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Frontpage News 2009 Helping Polish women find work

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Helping Polish women find work

Women in Warsaw struggling to find work are offered a chance to improve their skills and self-esteem in a project supported by the Polish NGO fund under the EEA and Norway Grants.

The project, which is run by the foundation "Bez Względu na Niepogodę" ("Never mind the weather"), is directed towards unemployed women that have problems getting into the labour market. The project aims at strengthening the participants' qualifications as well as their self-esteem, in order to improve their chances on the labour market.

The participants included in the project are women that have problems returning to work after maternity leave, women that have stayed at home for years caring for disabled children and women that for social or psychological reasons have difficulties in finding jobs. Some of the participants in the course have been outside the labour market for up to 20 years. Many of the women have higher education and good formal qualifications, but lack work experience and self-confidence.
The project offers training to 60 women, divided into five groups. Each course lasts four months, and includes computer training and English language classes as well as social and psychological components. The latter emphasise personal development and professional activation, improving social and personal competencies. The project also includes training on gender issues and women's legal rights as well as individual counselling and assistance for job applications.

The foundation works closely with business organisations and individual businesses, partly to find potential jobs for the participants, partly to promote gender equality in the labour market. The foundation also assists those interested in finding internships, as lack of work experience is a major disadvantage for a number of the participants. The goal is that at least 40% of the participants will be employed after the course, which experience from similar courses suggests is an attainable goal.

The participants have given the training course great marks and have high expectations that the training will significantly improve their prospects on the labour market. Especially appreciated was the fact that the course was for women only, something which made them feel more free and secure.
The project started in October 2008 and will last for 15 months. It is co-funded by the Bureau of Social Policy in the Warsaw city administration.