Language has many dimensions: It influences our personal and social identity, establishes cohesiveness to a certain group, and gives us a socio-cultural, religious and value-related structure which we can relate to. The change of language-usage in daily life with which migrants are confronted may disintegrate these structures and implicitness. Migration often means holding a balance between maintaining core aspects of personal and social identity and being open to enter a new “world of language”.
Even strong efforts seldom lead to speaking the new language with the same variability as the first language. This particularly has influence on migrants’ vocational integration in the host country: Not being able to speak the language without mistakes is often estimated as being incompetent; thus finding adequate and qualified work is a big challenge.
Teachers of “second language courses” for migrants point out that there is an increasing demand for developing specific vocation related language teaching material additional to material for language-learning as such as specific vocation related terms, exercises and explanations are missing. Teaching words and phrases required in working life will contribute to enhancing migrant’s labour market opportunities; at the same time it bolsters migrant’s self-confidence by being endued with specific vocationally needed knowledge. Furthermore, it supports the process of becoming familiar with the “second (or third) culture” thus strengthening social affiliation.
Another important aspect in this regard is that migration background is often prejudicial to job applications. While there is intensive discussion about the shortage of staff in view of demographic changes and bottlenecks in some places, in practice young foreigners and especially adult migrants suffer discrimination in the labour market. Besides, job application’s requests in written as well as spoken form and language knowledge necessary to carry out the job often differ. Thus it is necessary to sensitise employers regarding above mentioned discrepancies. Moreover, gaining knowledge about employers’ perspectives and demands would contribute to trainer’s work.
The Project “Meet the Need” therefore focuses two themes:
- Providing vocation related required teaching material
- Sensitising employers for discrepancies and discriminating aspects in job assessments