Blog: Steps and plans following the end of the NGOST project
Research done. What’s next?
Formally, the NGOST team has finished online fieldwork, in the city we chose in Catalonia, Spain. Altogether, we conducted 51 interviews, 31 with Roma young people, and further 20 with different public servants and private experts from a wide range of services: education, training, employment promotion, social services, youth and leisure among others.
Unfortunately, Covid pandemic made it impossible to carry out an ethnographic fieldwork, with a deeper and longer physical presence of the researchers “on the field”, and to gain a better insight into the community life and its relationship with public and private services, and the rest of the city and its surroundings.
Local social services
We have established a particularly good relationship with Social Services of the district. The head of local office and the Roma intercultural mediator gave us not only support for the research but showed a certain interest for the post-research engagement actions. We held a planning session with the head of primary social attention, and the district coordinator of Social Services, in June 2021. A shared concern was not to keep conversation and planning in the domain of social services, but make STWT an inter-departmental issue, involving all public and private services related to the issue. The benefits are clear, but the risks of a too widely open long process are also well documented.
Subsequently, we submitted an executive summary of our research findings (soon, published as a public output on NGOST website), and recommendations to set up a thematic action plan.
A year dominated by COVID pandemic shifted the focus from planning to emergency resolution, which could be one of the reasons why the proposal of setting up a thematic discussion group to target the improvement of STWT of Roma young people in the city has not been considered by the city council a short and mid-term priority. Nevertheless, feedbacks from public servants have been encouraging and kept hope alive for further cooperation.
Barcelona city employment promotion
While we could not continue with the foreseen engagement with the city council, the project team was contacted by Barcelona City Council’s Department for Employment Promotion (called “Barcelona Activa” = BA). BA expressed its interest in having an overall understanding of the training and employment situation of the city’s Spanish Roma population, particularly the recent processes among the Roma young people, under the effects of Covid pandemic. BA and our team defined the objectives of this forthcoming collaboration in the following terms:
- To know the training and employment strategies of the Roma youth living in Barcelona city.
- Describe the possible impact of policies, training and employment programmes on the training and employment trajectory of Roma youth.
- Detect the training and employment needs of Roma young people and identify policies, programmes and measures that correspond to them.
- Identify programmes and initiatives in other municipalities in Spain and Europe that have obtained promising results with local minority groups at risk of being socially excluded, particularly in the labour market.
- Make recommendations for designing training and employment policies and support for entrepreneurship through general and specific services, with the aim of alleviating the situation of inequality experienced by the Roma population in Barcelona.
This upcoming research project in BCN city offers the possibility for our team to further work on the complex and understudied domain: the school-to-work transition among Roma youth, and the role of different public and private stakeholders, institutional and structural factors.