Blue Collar Toolbox
Topic: Digital Solutions for Employment Services
The “Toolbox for promotion of blue collar1 employment opportunities and vocational education” – Blue Collar Toolbox was initially developed by the GIZ ‘Promoting Blue Collar Jobs’ project in Egypt, and was complemented by experience drawn from other GIZ projects and promoted through the GIZ Sector Network for Sustainable Economic Development – Middle East and North Africa.
The toolbox is designed for a broad range of stakeholders involved in job orientation, preparation and matching, particularly addressing blue collar workers. It endeavours to encourage students, graduates and job seekers to work in this field. The target groups include:
- public institutions, public and private employment service providers, business associations
and NGOs in partner countries;
- projects and programmes run by GIZ and other donor organisations, as well as international
The toolbox fulfils the following objectives:
- to promote an integrated approach to enhancing society’s acceptance of blue collar work by improving its public image through social marketing campaigns, showcasing high-quality jobs in companies and providing support with job orientation;
- to encourage stakeholders to replicate proven and innovative approaches to job orientation and preparation by providing essential information and guidance;
- to disseminate proven tools and approaches that enhance the image and quality of blue collar work(ers);
- to provide ready-made and practice-oriented instruments developed
- to share lessons learned and best practice in a user-friendly way.
The toolbox consists of eight chapters (including chapters on social marketing campaigns, job orientation, job profiles and job quality). Each chapter provides an insight into the topic, relevant tools and comprehensive materials (ready-made materials, studies mainly in English, some in Arabic).
The tools themselves have three parts:
- The first part helps the users to decide whether this tool is the most appropriate one for the specific challenge they wish to address. It also provides information on what resources are required and how long it takes to implement the tool.
- The second part ‘What to Do’ contains a step-by-step approach on how to implement the tool.
- The third part ‘What to Observe’/‘Pros and Cons’ summarises the most important recommendations to ensure the tool is successfully implemented.
The tools include both standard employment services (e.g. job fairs) customised for the target group of blue collar workers, as well as innovative approaches on how to reach this target group (e.g. a regular smart blue collar magazine called ‘Shoghlana’).
The toolbox encourages an integrated approach to promoting the blue-collar segment. It aims to combine marketing and communication approaches with activities that promote more work that is decent and job quality for bluecollar workers, and more targeted job orientation.
The toolbox is available online at blue-collar-toolbox.com and has been promoted through the GIZ Sector Network for Sustainable Economic Development – Middle East and North Africa, as well as selected GIZ employment promotion projects. employment promotion projects.
Compiling and publishing an online toolbox requires a sequence of different activities:
- Ideally, the tools should be based on field-tested instruments and approaches. There should therefore either be a pilot implementation of a broad range of proposed activities or access provided to relevant pilot projects.
- The development of replicable tools requires an assessment of the implementation of the tools mainly with respect to their effectiveness, impact, the resources required and lessons learned (surveys, interviews, quantitative and qualitative analysis).
- An overall concept for the toolbox needs to be created, including strategic decisions on target groups, content and structure.
- The information for each tool needs to be documented following a standard structure.
- The layout needs to be designed together with a technical solution for online presentation.
- A marketing and dissemination strategy needs to be developed and implemented to ensure it reaches a broad target group.
The activities described above require a range of different experts:
- experts acquainted with instruments and approaches in the field of employment services, particularly linked to blue collar workers;
- M&E specialists in the quantitative and qualitative analysis of implementation;
- graphic designers and IT experts in the layout and design of websites;
- marketing and social media experts to develop a communication strategy.
In addition to human resources, funds are also needed to host the website (annual fee).
Experience shows that it takes approximately 6-12 months to compile and document the information, work on the layout and publish the online toolbox.
- Since its publication in 2014, the website has continued to attract approximately 600 visitors per month from Egypt, Europe (Germany and Italy) and North America.
- The toolbox serves as a source of inspiration and reference for GIZ programmes in the field of employment promotion (e.g. ‘Employment Promotion Programme’, Jordan) and for other toolboxes.
- Make it practical: there are many sources, that describe employment services in general, yet organisations struggle when putting these services into practice. The toolbox therefore tries to provide advice and as many practical tips and hints as possible to enable the information to be replicated immediately without having to follow the same learning curve.
- Invest in layout: it is essential to present the wealth of information, materials and insights in a user-friendly and attractive way. Even though layout is a time- and resource-consuming task, it considerably increases the chances of the toolbox being used and the tools being replicated.
- Early investment into M&E: the core of the toolbox is made up of field-tested instruments and approaches. To understand their effectiveness, success factors and potential pitfalls, a coherent M&E framework established at the start will considerably facilitate the collection and documenting of relevant information.
- Develop a smart approach to dissemination: it is highly recommended to promote this type of toolbox through platforms
and networks, which are frequented by practitioners seeking a proven approach.
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