What is SEPAL?
Special points of interest
Apprenticeship – the vocational training at the workplace that is conducted on the basis of an apprenticeship contract.
NEET – youth aged 15-29 years old who are Not in Education, Employment or Training; NEETs aged 18-29 years old are the target group of SEPAL.
WISE (Work Integration Social Enterprise) – developing supported employment services as a specialized department within existing organisation or social enterprise.
Social Innovation through Supported Employment
Supported Employment is a methodology that helps people belonging to vulnerable groups to obtain and maintain paid work in the open labour market.
SEPAL innovation is represented by the integration of vocational training (apprenticeship) with supported employment. Given the particularities of NEETs target groups, such as lack or insufficient work experience and a less clear vocational path, this mixture is needed to facilitate selection of the best career options, given the existent competences and labour market offers. Also, this model encourages co-finance of private sector that is always interested to recruit competent labor force to support business growth and profitability. Labor authorities are becoming partners in the field of employment and are sensitized at the employment of the most vulnerable groups.
The process starts with assessing the existing skills and competences, followed by 4 months of apprenticeship stages within social enterprises or private firms and 2 months of internship within private firms. Vocational training at the work place – social enterprise or public firm – capitalizes on existing motivation and lowers the chances of drop-out. Apprenticeship programs are needed to support the existing career goals that are unmet due to lack of competences. Also, they provide a smooth transition from unemployment to a structured activity, adjust expectations and prepare the youth for future employment. Both soft skills and practical skills that are needed to maintain job and obtain success are trained during the apprenticeship program. Internship programs further enhance the development of work skills. Ideally the internship is to be continued with employment on the open labour market.