DOMUS: Developing common paths for the sustainable inclusion of refugees

DOMUS: Developing common paths for the sustainable inclusion of refugees

Contact details 

Submitted by: Monia Dardi – Project Manager and Scientific Committee from Adecco Foundation for Equal Opportunities 

Email: [email protected] 






Introduction to the project 




First pilot began in November 2017. Program took place between February 1st and December 31st 2018. 

The project will be renewed in a new format: MEP (Modelling Employability Process for refugees). 


Adecco Foundation has been facilitating the placement of refugees in the labour market since 2008 and has thus developed a rich experience in building the “methodology of inclusion” path. This system is based on a multi-stakeholder approach that connects the public with the private sector on multiple levels. 

DOMUS (multi-stakeholder and multilevel project) pursues three different lines of action and goals: 


  1. Training and inclusion of the target group: Providing training and inclusion pathways for 20 refugees (beneficiaries of protection).  

Area: Lamezia Terme (Calabria) 

Goal: to facilitate the project’s beneficiaries’ access to the labour market in order to guarantee their job and social inclusion. 

Activities:  Specific training (digital and IT – active job searching) – specific VET and training session to different groups on the basis of needs analysis (“employability group” and “high education and professional role group”). 


  1. Train the trainer: training to consolidate the skills and competencies on diversity and job inclusion of about 20 tutors, educators and coaches of local SPRAR (reception facilities) (systemic approach). 

Area: Lamezia Terme (Calabria) 

Goal: to empower the tutor, educator, or coach of the local SPRAR centre (reception facility) and to share methodologies, approaches and job inclusion paths. 

Activities: Organization of “train the trainer” sessions (content and trainers) – final event for beneficiaries and other insiders.


  1. CRE–ATTIVE (career education for women): vocational training project for female refugees (10) that are economically and socially marginalized and live in critical conditions (such as poor housing arrangements, bad health conditions, and an excessive family care burden). These women need support in gaining self-empowerment and access to the labor market, as well as integrating in the host community. 

Area: Rome. 

Goal: Enhanced employability – Increase job opportunities for disadvantaged women  

Activities: organization of workshops on: Meeting the Scart Lab (example of mentoring and entrepreneurship from Refugees); Meeting the social public service in Rome (citizenship); Meeting the for-profit world (companies, professional associations, trade unions, job agencies); Participation in the expressive lab on the job searching process; vocational guidance; and training and professional inclusion. 

Project aims 

The goal of the project is to create a more efficient, consistent and sustainable path for inclusion for refugees through job inclusion. This is done by providing vocational trainings to refugees and sustaining their access to the labor market, adopting a multi-stakeholder approach and building upon refugees’ skills and competencies. The project further aims at engaging with the private sector and promoting diversity management and access to equal opportunities by providing targeted training sessions to companies. 

The project seeked to enhance self-reliance by promoting economic opportunities, decent work and job creation. It identified opportunities for employment and income generation as well as enhanced the skills and qualifications of refugees through targeted training programmes, this included language and vocational training. This approach built upon refugees’ existing skills and qualifications.  

Resources used

Financial resources: 66% UNHCR 34% Adecco Foundation. 

Main activities of the Good Practice

The two main pillars of the methodology are: 


  1. Vocational career education for beneficiaries in order to enhance their job-searching activities.  

It is fundamental that from the beginning, the beneficiary is directly involved in the co-planning of the process. Adecco Foundation tried to combine the traditional theoretical framework of career education with the Community Based Approach (UNHCR). CBA motivates people in the community to participate in a process which allows them to express their needs and to decide their own future with a focus on their empowerment. The fact that they are active participants in decision-making (they share the responsibility) requires a high degree of awareness. 


  1. Diversity & Inclusion outreach sessions for enterprises  

The goal of the Diversity & Inclusion program is: the creation of an inclusive working environment that recognizes diversity as a business value; and driving innovation within the private sector, enhancing the company’s and organization’s economic performance and competitiveness. 

Nowadays, diversity management and the inclusion of people with different backgrounds is a driving force of the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategy of many companies. The outreach sessions on diversity are tailored educational programs targeting the private sector that integrate both theory and practice. These sessions involve: specific surveys for HR staff, CSR managers, Trade Union Representatives, and need-reviews about diversity training. The diversity session can also be an innovative training session with the employees using theatre, storytelling, cooking, human library laboratories, and other creative means of expression. These activities are very important for the inclusion process of refugees as they aim to sensitize the corporate management about inclusiveness and further awareness regarding the value of diversity. 

