Finding a job’s a full-time job: Dispatch from Moldova’s SYSLAB

23 Feb 2015

One of the programme’s participants (Photos: Cristina Lisii) One of the programme’s participants (Photos: Cristina Lisii)

I recently had a chance to check out one of the SYSLAB Centres in Moldova.

SYSLAB works with people who have been unemployed for a long term, returning immigrants, and recent graduates who may lack relevant work experience.

It may seem simple at first glance, but I’ve found that what SYSLAB actually offers is a lot more than just your average training session.

1.  Personalized advice

Unlike online resources or other training programmes, SYSLAB offers personalized advice and short face-to-face coaching sessions with career advisers.

Users report that this has helped them to clarify their goals and decide how best to move forward.

Structured introspection is a key component of this work.

Olga Tumuruc used to work as a public servant before going on leave. She realized she wanted to change her career path, though she wasn’t sure how to proceed.

“Perhaps the most important thing that happened while at SYSLAB was understanding what I am interested in doing further. With the support of SYSLAB’s career advisors I was able to objectively assess my abilities in order to reach my desired career.”

Olga is now employed as a lawyer.

2.  Moral support

Knowing that there are others dealing with the same struggle can be a solid boost to one’s self esteem.

SYSLAB recruits groups of participants undergoing similar journeys. Together, they can relate insights about their successes and failures in a safe space for moral support and knowledge sharing.

Inga Lipovan is a returning immigrant who lived for 13 years in Lithuania. She came to SYSLAB in a state of despair, having been unable to find a job that matched her career expectations.

“The most helpful for me was communication with people in a similar situation as me.”

These days, she works as a project assistant at a charity for refugees.

3.  Finding a job is a full-time job

In following a structured process, the participants put in the time and effort necessary to find a job.

They visit the SYSLAB centre everyday for courses, simulations, face-to-face counseling, and to work on their job applications.

Besides the obvious benefits of intensive and consistent job-hunting efforts – there is a more subtle advantage of having a permanent “work” schedule. It develops discipline and prepares the participants for work life even before they get the job.

The administrator of one of the SYSLAB’s centres, Tatiana Lapicus, put it like this:

“All of our applicants at SYSLAB, when they first begin, have the necessary experience, but are not prepared to convince the employers of that.”

From what I learned, the unique, personal approach that SYSLAB adopted ensures that participants are not only prepared – but excited - to get out there and take on the job market.

I’m looking forward to coming back and visiting soon!

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