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"DIMAK is now a well-known brand"

The German Information Centre on Migration, Vocational Training and Careers (DIMAK) has built up a lot of trust during its almost four years of existence in Albania. This has certainly helped during the crisis, say advisors Halisa Duka and Dorisa Lala.

Ms Duka, Ms Lala, how would DIMAK Albania operate in normal circumstances?
Dorisa Lala (DL): DIMAK participates in the "Returning to New Opportunities" programme, which assists returnees – mainly from Germany – in their professional and social reintegration. Though locals can also benefit from our advisory services. We normally hold face-to-face conversations to provide advice on individual opportunities and to establish trust.

How has your work changed during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Halisa Duka (HD): DIMAK is temporarily closed. So we're relying on counselling sessions and services that we can offer away from the centre. We have transitioned to online activities and digital training courses. Our counselling sessions are now held by phone, Skype or e-mail. But we still keep in regular contact with the people we advise. We want to ensure they're doing well during this difficult time. Psychological support is also important. Many people have lost their jobs and need some guidance. We also focus on gender issues. DIMAK helps women in particular to get through the difficult times caused by the pandemic – professionally, socially and mentally.

Mitarbeiterin des DIMAK in Albanien
Dorisa Lala is an advisor at DIMAK Albania.

Have the wishes of those taking part in your programmes changed during the corona crisis?
HD: People are now increasingly asking us for practical information, such as when our partners – the employment agencies, for example – will resume their local advice service.

Trust is important for positive collaboration. How do you establish that without direct contact?
HD: Our work is definitely based on openness and credibility. That's why lots of people have placed their trust in DIMAK over recent years. We always strive to listen to them and support them step by step with reliable information. That's paying off now.
DL: I believe that DIMAK is now a well-known brand. People know what to expect and that we do our best to find the most helpful answers to their questions.

How do you keep in contact with your partners and your network?
DL: That was a challenge at first. Everyone had to get used to the new technologies. We're planning to extend our digital training service based on our experiences during the corona crisis. We'd like to carry on offering some activities online, especially those where we received positive feedback.
HD: We also have a new concept: we're interested in organising virtual job fairs as an alternative to traditional formats.

As of: 06/2020

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