Job op­por­tu­ni­ties for the dis­ad­van­taged

Azer News - - Impact Journalism Day - By An­gelina Davy­dova

“Rab­ota-i” is a so­cial re­cruit­ment agency, based in St. Peters­burg, Rus­sia, which helps in­ter­na­tional and Rus­sian com­pa­nies re­cruit job ap­pli­cants from dis­ad­van­taged so­cial back­grounds. It seeks to pro­vide em­ploy­ment to youth who’ve re­cently left state-run or­phan­ages or NGOs, and also to young dis­abled peo­ple with no prior work ex­pe­ri­ence - both so­cial groups find it dif­fi­cult to se­cure em­ploy­ment on their own, mainly due to a lack of prac­ti­cal skills and low mo­ti­va­tion.

Tatyana, 19, a re­cent grad­u­ate from the SOS Chil­dren vil­lage Pushkin, out­side St. Peters­burg, now works as a cashier at an IKEA store. “Be­fore this I only worked un­of­fi­cially, and this is my first proper job – I re­ally had to fight hard against my fears, but I tried and it worked out”, she says. For the first nine months of her em­ploy­ment, she was un­der the su­per­vi­sion of her IKEA col­leagues and the spe­cial­ists of “Rab­ota-i”.

“If you grow up in an or­phan­age in Rus­sia, you end up hav­ing prac­ti­cally no skills by the time you leave. Pub­lic care sys­tems are very strictly struc­tured and so­cially iso­lat­ing, which means that you also tend to have very low mo­ti­va­tion for find­ing a job. You end up liv­ing on so­cial wel­fare and com­mu­ni­cat­ing with a hand­ful of other leavers”, says Mikhail Krivonos, founder of “Rab­ota-i”.

Six years ago Mikhail left his job at an in­ter­na­tional con­sult­ing com­pany. He set up a so­cial en­ter­prise “Rab­ota-i” (“rab­ota” mean­ing “work” in Rus­sian). ‘Rab­ota-i’ helps match com­pa­nies with young peo­ple with low em­ploy­ment prospects. The so­cial en­ter­prise was cre­ated fol­low­ing Mikhail Krivonos, the founder of "Rab­ota-i"

Credit: Rab­ota-i the model of sim­i­lar large-scale with adapt­ing to their new Scan­di­na­vian or­ga­ni­za­tions– em­ploy­ees, pro­vid­ing con­sul­tancy Samhall from Swe­den, Vates from and coach­ing at the work­place for Fin­land or Klapjob from Den­mark. the first six to nine months. “We are

Ev­ery year in Rus­sia some work­ing to ful­fill the de­mand of busi­nesses 10,000 to 15,000 young peo­ple leave – the fi­nan­cial sup­port and state-run so­cial care in­sti­tu­tions (be­tween con­trol of “Rab­ota-i” also comes 300 and 400 in St. Peters­burg), from a num­ber of Rus­sian and in­ter­na­tional with only 7% to 10% find­ing com­pa­nies (in­clud­ing Melon em­ploy­ment and be­com­ing part of Fash­ion Group, IKEA, Gazprom Neft, ac­tively con­tribut­ing to so­ci­ety. The East Cap­i­tal and Jochnick foun­da­tion)”, ma­jor­ity of young grad­u­ates lives on Mikhail says. so­cial wel­fare and so­cial­izes in The sec­ond tar­get group of closed groups. Some of them go “Rab­ota-i” is young peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties, onto en­gage in crim­i­nal ac­tiv­i­ties and who’ve grown up ei­ther in suf­fer from al­co­hol or drug abuse. care in­sti­tu­tions or at home. Still,

“When we first started in 2011 we most of them also find it ex­tremely might in­ter­view 30 young grad­u­ates dif­fi­cult to en­ter job mar­ket. “I have for ex­ist­ing job va­can­cies with only al­ways felt ashamed of my dis­abil­ity, five of them get­ting back to us af­ter which pre­vented my com­mu­ni­ca­tion the in­ter­view and only one se­cur­ing with peo­ple and chances of find­ing a a job – and then later leav­ing the po­si­tion job. How­ever, when I came for a job on the sec­ond day. But it is dif­fer­ent in­ter­view with Maersk Line I fi­nally now”, says Mikhail. “Rab­ota-i” felt com­fort­able, as if they didn’t no­tice in­vests in train­ing and coach­ing can­di­dates. that I was dis­abled”, says one of “Rab­ota-i” also as­sists com­pa­nies the ap­pli­cants, Alexan­der, 25.

Last year “Rab­ota-i” pro­vided em­ploy­ment train­ing for around 700 young peo­ple in St. Peters­burg. “We try to help the ones who find it the most dif­fi­cult to find jobs, young peo­ple up to 29 years old, who’ve not had an em­ploy­ment ex­pe­ri­ence of longer than six months”, says Mikhail. Most of the ap­pli­cants have found their jobs as ju­nior shop as­sis­tants, ad­min­is­tra­tive as­sis­tants, clean­ing per­son­nel, cloak­room at­ten­dants, watch­men, de­liv­ery men, cooks, re­pair­men.

“Our main aim is to help these dis­ad­van­taged young peo­ple have nor­mal lives, to ac­tively par­tic­i­pate in so­ci­ety and to start a fi­nan­cially in­de­pen­dent life”, Mikhail adds. Among the em­ploy­ers are big in­ter­na­tional and Rus­sian com­pa­nies, in­clud­ing Ah­lers, be­free, IKEA, JTI, KFC, Ul­mart, Vail­lant, ZARINA, and many oth­ers.

So far “Rab­ota-i” has only been ac­tive in the St. Peters­burg area, but it plans to ex­pand to other re­gions of Rus­sia. “Both St. Peters­burg and Moscow, Rus­sia’s largest cities, have al­most zero un­em­ploy­ment, mak­ing it eas­ier for com­pa­nies to open up for in­clu­sive em­ploy­ment”, Mikhail Krivonos ar­gues.

The com­pany has also been ac­tively co­op­er­at­ing with other so­cial en­ter­prises and NGOs that pro­vide so­cial adap­ta­tion pro­grams. “Rab­ota-i” has at­tracted more than 600 NGO so­cial work­ers en­gaged in work­ing for so­cial care in­sti­tu­tions or with dis­abled youth to spread the word about em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties for young peo­ple.

“We hope to cre­ate a frame­work avail­able for or­ga­ni­za­tions around Rus­sia, in­clud­ing rel­e­vant ap­proaches to va­can­cies and can­di­dates, and ul­ti­mately to turn the or­ga­ni­za­tion into both a kind of a net­work, and also into a sus­tain­able model which can eas­ily be re­pro­duced”, Mikhail also adds.

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