Finding work is easier with new technology to help migrants enter the job market
To mark World Refugee Day on June 20, 2020, a new mobile app called WORKEEN launched to help migrants, asylum seekers and refugees gain access to the job market.
WORKEEN is a serious game app created by a team of political scientists, sociologists, economists and software engineers based in seven European countries, and developed under the leadership of Anna Triandafyllidou, the Canada Excellence Research Chair in Migration and Integration at Ryerson University, with Professor Simone Baglioni from the University of Parma and scientific coordinator of the Horizon2020 SIRIUS research project. The app provides practical guidance and hands-on, soft-skills training for anyone entering the labour market for the first time. The app draws from the research conducted in the Horizon 2020 research project, “SIRIUS – Skills and Integration of Migrants, Refugees and Asylum Applicants in European Labour Markets, external link,” and is one of the first of its kind to offer interactive “training” that helps recently arrived migrant job seekers and EU citizens who are new entrants to the labour market effectively obtain and start a job in their new country. With this release, the app is now available in several European countries and has potential for a Canadian release in the future.
WORKEEN guides job seekers through two stages of job search and workplace integration. It provides extensive information on how to adjust to new or unknown work and social environments, and provides interactive gaming scenarios to help users develop the soft skills they need to be successful.
Stage 1: What you need to know and do to obtain a job offer
The first stage of WORKEEN helps to direct the job seeker on the necessary steps to secure an offer of employment. The app provides a checklist to help the user identify documentation they will need in their job search, such as their identity documents, language certificates, evidence of previous employment or education, and work permits. The user is then guided on how to present their skills and past experience through the creation of an online profile that is relevant to the new work and social environment they are entering. Next, WORKEEN leads users through the final stage of a job search, providing information on how to contact a placement agency, write a cover letter and curriculum vitae and prepare for a job interview.
Stage 2: How to succeed in your new role
Once the first stage is successfully completed, the job seeker can then explore WORKEEN’s interactive activities to help them prepare to enter a new workplace. Stage 2 is designed to help new employees become familiar with their new country or with a new position so they can avoid unpleasant tensions. Stage 2 also makes job seekers aware of their rights and prepares them to address potential exploitation and abuse. A serious game like WORKEEN provides participants with training on matters such as workplace etiquette, gender issues, everyday habits, communication issues, dress codes, as well as labour standards and regulations. WORKEEN creates scenarios to help users navigate challenging situations from simple miscommunication during everyday encounters with co-workers or supervisors, to facing bullying or abusive behaviour in the workplace or employment rights violations.
The WORKEEN app is free of charge and available on the Google Play store for Android devices, external link. It can be directly downloaded by migrants, refugees and asylum seekers, or anyone wanting to develop their soft skills to gain employment. In addition, the app can be used for individual or collective training sessions organized by employment agencies, migrant organizations and other stakeholders. The app is available in English, Arabic, Farsi, Czech, Danish, Finnish, French, Greek and Italian.