Case Study Report
La Blanca Paloma V.E.T. School
Development of case study
The interview took place in July 2019 over a number of days. There was a final meeting with all of the
people participating in the interviews. The participants ranged from a manager, teachers, doctors and
a secretary. The interviews took place in the centre itself as this was most convenient for all the
members of staff and the management. Before the interviews took place the following desktop
research was carried out. The interviewer was Francisco Javier Hurtado Martínez.
Description of the organisation
The Blanca Paloma is a Concerted Vocational Training Centre that teaches Middle, Higher and P.C. The Docete Omnes Foundation, since its creation in 1968, has had as its primary objective to offer help to people in need of training or support to follow their own self-improvement itineraries. As an institution based on the principles of Christianity, we start from the conviction that all people, by the mere fact of being so, are invested with two inalienable qualities: dignity and freedom. Consequently, the Foundation’s action is based on respect for the other and on the consideration that everyone has to be the protagonist of their own promotion.
Therefore, to fulfil our founding mandate to “teach everyone”, we will try to promote each and every one of the people who have approached the Foundation with the assurance that we contribute, even if in a minimal part, to the progress of humanity.
From these postulates it is understood that we believe that the Foundation is formed, not only by the Board of Trustees and the professionals who work there, but also, and in a very marked way, all the people who have approached the Institution looking for some service or help from temporary or permanent. Likewise, as the Foundation that we are, we declare our non-profit character as a substantial part of our own ideology.
From a firm commitment to Quality and Academic Excellence, we understand that our mission is to enable our students to carry out their duties in the work environment with the greatest human and professional competence and in this way they can reach the highest levels of self-realization. From La Blanca Paloma, we serve society in general, those who wish to train for the exercise of a profession in different branches of Vocational Training. As well as those that, having their profession, want to be recycled and updated; and others who, without professional qualification, or with poor preparation, want to train for the performance of an activity in certain sectors of labour market.
Institutional in the migrant society
The focus of the centre is on persons with intellectual and mental disability. The V.E.T school also deals with people from migrant backgrounds and persons in risk of social exclusion such as minority ethnic groups. There is a demographical reason for this. The centre is located 10 km from Granada city and has no industry to speak of. The main economic activities are agriculture and service industry.
There is not a large population of migrants living in the area and so therefore that is reflected in the organisation also.
The migrant populations that are present in the area are European and South Americans. The school only has on average 5-6 students from migrant backgrounds. Allowing that there are over 300 hundred students per year that is 2%. This number is very low. In schools in the centre the percentage is usually much higher.
The V.E.T school is open to all students. The responsibility of adapting lies mainly on the teachers themselves. This will be further clarified below
Human Resource Management
There is a large emphasis placed attention to diversity. In the Occupational day centre that emphasis is on PWDs and supported employment. In the V.E.T school there is an emphasis and creating professional habits and having inclusion present at all levels. There are migrants attending the school but as mentioned previously they account for a small percentage of the student body. The task of attention to their diversity is covered in both national and regional legislation. As the V.E.T school is publicly funded it must adhere to the national and regional legislation regarding diversity in the classroom. Each teacher must carry out an initial evaluation in which they have the opportunity to adapt their own curriculum and/or ask for help from social services. The availability of these services will depend directly on the ratio of students to teacher and secondly if the school is fully public or semi-private.
The V.E.T school and F.D.O both have many contacts with non-governmental organisations. In the case of the school, the contact is on a practical level. When the school has students from migrant backgrounds the tutor will liaise with the host organisation for questions of logistics, conduct, permissions and day to day activities. That is of course, in the case when the migrant has come without a family and is foster care.
The teachers in the V.E.T school must adhere to both regional and national law and legislation in regards to supporting their pupils. There are guidelines for the teachers to follow. The teacher must carry out an initial evaluation and find out if there are students who might need extra help. They can make adaptations to their planning and also if the student to teacher ratio is sufficient they can also ask for external help from social security or care workers.
