Case studies Sambuca, the challenged
Sambuca, the challenged
Sambuca, the challenged

Sambuca, the challenged (6)

Motto: It certainly could have gone better.

Demographic and biographical Characteristics

Sambuca is 22 and lives alone. She is mother of a little boy who lives with his father, her ex-boyfriend.  She can see her son whenever she likes and wants to stay in the city to be near him. Her own family background is marked by lacking support and frictions (no contact to her mother and brother; casual, rather conflictuous contact to her father with whom she had lived until she was 18). However, she has a positive relationship to her grandparents.

Sambuca suffers from health issues (unsound respiratory system) that limit her occupational latitudes.


Educational and transitional pathways:

Sambuca did not enjoy school. After 5-6 school changes and experiences of bullying, she managed to do her “Hauptschulabschluss” (lower secondary school certificate). During the following 2-year-period of unemployment, she unsuccessfully applied for vocational trainings in different fields.

This was followed by different preparatory measures intended to bring her into vocational training or employment.

Sambuca is currently participating in another support scheme: a theatre project that is financed by the Employment Agency aiming at developing job-related competencies and at labour market inclusion. After having completed this 6-months-scheme, she will be prospectively doing a vocational preparatory course in one of the fields metal construction or gardening/andscaping. She toys with the idea of catching up with her “Realschulabschluss” (upper secondary school certificate) there and hopes to find a vocational training place in a year´s time. Summarising, to Sambuca her vocational way until now was a disappointing experience.

Motivations and Strategies:

Sambuca´s motivations to enter the labour market were low after school. “I first wanted to have a break”. She drifted along without having concrete aims for her professional future. “Within the last one and a half years, I was not in the mood for dealing with occupational questions”. Disappointing experiences have further lowered her motivation.

However, she has the diffuse, but strong wish to enter joblife. „I long to finally getting my vocational training“. Another motivation is that she knows, the staff of the Youth Club would be delighted if she would get a training.

Ad hoc learning scenarios

Coping with health and family problems

Considering Sambuca´s challenging biography that comprised instability and conflicts in the family as well as health issues, job-related questions remain a secondary problem. Due to her health problems, she had to cope with the fact that her dream of working as an “animal keeper” had been shattered. The same happened with another vocational option (painter/varnisher). Additionally, Sambuca is burdened by her family situation which is constantly on her mind, taking away resources she would need for her career entry. The social network to fill the hole of a supportive family is small. Here, the youth club plays an important role (see support services). 

Integration through theatre

Sambuca really enjoys the theatre scheme she is currently doing. This scheme is a “1-Euro-Job” (participants get 1 Euro per hour) and a vocational preparatory measure at the same time. It is financed by the Employment Agency. The young participants are asked to write a theatre peace, to design costumes, to rehearse, to learn text by hard and to perform their piece in a real theatre to real audience. They gain insight in theatre life and receive speech training. Additionally, they receive vocational application training. After having completed this 6-months-measure, Sambuca “begged” the Employment Agency to allow her to do this for the second time. Sambuca reflects that she learns much, grows more confident and likes the sense of achievement she feels when her own piece is performed on the stage.

Support Services used

Sambuca´s way from school resembles a “Maßnahmekarriere” (“career of support measures”). Since leaving school, she has participated in different support measures of the “Übergangssystem” (this term comprises the wide diversity of different measures offering vocational orientation, learning and working experiences in Germany): However, these measures rather seemed a “disruption” to her than an effective instrument to labour market integration.

The Youth Club she is visiting since the age of 7 is one of the little things Sambuca has experienced as really helpful. The collaborators of the youth club have become friends. They advice her on challenges in all parts of private life (family, pregnancy) and assist her in writing applications and looking for vocational training places. This place is a “second home” to her were she can chill  and rest. “I love this club“. 

The job center of the local Employment agency and the Social Welfare Office is an important contact regarding support measures, job search, the identification of possible job fields and the coverage of her income. However, the function of the public authorities regarding Sambuca´s occupational advancement is ambivalent. On the one hand they link to support schemes, on the other hand they create boundaries: A medical examination commissioned within the framework of career counseling has shown that many jobs are out of question for Sambuca, that she is not disposed for a vocational training yet but should invest in further education and vocational orientation. 

Sambuca´s family is a very limited source of support. Her grandparents activate her while her father does not show much interest in her occupational situation.  

Amongst Sambuca´s circle of friends, job-related topics are not raised as a topic. However, there is a colleague at the theatre scheme with whom she exchanges experiences.

It seems obvious that the support offered to Sambuca has been insufficient regarding her job integration. Highly individual solutions are needed in order to stabilize her personal situation and to discover a working field that suits her requirements.

Learning type

Sambuca cannot revert to considerable practical experience. Her own impulse to learn is low as she feels easily overstrained and is occupied with by her personal situation. She prefers to learn playfully and in supportive groups rather than aim-oriented and self-directed. The learning experiences in the support measures that intended to enhance her employability have left hardly any impression with her.

Information and Communication Technologies

Sambuca makes only rare use of the internet apart from occasionally writing emails. Sometimes she looks up job profiles or job offers at the website of the Federal Employment Agency. Apart from that she uses the PC mainly offline to listen to music.

She finds it difficult to think of contents for the G8WAY platform that could be supportive and finally states that mediation of job opportunities available for “Hauptschulabgänger” (graduates from lower secondary school) would be helpful.