movies about the importance of solidarity and team working, such as the famous scene of "Any given Sunday", when Al Pacino says to his team: "That's a team, gentlemen and either we heal now, as a team, or we will die as individuals".
From February to April, a vocational guidance desk was arranged in order to help students to write resumes, motivation and presentation letters, and to give them support for job interviews and, in general, for job search. The beneficiaries were assisted by two tutors, a cultural mediator and an occupational psychologist. Every student could simulate a job interview, in order to put in evidence personal points of streightness and weakness and to know in advance the most frequent questions and items about job selection (for instance, they should describe themselves and their professional targets in few words or they should try to imagine their job profile in five years).
At the end of the didactic period, on 14th April, was organized a final event, conceived as a sort of "showcase", which gave to the beneficiaries the opportunity to show the outputs and results of their vocational training. The guests were mostly entrepreneurs of small and medium enterprises of Rome. The students from hair-stylists/make-up artists class arranged a little fashion show, while the girls from barmaids/waitress class prepared and served cocktails and finger food.
During the whole didactic period, the staff conducted a survey through individual interviews and questionnaires to learn more about the specific needs of migrant women in Rome. The most meaningful outcome is that women, especially if they have children, would like to have more tools and support to fit working time with time spent in taking care of the family. This need is even more pressing than Italians'one, because foreign women usually can not count up on the help of their original families, which very often remain in their country.
The visibility of the project has been obtained using the Web. Special contents have been developped and uploaded on the internet site of Il Faro (www.ilfaro.it), in order to disseminate the results of the activities, using a medium that can be easily consulted by everyone. In particular, a gallery of photos about the courses has been published in the website and in the newsletter magazine of the Foundation.
After 2 months from the end of the courses, over 70 percent of students from hair-stylists/make-up artists class work permanently, while 3 students from barmaids/waitress class have been employed by a great Italian very selective firm as Autogrill.

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