The school will provide a language adaptation course for those migrants who have not yet mastered the language in which the subjects are being taught. In the case of the V.E.T school this is rarely the case as the students who come to the centre are usually in their late teens and already have a strong command of the language.
Personal Impressions of interviewed people
|The impression from the staff is overall very positive. The management believes that they treat diversity in the centre in a very open-minded way and that the shared working space and diverse group working within it is.
There are helpers who volunteer from the Occupational day care centre. They help staff working in administration with tasks such as photocopying and filing. The management also highlighted this as a clear form of diversity in the workplace.
|There are virtually no migrants working in this centre and only one foreign national. The main negative from the whole interview was the topic of funding and material. Although the V.E.T centre is publicly funded, namely, the teachers and support staff are paid by the government. It is privately owned and funded so there can be a gap between the material needed to conduct modern teaching and what is available.|
Commitment with mission statement and diversity policy
The organisation is firmly committed to the goal and objectives set out in its mission statement. The core philosophy and values are not only shared by management and staff alike but also a key cornerstone for all students who pass through the gates. The V.E.T centre has the task of training young professionals ready to get into the job market and help anyone who wishes to improve their employability by obtaining official titles through the centre.
What should be changed?
The funding issue needs to change plus the age profile of the teachers. The average age of the staff is 55+ and that younger teachers would offer a dynamism and a fresh new outlook which would benefit everyone.
The teachers who are reaching retirement age should be encouraged to do so therefore allowing the management to find well-qualified, young and enthusiastic staff.
The teachers should also be unburdened of unnecessary paperwork. This is the case worldwide but it should be mentioned too.
There should be more involvement of parents or guardians in the process and disciplining of the students.
What should not be changed?
The core philosophy of the centre and the great team spirit present should not be changed. The freedom of expression and licence given to the teachers is also an important factor in keeping teachers happy and motivated. The open policy towards all who wish to study at the centre should not be changed.
The language regarding diversity within the organisation
The spoken language is Spanish. Everyone responds directly to the interviewer and the questions posed. The body language in the room was relaxed as the shoulders of all the interviewees were not in a position of tension and the body positions were receptive as the arms were open. When the manager spoke all the other employees paid attention to her explanation and nodded their heads in agreement with what she was saying. The manager was focused on the interviewer so they were not doing so for the approval of their manager. The words and connotations used in the interview were all positive. There is a common view of the V.E.T school that is open and willing to grow and adapt. There is respect and understanding in all levels of the organisation.
Significant differences in the way people are looking at and thinking about the diversity in the organisation
The view of the group in regards to the questions asked in open and positive. The employees seem to agree with the managers about important issues and topics. The frame of reference is very similar between the staff and the manager. The values and norm are based in a modern liberal Christian sentiment although religion is not prevalent or intrusive when it comes to the teaching practice. The environment is shared so it also adds value to the diverse team of teachers and support staff. The environment is co-shared with the Occupational day centre which adds even more value in terms of diversity and possibilities and sharing and co-existing for all students and users of the Occupational day centre.
Arrangements and power relations
The manager is a facilitator and commands respect, however, another role would be head of the family. The family being the school staff and the students. The job of taking care of the employees and making them feel respected and valued members of staff is the main characteristic of the managerial style adopted by the manager.
The employees all feel the respect and care from the management but at the same time are able to voice concerns, opinions and ideals without any fear of the management taking it personally. This intimate professional relationship would make the employees be the uncles and aunts in the relationship.
The organisations influence is mainly around the village it is located and suburbs of Granada. As the school is publicly funded it must adhere to standards set by the regional legislation. The organisation is privately owned and is run by a family. Currently, there are four members of the family working in the centre in different areas of the organisation. One is the manager, two are teachers and the other is working in administration.
Communication is dealt with on a weekly basis. There is a staff meeting where all the news, reporting and activity of the centre are discussed by the teacher and managers. This is the opportunity to voice concerns and find solutions to any problems that may arise during school hours. These hours are obligatory are must be attended by all staff members. Staff not on full time contracts are legally obliged to attend but for a shorter period.
