On May 3, the USAID Economic Resilience Activity (ERA), the State Employment Service, and the NGO “Prostir Mozhlyvostei” launched a training program for career counselors. The training involves sessions for specialists of the State Employment Service who will work with both female and male veterans upon their return to civilian life. The career counselors will be trained by practitioners on the specifics of communication with veterans, psychodiagnostic methods, behavioral models in crisis situations, the basics and priorities of state veteran policies, and be guided on additional opportunities for veterans in the field of education and medical services, including through working with employers who need to prepare their staff for the return of employees from the front.
The training lasts for three days, during which the participants will learn about veterans’ current problems and needs, how to communicate with combat trauma survivors and their families, how to better interact with employers, and how to offer social services to help veterans adapt and reintegrate into civilian life after returning from the front. The program’s trainers include representatives of the Coalition of Veterans’ Spaces, the Charitable Foundation “Where We Are, There Is Ukraine”, experts who participated in the development of veterans’ policies, as well as a veteran entrepreneur, and a military psychologist.
“In the near future, veterans will return to work, to their families, and to the communities where they lived. We need to be ready to meet them, because people with new experience will come to the communities, and they will need psychological and physical adaptation into the community. That is why we are launching this large-scale career counselors training. We have taken some elements from the American experience and are adapting them to Ukrainian realities. Our team believes that a veteran needs a family and community for adaptation and integration and that the first and most important support begins with the family. Such training is very relevant, we should not wait for victory, we need to prepare today, and think about how we can adapt people with frontline experience back into society, because often veterans’ families are displaced and become residents of a new community, so there are many more challenges they face than just employment”, said Oksana Koliada, project manager at the NGO “Prostir Mozhlyvostei”.
Ksenia Bloshchuk, a specialist at the Kharkiv Employment Center said:
“We have been working with veterans since 2014, but now we expect the number of requests for assistance to increase significantly. Already today, we have demobilized veterans coming to us who want to have some rest after returning from the front, receive unemployment benefits, and some of them are ready to study. This is what these veterans tell our specialists. Our task is to involve a psychologist and a career counselor in this work and help veterans adapt to civilian life, help some of them to take a training course and learn a new profession, and others to get a grant for their own business.”
Natalka Sinchyshena, HR Department Director of the State Employment Center also noted.
“At the State Employment Service, we are implementing a competency-based approach to personnel management, and staff training is aimed at developing corporate competencies. One of them is proper communication with clients, including veterans, for effective employment. We are already receiving requests from demobilized veterans. Therefore, our specialists must know the state’s veteran policies, and where our niche is in them, communicate properly, and be able to identify the client’s needs. If a veteran requires assistance from other agencies, they need to understand who to refer them to for targeted assistance. After all, not all veterans who come to us are ready to work immediately. We engage our staff psychologists to prepare our personnel to communicate with veterans.”
The program is aimed at training specialized career counselors from all over Ukraine, to more effectively support veterans and their families to undertake job search, professional development, or self-employment. Over 1,000 specialized veterans’ career counselors are expected to be trained over the course of the program, which will take place between May 2023 – May 2024. Thirty trainees from all over Ukraine form the first group that started the training.
Case managers – people who organize social services (such as medical and psychological) and communicate with employers as well as veterans’ families and know the history of veterans living in the community – will work with the career counselors.
Background: On April 18, 2023, the State Employment Service, the NGO “Prostir Mozhlyvostei”, and the USAID Economic Resilience Activity (ERA), signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to launch the specialized training program for career counselors to work with veterans and their families.