Statistics show the harsh reality facing many EU women. 1 in 4 women across Europe experience domestic violence over their lifetimes and between 6-10% of women suffer domestic violence in a given year (Council of Europe, 2002). 68% of human trafficking victims are women (2013, Eurostat). A significant proportion of refugee women living in the UK have experienced violence prior to arrival and they remain vulnerable to violence in the UK, their country of asylum (Refugee Council, 2012). There continues to be a need to provide high quality support to vulnerable women at risk of exclusion from the labour market and from their local communities. As well as providing better training for vulnerable women, support workers also need to be aware coaching and training skills in order to help those they support to become more independent.
The following skills have been identified as essential for Support Workers (both paid and volunteer) working with vulnerable women in order to adequately support women to be empowered for employability or entrepreneurship either as one to one or groups (Power to Change Report, 2008):
• excellent group management skills, including the ability to plan and facilitate group sessions effectively;
• excellent communication skills, including clear verbal delivery and positive body language;
• active listening skills, and the ability to respond empathetically to the group members;
• the ability to challenge participants, where relevant and necessary, in a non-confrontational but assertive manner;
• the ability to handle issues, such as anger, in the group;
• an understanding of professional boundaries and the facilitator’s limitations within the group, e.g. not getting personally involved with the women’s lives.
EMPOWER aims to equip these skills to both target groups (Support Workers and vulnerable women themselves) via the EMPOWER Training Programme (training knowledge, skills and abilities in tools and methods for increasing confidence and awareness of strengths for employability) and EMPOWER Circles Programmes (action learning and increased self-reflection for success).
Our objectives are to:
-Equip Support Workers working with vulnerable women with the soft skills training necessary to pass these skills onto women in order to increase their employability and entrepreneurship opportunities.
– Equip vulnerable women with greater confidence, belief & resilience to succeed economically.