Under the theme of social cohesion, Doras committed to designing and delivering intercultural awareness training with service providers as part of the local pilot project in Limerick. The aim of this activity was to build the capacity of people working in front-line services to appropriately respond to and support people from a migrant and refugee background, and to promote equality, diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

The intercultural awareness training was designed and delivered by Doras, but we worked closely with Limerick City and County Council (LCCC) to make this training available to staff working in relevant roles within the local authorities.  This activity was selected by Doras and Limerick City and County Council to address the training needs of people working in frontline services and to address the barriers that people from a migrant and refugee background face accessing public services in Limerick. These issues were highlighted in the local research report undertaken in the early stages of the INTEgreat project and the need for training for service providers was also outlined in the Integration Strategy Framework and Social Cohesion checklists. 

The training had a focus on active participation and facilitating discussion to foster learning and skills development. The objectives of the training were for participants to learn how to approach unconscious bias, prejudice and racism; to connect their behaviour to the wider world through an exploration of anti-racism, learner-centred activities and group-work. Doras project staff gathered input from people with a lived experience of migration to inform the training design.

After delivering three sessions with staff working in Limerick City and County Council, Doras then made the training available to staff working in the Department of Social Protection. We delivered two sessions with frontline staff and a further session to trainers in the Department, to enable further roll-out of the training internally beyond the INTEgreat project to enable sustainability. 

Feedback from the training was overwhelmingly positive. It provoked deep discussion and reflection between participants, who worked together to assess their own work practices and policies, to undertake bias assessments and to consider how they could implement the learning in practical ways in the workplace going forward. 

This training presented an important opportunity to introduce intercultural awareness concepts and skills to a wide range of staff in statutory roles who are working directly with people from diverse backgrounds. The positive engagement and enthusiasm from participants has been very encouraging. Doras hope to build on this momentum and continue to engage with organisations to further develop these skills and to build capacity in this area going forward.  

For more information on the INTEgreat pilot project in Ireland, contact Aideen at a.roche@doras.org