First focus group in Romania!
ADV Romania organised the first focus group of the B-WISE project in Romania to discuss WISEs!
At the invitation of RISE and ADV Romania, on April, 8th 2022, a national focus group was held to validate the model of social enterprises of insertion in Romania against the European model.
The meeting took place within the framework of the B-WISE project - Erasmus+ strategic project, which aims to develop a European strategy (Blueprint) for skills development in the work integration social enterprises sector (ISI, in Romanian; WISE, in English).
The national partners for Romania are the Romanian Network of Social Integration Enterprises through Economic Activity RISE Romania and ADV Romania - Fundația Alături de Voi Romania.
The focus group was attended by:
The discussion focused on the European model of work integration social enterprises – WISEs - and its three sub-models - productive, vocational training and social enterprise. At the national level, two enterprises operate in the same way as the European models. Also, two possible new models have emerged - the social enterprise specialised in placement and one model of social enterprise which integrates production, training and social support functions – a 'one stop-shop' model.
Apart from the analysis of the European model of WISEs with application to Romanian organisations, the following aspects were also discussed:
- The development of digital skills for WISEs staff (managers, integration counsellors, workers with support needs), linked to the advancement of information and communication technology with major impact on all economic sectors;
- The mapping the digital skills that will be needed in the WISEs sector in the future and preparing a plan for their development taking into account the traditions, entrepreneurial culture and specificities of WISEs activity in each EU country;
- Developing education and training programmes in relation to the labour market needs of the social economy sector;
- Exchange of good practice of WISE, at European, national and regional level;
- Identifying, analysing and developing ways to increase the attractiveness of the social economy, social entrepreneurship and the WISE sector, raising awareness among stakeholders and local communities to increase the employment of people with support needs.
The focus group participants evaluated the activities presented by WISEs representatives on the basis of an evaluation grid for WISEs structured in three categories:
- entrepreneurial characteristics of the WISEs (revenues, turnover, profit, investments, technology used, competitors in the market);
- supporting public policies (direct and indirect public support for WISEs, subsidies for disadvantaged wokers, turnover generated from contracts with public authorities);
- issues related to the job integration of people with support needs (status of employees with support needs, remuneration of employees with support needs, share of workers with support needs in the total number of employees of the WISE, employment on fixed-term or open-ended contracts, issues related to the social and professional integration of workers with support needs, labour market placement of workers with support needs, type of disabilities of workers with support needs in the WISE, work of integration counsellors).
"The results provided by the focus group, corroborated with quantitative research based on a questionnaire submitted to WISEs staff (managers, integration counsellors, workers with support needs) carried out in the last quarter of 2021, will be deepened in the next phase of the project with a series of case studies for a number of WISEs. The aim of the quantitative (questionnaire) and qualitative (focus group and case studies) research is to produce a European Report that will describe the overall picture of the WISEs sector and the skills needs in this sector of activity, a European Strategy (blueprint) for skills development, especially digital, for social enterprises of insertion." - underlined Dr. Ciprian IFTIMOAEI, Associate Lecturer at the Faculty of Philosophy and Social-Political Sciences of "Al. I. Cuza" University of Iasi.