MMM is a two-year project, coordinated by AZM – AEC. It was selected at call for proposals for Erasmus+ Strategic Partnerships in adult education in 2017 (KA2).
Who is involved and where has the road taken us so far?
The project brings together four partners: two from Slovenia (besides AZM-LU also Ozara d.o.o.), Eurocultura from Vicenza and INIBIA EEIG from Germany. All partners have years of experience in adult education, VET, occupational rehabilitation and social/cultural integration. We are especially experienced in the field of work  with vulnerable social groups. All partners also work in localities where migrants are present. In 2015 and 2016, when the migrants from the Middle East and Africa tried to reach the safe existence in Europe, we felt it was our commitment and also moral obligation to address this issue professionally and with a high degree of social sensitivity and tolerance. Hence the need for international cooperation, so that our allegiance to joint goals and common vision could be realized in the highest possible way. Through the progression of the MMM project all partners adhered to the following ethical principles: respect for persons from different ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds, awareness of their needs and rights and respect for their human experiences and integrity.

Migrants arriving in Europe face linguistic, cultural and social barriers that make their learning and subsequent integration a slow and stressful process. At the same time, these new types of learners present a challenge to educators. Especially lingustic barriers make acquisition of new skills, needed for integration, a complicated process, even more so in the case of low-skilled migrants who represent a significant share of all new migrants. New educational tools and approaches, addressing the needs of both sides must be offered to migrants and educators.

In 2018 during a 40-hour programme we first trained 3 or 4 migrant mentors in each partner country. The migrant mentors were well integrated migrants with knowledge of host country language as well as some major migrant languages. The migrant mentors then in a 4-month 96-hour pilot programme, also completed in 2018, transferred their knowledge to the newly arrived migrants who had only began the integration process. The mentors helped newly arrived migrants who entered a new, unknown environment obtain basic knowledge of host-country language and other basic skills needed for further learning and integration. By using migrant languages to explain often abstract concepts related to basic skills, they conveyed the meaning more directly and efficiently. This is of great importance in the early stages of basic skills learning when migrants lack even the most basic knowledge. With the help of mentors, the migrants were able to put new knowledge in cultural and social context which for them is often hard to understand.

At the end of the pilot programme the newly arrived migrants took part in a 32-hour evaluation in the workplace. This helped them test their new basic skills in real life environment.

The entire pilot programme and evaluation in the workplace were closely monitored by a process of guided reflection. Migrant mentors and partner staff who took part first in 40-hour migrant mentor training and then in 96-hour pilot training for newly arrived migrants, followed previously determined guidelines to observe key elements of the mentoring and evaluation process. With the help questionnaires they were assesing various aspects of the pilot programme and thus analyzed the process from cultural, linguistic, social and other points of view.

On the basis of the guided reflection the MMM teaching plan, containing recommended standards of knowledge in the area of basic skills and competences, and Migrant Mentors Training curriculum, containing a set of guidelines for training of migrant mentors, have been created.

The efficiency of the project is constantly being measured by questionnaires for all involved: mentors, migrants, partner staff of educators. On the basis of the data obtained, Efficiency Study will be completed at the end of the project.
In the three project meetings that were carried out so far in all partner countries, all planned tasks were assigned in accordance with the project plan. Various aspects of the project, from the learning process to the preparation of the intellectual results and work efficiency were in particularly monitored and evaluated.

We are pleased that even before the end of the project, we can observe the first sustainable effects, especially the recognized value of the MMM curriculum, as the German partner will start the new training of migrants in the local environment on this basis.

What still lies ahead?
The project will end in September 2019 and until then there still remain many project tasks to be done. Project’s activities, particularly intellectual outputs, will be presented in two more newsletters. We also need to complete all intellectual outputs which, for the expert public, will be available as open educational resources on the project’s website. Towards the end of the project, in September 2019, two multiplier events will be organized in each partner country: one for educators and the other one for employers, as we want to extend the sustainable effects of the project to the widest possible range of stakeholders at all levels: local, national and international. With multiplier events we want to reach organizations which in partner countries are related to education and employment of migrants (elementary schools, VET, non-governmental and voluntary organizations, employment services and employment agencies, employers’ associations…), social services, local decision makers, media, adequate ministries (education, youth, development, work, social affairs) as well as organizations which are responsible for migration issues and challenges on European level.

How to approach migrants and how to address them? How to integrate them into the educational process and working environment? The most credible answer to this question, concerning the two main factors of integration can most likely be provided to the expert public by migrant mentors. This is the added value of the project, this is its intellectual result. We want innovative project results to give educators and employers a new perspective at migrants as learners and workers.

You can also follow the project on FB profile: https://www.facebook.com/Migrant-Mentorship-Model.

Tatjana Njivar (tatjana.njivar@azm-lu.si), Andragoški zavod Maribor – AEC

© 2017-2019 Slovenian Institute for Adult Education

The publication is co-financed by the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities.

ISSN 2630-2926

Published by Slovenian Institute for Adult Education (SIAE), Šmartinska 134a, SI-1000 Ljubljana | Editor-in-chief: Zvonka Pangerc Pahernik, MSc (E: zvonka.pangerc@acs.si) | Editor: Ana Peklenik (E: ana.peklenik@acs.si) | Other members of the editorial board: Zvonka Pangerc Pahernik, MSc,  Andrej Sotošek, MSc, Director of SIAE, dr Tanja Možina, Tanja Vilič Klenovšek, MA, and Margerita Zagmajster, MSc, Computer solution: Franci Lajovic (T: 01 5842 555, E: franci.lajovic@acs.si) | Translation/proofreading: Prevajalska agencija Julija  | Design: Larisa Hercog | Corrective reading: Zvonka Pangerc Pahernik, MSc, and Mateja Pečar | W: https://enovicke.acs.si/en/home/