The systemic approach (multilevel and multi-stakeholder approach) and the project has already been adapted, replicated, and broadened in scale in other areas and work environments. This approach considers the possibility of geographical mobility towards more productive contexts in Italy, in which people can regain previously acquired skills and demonstrate their professionalism. The approach is therefore particularly important in terms of sustainability regarding jobs and livelihoods. 

The integration perspective involves a two-way process: both refugees and host communities play a crucial role in ensuring that refugees have access to jobs, education, housing, health, culture and language and that they feel part of the new environment. Instead of problematizing the issue of refugees, this approach creates a sustained, positive difference in the lives of refugees and host communities. 


  • UNHCR – Italy 
  • Servizio Centrale (Minister of Interior) 
  • NGOs, NPOs, Social Cooperatives, local SPRAR/SIPROIMI Hotspot centers in charge of refugees 
  • Network of private companies (for the inclusion path and workshop)  
  • Trade Association (for the participation workshops) 
  • ITER (Istituto Terapeutico Romano - Cattolica University Rome, recognized by the Ministry of Education and Research) 

Challenges and how they were overcome

Challenges faced included: 

  • legal and administrative barriers (e.g. limited labor market access for asylum seekers and asylum only granted temporarily); 
  • lack of institutional support or poor resourcing of available support (e.g. lack of coordination among different integration tools, lack of staff in government agencies, lack of available knowledge about host country, lack of tailor-made approaches); 
  • economic and labour market challenges (e.g. low demand in labor, high competition for low-qualified jobs, exploitation and undeclared work); 
  • language, qualification and educational challenges (e.g. lack of language skills, little work experience, loss of skills and disruption of the education path, forced inactivity, time- and cost-consuming recognition of qualifications and skills) 
  • social challenges (e.g. discrimination, lack of social networks, psychological barriers, poverty). 

How challenges were overcome: 

  • Development of the skills and employability of beneficiaries 

Offering specific vocational trainings has been useful to transfer technical and transversal skills that enhance the chances to achieve the desired employment and preferred career choice. Specific trainings were also helpful to increase the existing competencies of participants, giving them the opportunity of entering in the labour market at a higher level. Part of the courses were designed in a "tailor-made" manner by considering goals, ambitions and professional projects of the involved beneficiaries. Each training course respects important sustainability and accessibility requirements for beneficiaries by using tools, methodologies and classroom approaches delivered by teachers specialized in training for people from foreign origin and establishing collaborative experience in previous projects developed by the Adecco Foundation for refugees. 

Every inclusion path is agreed upon with the refugee and their referent social worker in order to implement an active and participatory process of self-empowerment and self-efficiency (coping). 

  • Development of “train the trainer” sessions with relevant public officers, NGOs, and NPOs in order to share best practices, methodologies, and approaches and in order to implement corporate partnerships and foster private/public networking (capacity building and participatory needs analysis with “world café”). 
  • Promoting equal opportunities and diversity management in the organizations with specific audiences (Diversity & Inclusion sessions). 
  • Facilitating the dialogue with public stakeholders (Minister of Interior, NGOs, NPOs) in order to manage legal matters, develop geographical mobility systems, and promote data analysis and new methodologies and approaches. 

Results of the Good Practice

  • Self-reliance: more than 50% of beneficiaries have been hired on a fixed term-permanent contract and could live outside the reception facilities providing for their family and contributing to the host society; 
  • Improvement of professional skills: 100% of beneficiaries enhanced their own professional skills by attending the vocational guidance and training activities; 
  • Successfully testing inclusion paths based on a systemic approach: vocational, professional training, housing, geographical mobility and outreach sessions for companies; 
  • Increased number of refugees benefiting from the project methodologies as result of the activities reaching a wider audience; 
  • Implementation of private-public partnerships;  
  • Increased awareness about benefits of diversity management in the private sector through the guidelines contained in the “Inclusion work paths for Refugees”. 

Next Steps  

The new project, MEP (Modelling  Employability Process for refugees), wants to institutionalize and give sustainability to the interregional labor mobility process to facilitate the access to the job market to those refugees with “medium and high employability profile” hosted in the reception system in the area with high unemployment rate.