Vocational qualification of Intercultural Mediator
Developed in Slovenia to strengthen the inclusion of migrants in labour market and society
Building inclusive and welcoming communities requires provision of targeted and tailored integration support on local level. But working with migrant communities and providing integration support requires a specific set of knowledge and skills. With this purpose, the vocational qualifications of Intercultural Mediator and Community Interpreter have been developed in Slovenia.
In Slovenia, a vocational qualification can be obtained by enrolment and completion of upper secondary vocational programmes or higher vocational programmes (educational path). A vocational qualification can also be obtained by formalizing the informally acquired knowledge through a National Vocational Qualifications (NVQ) validation and certification procedure, especially suitable for adults with work experience and knowledge and skills obtained through non-formal and in-formal way. A national vocational qualification or NVQ certificate is a publicly valid document or certificate that proves that a person is qualified to perform a certain job/profession. National vocational qualifications are prepared on the basis of national vocational standards and are available on the website www.nrpslo.org and www.npk.si.
The Institute of the Republic of Slovenia for Vocational Education and Training (Center Republike Slovenije za poklicno izobraževanje – CPI) plays the leading role in the development of vocational qualifications. CPI strives to raise the quality and attractiveness of vocational education and training by designing developmental and professional solutions. CPI thus contributes to the competitiveness of the national economy and the social inclusion of the population of Slovenia.
“Two National Occupational Qualifications were established in 2020 related to the migrant inclusion, namely the Intercultural Mediator and the Community Interpreter for the Albanian Language, and in 2022, the National Occupational Qualifications for Community Interpreter for the Arabic and Persian language were established”, explains Ms. Barbara Velkov, MSc, from CPI.
The Intercultural Mediator act as a communication bridge between persons whose first language is not Slovene and stakeholders who work with migrants and is able to establish and facilitate communication and operate in an institutional and non-institutional environment. An intercultural mediator respects the principles of interculturality, based on respect for the diversity of people, coexistence between them and overcoming stereotypes and prejudices.
IOM Slovenia has in collaboration with CPI contributed to the development of the NVQ of Intercultural Mediator. IOM promotes the engagement of intercultural mediators as they can contribute importantly to inclusion of migrants as advocates and interpreters of not only languages, but also cultural meanings, beliefs, traditions and values. “IOM in Slovenia has supported extensively the development of the field of intercultural mediation in recent years, specifically in health care settings, and we believe that the new vocational qualification will further contribute to removing linguistic and cultural barriers in communication and improve the access of migrants to quality services,” explains Iva Perhavec, Head of IOM Office in Slovenia.
Furthermore, in 2020, the NVQ for a Community Interpreter for the Albanian language has been verified, NVQ for a Community Interpreter for Arabic and Farsi were established in 2022, while a NVQ for a Community Interpreter for Ukrainian language is planned to be established shortly. The Community Interpreter can provide interpretation and translation to Slovenian language for the community needs, providing quality interpretation/translation service and comply with international codes of ethics and standards for community interpretation.
“On one hand, these qualifications facilitate the integration of migrants into Slovenian society, and at the same time provide individuals with the professional qualifications needed to perform this work and thus possible employment either within governmental or non-governmental organizations or independently,” adds Ms. Barbara Velkov, CPI.
The establishment of vocational qualifications for intercultural mediator and community interpreter will certainly strengthen the employment opportunities of migrants which often face challenges with recognition of prior work experiences and obtained qualifications, contribute to a more inclusive labour market, and support inclusion of migrants into the society.
The Includ-EU project is implemented by IOM and funded by the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund of the European Union (DG HOME).