Article by APEM – Agencia Para El Empleo Madrid
“The development of skills is not only about finding a job but also about having a fulfilling life”.
“I declare myself a fan of the Master the Act initiative, approach and methodology for having detected the need to work through theatrical and narrative techniques to develop skills, because they will have an effect on finding a job, on keeping it and also on the rest of the aspects of a person’s life” says Jordi Navarro, Spanish inclusion and labour diversity consultant. “Master the Act training is the possibility to systematise experience and practice, and certainly to learn more. I think it can bring a lot of value to my work, to the work of the foundation where I work, and therefore, it is to the benefit of the people we serve“.
Navarro was one of the participants in the Focus Group organised by the Madrid Employment Agency, partner in the Consortium of the European project Master the Act, which analysed the training modules for the new profile of Creative Mentor for Employability. He works with vulnerable groups in the ADECCO Foundation1
“I work with people with intellectual disabilities with a mental health diagnosis and with vulnerable groups, in particular transsexual people, who come to the Foundation not because they are transsexual but because they are in the most desperate of situations. What all these people have in common, roughly speaking, is that in their day-to-day lives they don’t have the opportunity to use certain skills, so creating a space where they can train them seems phenomenal to me”, he says from the headquarters of the Adecco Foundation where she welcomed us to talk about his experience using innovative methodologies from media such as radio or theatre to develop skills that help the people he works with not only in their search for employment but also in their personal lives. Skills development is not just about finding a job but about having a fulfilling life. You do a great job interview but then you have to keep the job. That’s part of our job: to tell them, take note, this is part of the journey. Hopefully it’s the shortest part but the long part comes later and that’s where the bread and butter are at stake“.
He was fascinated by the Fakeit methodology used in Master the Act “and it seemed to me that someone was putting a name to an experience similar to what we had done in our Itaca initiative. Giving it a name is very important because otherwise it doesn’t exist“.
Itaca and Empleario: theatre and communication to promote the integration of people with disabilities into the labour market.
Jordi Navarro is a communicative person, very active, welcoming and with a vocation of service to the most vulnerable. “I’m from Barcelona, I’ve been in Madrid for 9 years now. I started collaborating in a free radio station when I was in High School. It was, very left-wing, self-managed, assembly-based, very anarchist, like the punks of the 80s. There came a time when we said “we are very left-wing, but we don’t do anything for the neighbourhood, so we decided to approach organisations and offer them to make a radio programme and my first contact through the radio was doing a workshop with people from a day-care centre with a mental health diagnosis.”
Years later and already in the ADECCO Foundation, Navarro proposed a similar experience creating a radio workshop as a means for the inclusion of people in a situation of social vulnerability. “I proposed the radio workshop under the name of Itaca. The profile of the people involved is not people to start working tomorrow, it is a long-term project, hence the name Itaca, as the song by Lluis Llach goes: I hope it takes you a long time to get to Itaca and that you learn a lot2
They were people with a lack of autonomy, an excess of overprotection and low self-esteem, few social skills and always in a very bubble-like environment. The ADECCO Foundation is like a steppingstone to get out of a bubble environment and get a job in an ordinary company”.
After the radio workshop named Gigantes, Jordi Navarro and his work partner Vanesa Sánchez, decided to go into theatre “I very modestly did clown workshops in Barcelona because I liked it, but I am not a playwright and I had never staged anything”.
The aim of the theatre was to help people with different diagnoses of disability, in the group they work with, to develop their memory, communication skills and, in general, socio-labour skills that could help them find a job. It was important for them to develop discipline by attending weekly rehearsals as well as the challenge of learning a role. The group was called Empleario and 20 participants took part in it. Itaca is the platform that encompasses, in addition to Empleario, 4 other workshops related to communication, theatre and culture: Gigantes, Empleario, Protagonistas 360, Viajes de Ítaca and Casa de letras to achieve the socio-labour insertion of the groups with which Fundación Adecco works.
The play, La Apuesta (The Chance), a play that premiered in the Sala Mirador theatre in Madrid was written by Jordi Navarro himself. It is about a young woman who receives a call from a company interested in her job profile and seeking to offer her a position among its staff. Navarro was inspired by Woody Allen’s Mighty Aphrodite and, created a Greek chorus composed of the supporting actors in which they appeared with masks. Each of them said 6 sentences in the play in order to make it easier for them to perform in front of the audience and state their lines. The play premiered on 29 November 2019. In their view, it was a very rewarding experience despite the nerves, but “if the objective is that after the experience they find employment, shorter projects are better” he says. In this sense, “Master the Act seems to me more plausible in the future when it comes to repeating the methodology and being able to apply it. I would love to do it, to be honest“.
Finally, he says that he will gladly take the course to become a Creative Mentor for Employability and that he will be happy to travel to the international meeting that will take place in Matera next October.
- The ADECCO Foundation is the result of the Corporate Social Responsibility assumed by the Adecco Group as a world leader in Human Resources management. Its main objective is the integration into the labour market of those people who find it most difficult to access the labour market. – People with disabilities – Long-term unemployed over 45 years of age – Women with unshared family responsibilities or victims of gender violence – Other groups at risk of social exclusion. https://fundacionadecco.org/quienes-somos/
- Spanish musician and singer-songwriter of Catalan language, who belonged to the group Els Setze Jutges and who can be considered as one of the standard-bearers of the Catalan Nova Cançó.