The step back into working life

By Laura TomassiniMisch PautschPit Reding Switch to German for original article

A stroke of fate, the "wrong" social environment, a turn that leads somewhere you never wanted to end up: An unfortunate situation is often followed by private as well as professional consequences, one of which is the loss of one's job. For many people the way back into working life is difficult.

People with a rather difficult past often have a hard time on the regular job market, because only few companies and employers are open to candidates who carry a risk. Whether it is a potential relapse into addiction, interpersonal hurdles due to a previous stay in prison or precarious living conditions in marginalised social groups that make work bound by rules difficult – anyone who hires a job seeker whose life has been marked by lows must show tolerance and empathy, because only then can the re-entry into the world of work be a win for both parties.

"It is about meeting people right where they are at that moment and walking the path with them. You have to work in a resource-oriented way. This means not looking at what they can no longer do, but what they can still do, and maintaining and strengthening these resources so that the deficits do not become so important", explains Raoul Schaaf, Director of the Comité National de Défense Sociale (CNDS). The CNDS was founded in 1967 and recognised as a non-profit organisation in 2010. Its mission: to help those who have already fallen through the cracks and to help prevent others from being marginalised in the first place.

Stability and stabilisation

The committee's tasks also include providing support for people in re-entering work life, because, according to Schaaf: "Three things are important for a person: to have a roof over their head, to establish sustainable social contacts and to be able to do meaningful work. " Stability is the motto and stabilisation the mission of the CNDS. The concept of professional reintegration, which refers to the last aspect mentioned by Schaaf and is ideally the ultimate goal of stabilisation, has been established through the introduction of the Income for Social Inclusion (REVIS) and goes beyond mere stabilisation, he says. "With the former, the priority is to reintegrate people into the primary job market, while with stabilisation the focus is a priori on getting some structure back into their daily lives", the CNDS director explains.

With its contact points and help services such as the Abrigado drug help centre, the Vollekskichen or the CNDS housing options, the association tries to help people in need on a personal level, while the "Services d'Entraide", "Naturaarbechten" and "Nei Aarbecht" are intended to contribute to activation and socio-professional stabilisation. "In the area of drug addiction, the first step is to offer people alternative options to get them out of the scene. Our Taba toy shop is the first port of call here, offering employment during the day, but which less rigidly organised than would be the case with other jobs."

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