Press Release – Z. Emilianidou: The Ministry of Labour, Welfare and Social Insurance supports “First Step” for the integration of refugees and asylum seekers into the labour market

A holistic approach to social inclusion and integration at the “First Step” Intercultural Workshop

The workshop took place at the European University in Cyprus. The presentations and keynote speakers highlighted the importance of understanding the labour market and suggested that support according to the legislation regarding social inclusion is key. The workshop was part of the launching of the vocational training classes.

Alexandros Alexandrou delivered the speech on behalf of the Minister of Labour, Welfare and Social Insurance Zeta Emilianidou, stressing that agencies who are directly concerned with integration matters such as the Public Employment Services, will continue to work relentlessly to accommodate “all people at disadvantage regardless of their origin, religion or language, trying to provide every possible support to enable them to join the society and the labour market of our country. ”

The objective is to help TCNs further develop basic social, work and language skills, as well as provide vocational training to facilitate quick integration of TCNs into the labour market and participate in economic and social life of Cyprus. At the same time, the program aims at assessing the needs of both the labour market in Cyprus and the skills already available from potential beneficiaries.

On behalf of the European Fund Funding Fund for the First Step program, Elena Fysentzou said that special emphasis is given on migration issues reflected also on the fact that “the next budget period proposes nearly tripling of the budget in the field of migration management”. She also stressed the importance labour market integration can play since “employment is a key element in the process of integrating TCNs to participate in the economic and social life of the host country”. Finally, OEB Deputy Director Kostas Christofides welcomed the program by supporting the efforts made to integrate refugees and migrants into the labour market of Cyprus because, as noted, OEB considers that “the effective integration of migrants in Cyprus has a positive impact on the economy and society in general, especially considering the demographic pressures of the host society. ”

In addition, Christina Stavrou presented at the workshop the services offered by the Public Employment Services. The Public Employment Service supports the implementation of the program in practice, by referring refugees and asylum seekers to the training programs whilst also allowing part of its facilities to be utilised for presentation purposes.

The final stage of the event was an opportunity for strengthening the information base and intercultural training of trainers and officers who come in direct contact with Third Country Nationals, as the workshop provided tools, new concepts and other perspectives. The educational workshop was implemented by Dr. Elena Papamichael, a member of the Pedagogical Institute.

Besides the presentations, the “First Step” implementation team managed to utilise the workshop in succeeding to bring to the same place people from various state agencies and beneficiaries who have already completed Phase A’ trainings, creating an environment of understanding and synergy between government services, trainers, trainees as well as independent organizations such as OEB.

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