Employment can be defined as the most effective way of giving people independence and financial security, but social inclusion too remains an important matter. Moreover, unemployment goes beyond economic concerns to psychological ones as a job loss includes the loss of a routine, security and connection to other people. Studies show that important mental health issues are linked to social exclusion and unemployment as the latter (especially when long-term) impairs people’s resilience. This vicious cycle could be addressed thanks to theatre practice with a special focus on social inclusion and resilience, increased by positive feedback.
Theatre has often been used as a teaching tool; in antiquity theatre was meant to educate citizens and during the Renaissance the humanist and teacher Erasmus used theatre to teach languages. Since then, theatre has been further developed as a training tool.
Theatrical activities have been proven to develop the following skills (source: SpotOn! programme) such as:
– Social skills
– Entrepreneurial skills
– Analytical skills
– Leadership skills
– Communication skills
– Intercultural communication skills
Theatre also teaches self-reliance, which has been identified by the European Commission as an important learning objective in a White Paper on education and training: “to examine education and training in the context of employment does not mean reducing them simply to a means of obtaining qualifications. The essential aim of education and training has always been personal development and the successful integration of Europeans into society through the sharing of common values, the passing on of cultural heritage and the teaching of self-reliance”.
Furthermore the Council of the EU has acknowledged in the Council Recommendation of 20/12/2012 on the validation of non-formal and informal learning that “the validation of learning outcomes, namely knowledge, skills and competences acquired through non-formal and informal learning can play an important role in enhancing employability and mobility, as well as increasing motivation for lifelong learning, particularly in the case of the socio-economically disadvantaged or the low-qualified”.
Therefore, theatre is a powerful social inclusion conveyor in addition to an educational and soft skills building tool.
The Fake It Till You Make It project brings together three important European dimensions: soft transferable skills for employability, social inclusion and innovative teaching methodologies. On the one hand, it aligns with the EU recommendations for informal and non-formal learning and the “Towards the learning society” white paper on education and training. On the other, it encourages social inclusion and soft skills for employability development, which both fall within the main objectives of the 5 targets for the EU in 2020.
The project aims at providing participants with soft skills for social inclusion and employability, building their resilience and fostering non-formal learning through an innovative and engaging methodology. Finally, a special focus on the intersectional and intergenerational aspect will be given.
Unemployed people belonging to social groups at risk or facing discrimination in finding work; including women, older workers (aged 50+), people under 24 (especially those in care system), ethnic minorities, migrants, people with disabilities, living in remote areas, from lower income background or long-term unemployed (12 months), etc.
However, research in the partner countries of the project has shown that conflict at work is highly present, but the amount of managers with mediation training is low. The more efficient an employer is to integrate a migrant in the workplace, the more successfully a migrant integrates into society and can thus contribute to the economy. This makes intercultural mediation a crucial skill for managers to have in order to maximise talent in the workplace across Europe and improve the image of migrants within communities.