Capacity Development and Training for Return Counsellors (CADRE)

1. Background and Introduction

The EU Return Directive 2008/115/EC encourages Member States (MSs) to provide for enhanced return assistance and counselling in order to promote voluntary return as the preferred option over forced return. This is also reaffirmed in the EU Action Plan on return (COM/2015/0453 final) recalling that voluntary return of irregular migrants to their home countries remains the preferred option when possible. 

Only a few MSs and organisations have a formal definition of return counselling in their national policy or legislation and those that have such a definition refrain from defining the concept of counselling itself, but rather describe the type of services related to counselling available in the return procedure.  Moreover, MSs have different structures in place and apply different approaches. Return counselling is provided by a large variety of stakeholders including national authorities as well as non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and international organisations (IOs).

Return counselling is individual social work, and every session is different. Even though the counselling approach very much depends on the context as well as the mandate of the organisation providing return counselling, the principles and challenges of return counselling are the same. Therefore, the main consideration should be how organisations can facilitate the work of their counsellors.

Capacity development and training are one of the key elements to prepare return counsellors for the job and support them in their work. Against this background, the proposed project will contribute to improving the training and capacity development of return counsellors and contribute to increasing the quality of return counselling practices. Hence, the project will offer capacity development tools for return counselling to support the efforts in MSs and the outputs of the project will be elaborated in a way that they can be replicated and/or adjusted to the various contexts.  Within its new mandate, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (EBCGA) currently develops a training for return counsellors who will be part of the EBCG Standing Corps. The CADRE project has a broader scope in targeting all MSs’ return counselling structures and will therefore complement the training plans of the EBCGA. 

  3. EMN Inform, 2019: Policies and Practices on Return Counselling for Migrants in EU Member States and Norway (p.2.). 

2. Duration and Budget

1 January – 31 December 2021 (12 months); 570,000 EUR

3. Beneficiaries

The target group of the project are institutions and persons in charge of return counselling in EU MSs participating in ERRIN (ERRIN member countries) including national authorities as well as NGOs and IOs. The final beneficiaries of the project are third-country nationals who receive return counselling in EU MSs.

4. Overall and Specific Objectives

The overall objective of the project is to contribute to the quality of return counselling to third-country nationals in EU MSs. 

The specific objectives are:

  1. Enhancing practices and technical tools for return counselling (counselling profile, general principles for return counselling, tips, techniques and supporting tools) by reviewing and further elaborating the ERRIN practical manual on return counselling .
  2. Enhancing the training capacities on return counselling, by translating the reviewed ERRIN practical manual into a training manual and curriculum and developing a train the trainer concept.
  3. Strengthening capacities of trainers on return counselling, by conducting train the trainers’ sessions and creating a pool of trainers on return counselling.
  4. Fostering the training capacities of the pool of trainers on return counselling, by conducting tandem and coaching trainings for counsellors together with the newly trained trainers.
  5. Improving the overall quality of training capacities on return counselling, by designing an evaluation and calibration method for the elaborated training manual and curriculum and training concept.

5. Expected Results

  1. Further consolidated practical manual on return counselling (training manual), including a profile for return counsellors, practical tips and handgrips (toolbox) for counsellors and counselling organisations.
  2. Training curriculum for training of trainers on return counselling and a train-the-trainers’ concept elaborated.
  3. At least two ‘train-the-training’ sessions organised and at least 20 trainers trained and included in a pool of qualified trainers on return counselling.
  4. At least two ‘Tandem’ training sessions for counsellors implemented by members of the training pool on return counselling in tandem with other experienced trainers.
  5. All material (content, training material) tested and updated, and disseminated to the ERRIN member countries.
  6. Contact

4. The ERRIN practical manual has been developed during phase I of the ERRIN programme (2018 – 2020), and is the outcome of exchange visits and consultation meetings with counsellors, experts and reintegration counsellors.