ILO/Turkey: Social cohesion through Workplace Adaptation Programme
The project in brief
International Labour Organization (ILO) / Turkey
2018 - 2021 (possible renewal)
The Workplace Adaptation Programme helps refugees adapt to work, while orienting them culturally in the host community. It generates self-reliance by giving them vocational, legal and socio-cultural skills that allow for a better integration and facilitate their access to the labour market.
The Workplace Adaptation Programme aims to support workplace adaptation and orientation to work culture, while contributing to collegial rapport among Syrian and Turkish workers in the same workplace, for the establishment of an efficient and peaceful working environment.
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Workplace Adaptation Programme lasts for 4-6 week divided into the following phases:
- Mapping of the enterprises employing Syrians refugees, identifying their needs.
- Development of the module in line with the needs of the employers
- Pilot implementation with the selected trainers
- In-class training on labour legislation, occupational safety and health norms, gender and intercultural dialogue delivered through interactive games with refugee and host community workers, followed by matching as “workplace buddies” (ahbab).
- Joint “homework” activities for buddies in upcoming four weeks.
- Workplace visits which serve as refreshing sessions and provide opportunity for reflecting upon the time spent with ahbabs and a final evaluation
Main activities of the Good Practice
The Workplace Adaptation Programme helps to ease the pressure on host countries by supporting employers to hire Syrian refugees when they otherwise would not. Indeed, it serves to reconcile different cultural and work ethic practices in the workplace, which were emphasized among Turkish employers as an ongoing problem with the socio-professional integration of Syrian refugees.
This initiative also helps to enhance refugees’ self-reliance by creating a better match between their skills and the local labour demand. Indeed, knowledge about the norms, rules and institutions of the local labour market facilitates a better integration process, while familiarity with the organisational culture and behavioural codes at workplace is crucial for refugees to retain employment.
The benefits of the Workplace Adaptation Programme must also be viewed in relation to the other programmes forming part of the ILO’s Refugee Response in Turkey, as it provides a pillar for these initiatives and serves to enhance their outcomes in each case. Indeed, the WAP can complement apprenticeship programmes, on-the-job trainings and employer incentive schemes that are already in place, thereby helping refugees improve their access to the labour market.
Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Services (MoFLSS), including the Turkish Employment Agency İŞKUR; Ministry of Interior; Ministry of National Education (MoNE); social partners; regional development agencies; municipalities; chambers of commerce and artisans; NGOs.
Challenges and how they were overcome
Despite the efforts of the Government of Turkey, informality remains high among small and medium businesses where Syrian refugees are mostly employed. These businesses prefer not to participate in the workplace adaptation programme, as they fear inspections and or sanctions.
How they were overcome
To be able to reach out to refugees employed in small and medium businesses, the ILO is offering to implement the workplace adaptation programme in companies that receive support from the ILO to employ workers formally. Hence, the workplace adaptation programme is offered as a complementary support to companies. ILO also invests in building lasting relations with these businesses to ensure decent working conditions for Syrian workers and to increase their adaptability.
In addition to this, there are several global supply chains and brands producing in Turkey. These large companies have the capacity to promote their suppliers to participate in the programme. ILO, in this context, targets reaching out these suppliers, as well.
Results of the Good Practice
The programme intends to increase workers’ knowledge of labour legislation, occupational health and safety regulations and gender equality norms through an interactive training module to increase Syrian refugee workers’ adaptability to host country’s labour standards.
The programme enables Syrian refugees to enjoy better integration in workplaces by establishing ‘a buddy system’ where one Syrian worker is ‘matched’ with a Turkish worker and encouraged to plan social activities that enable constructive dialogue between refugee and host community workers in the same workplace.
Syrian beneficiaries develop their language skills while getting familiarized with the organisational culture and behavioural codes at their workplaces.
So far, approximately 750 workers have benefited from the Workplace Adaptation Programme though it has been implemented for less than a year. As part of its Refugee Response in Turkey, the ILO will continue to deliver the programme to workers while extending its scale to apprentices through a tailor-made module that will be developed specifically for them.
WAP has been implemented in Adana, Mersin, Kahramanmaraş and Gaziantep provinces in the last 1.5 years. The programme will continue in these provinces and İstanbul and Bursa in 2020.
Isabelle Kronisch, Technical Officer, ILO
Gizem Karsli, National Programme Officer, ILO
Nuran Torun Atis, Employment Officer, ILO
Christine Hofmann, Skills and Employability Specialist, ILO