Navigating through Europe’s labour market can be quite challenging and intimidating for new arrivals. Finding and keeping a job while coming to terms with diverse social and professional cultures is a potentially daunting undertaking. In addition, administrative procedures and bureaucracy tend to make the process of identifying and responding to job opportunities more difficult. This is the process that the gamified smartphone app WORKEEN seeks to facilitate by providing guidance and free access to the European labour market via new technology. Developed by the EU-funded SIRIUS project and launched on Google Play on the occasion of World Refugee Day on 20 June, the game app guides refugees, asylum seekers and migrants in the job market. A press release on the project website explains: “It can be used in individual or collective training sessions organised by employment agencies, migrant organisations and other stakeholders. Naturally, it can be directly downloaded by migrants, refugees and asylum seekers or anyone wanting to develop their soft skills to gain employment.” As stated in a press release on the ‘InfoMigrants’ site, WORKEEN represents a genre of games “designed for a purpose other than pure entertainment.” It was created by a team of social science researchers and engineers from seven European countries and Canada.
Two-stage job search and workplace integration
The game has two levels. The first level focuses on how to look for a job and navigate through bureaucratic and administrative procedures in order to receive a job offer. Players are also provided with a checklist of the documents required for job searching in the host country, including identification, language certification, prior work experience and educational background. The second level familiarises each player with the social and professional context of the new country. It also provides training through soft skills considered essential by employers, such as workplace etiquette, as well as societal norms like acceptable behaviour and customs of the host country. Enhanced cultural awareness enables the inclusive integration of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers, and prevents misunderstandings or difficult situations that can cause embarrassment. Given SIRIUS’ aim to promote and advance an inclusive integration agenda by catering to the needs of all stakeholders and interested parties, this second level also raises new workers’ awareness of their rights and prepares them to reject potential attempts at abuse or exploitation. The app creates scenarios that prompt players to manage themselves in a range of social or work-related contexts, ranging from more straightforward communication tasks to potentially threatening or abusive situations. This interactive game is available in English, Arabic and Farsi, as well as six European languages (Czech, Danish, Finnish, French, Greek, Italian). According to a news item on the ‘Global Governance Programme’ site, the ongoing SIRIUS (Skills and Integration of Migrants, Refugees and Asylum Applicants in European Labour Markets) project “is one of the first of its kind to offer interactive ‘training’ that helps recently arrived migrant job seekers and EU citizens that are new entrants to the labour market, effectively obtain and start a job in their new country.” For more information, please see: SIRIUS project
SIRIUS, game app, WORKEEN, migrant, asylum seeker, refugee