There is a library where the teacher meetings take place. Some teachers also have a secondary role as class tutors. This means that they are responsible for the class and act as the liaison between the students and the management. This responsibility comes with additional paperwork.
Motives and motivations to work on diversity policy in the organisation
There is a good atmosphere in the organisation. The main fears would come from inspections and badly behaved students who are causing problems for the teachers. The motives for management are to have the staff members motivated and feel valued. The motives for staff are to give students the care and attention that they need plus give them a solid foundation to be able to get into the open labour market and become fully independent. When the teachers are motivated and doing their best the students benefit from this positive influence and so the centre benefits in turn. Teachers have a duty to their students to prepare them for a potential job. This job is both in a practical and theoretical sense. All members of staff are recognised for their work.
Possible benefits for the learners
What is the learners’ perspective?
The learners can see teachers with the intention of helping them get into a profession and give them the theoretic basis they need to be valuable member of a team. Their perspective is seeing a dual system in action and that the advice and suggestions of the teachers have a practical foundation based in the real world job situation
What could by from their point of view “setting the stage” for change?
Setting the stage for change would be accepting the importance of technology and languages and having the facilities to properly prepare them for working in the 21st century work place in which the ability to use spreadsheets, powerpoint, word documents and being computer literate and able to type are taken for granted.
Can you explain “what’s in it for them”?
What is in it for them is the chance of improving their employability. The job market in Andalucia and Granada in particular is not in a good place. The unemployment rate is high at over 20 % and having an edge is important when it comes to finding a job.
Stage of the organisation
|7. intercultural organisation|
|6. intercultural diversity management|
|5. cross-cultural HRM policy|
|4. inflow of migrant workers|
|3. intercultural service management|
|2. service to migrants|
|1. monocultural organization|
Scroll over then names of the stages to get a definition of them
- My organisation has migrants among its clients.
- In my organization an intercultural training has been done aimed at improving sales to migrants.
- My organisation has a policy aimed at improving sales or services to migrants.
- My organisation employs (a) migrant worker(s).
- My organisation has a policy aimed at the influx of migrant workers.
- In my organisation there has been an intercultural training on how to improve intercultural cooperation or leadership.
- My organisation has an intercultural personnel policy.
- In my organisation, intercultural policy is a natural part of diversity policy.
- In my organisation, intercultural policy is a natural part of general quality policy with regard to sales/service provision and personnel.
The Blanca Paloma and through connection the Fundación Docete Omnes is at stage four of the model. It is not a monocultural organisation as it has both migrant workers and workers with varying ranges of disabilities. At the core of the centre´s philosophy is the attention to diversity. The centre provides service to all potential clients. The V.E.T teaching centre is publicly funded there are no restrictions given to potential students on personal grounds.
Is there an intercultural service management? No, however, as the centre deals with diversity all the staff and management can deal with issues that arise from having a very diverse student body. Is there an inflow of migrant workers? The centre is open to having migrant workers who fill the profile and have the legally required qualifications to work at the centre. There is a gap between migrants who are actively searching employment with our centre and those who have the qualifications necessary to be legally considered for job positions at the centre.
Change and consequences
What is change here actually?
Fundación and Blanca Paloma are medium sized organisations that are in the private sector. They provide an important service to the local community that would be otherwise neglected. The scope for change is high, however, the ability to do so is limited by socio-economic reasons. The change is from students who are not academically inclined to students who are being trained as professionals in Pharmacy, Hairdressing, Aesthetics and Social care. Change is that ex-students who studied at the centre have become teachers here at the centre too. That is an example of full circle change.
What does it mean for the education process?
There is a clear goal at the end of the education process. The goal is finding a job and as most courses are in a dual system the student gets much needed hands on practice in a real working situation. Many students are offered contracts after doing their practice and so it helps focus the students. The need for ICT training is being overlooked due to lack of knowledge on behalf on the staff currently employed at the centre.
What does it mean for the management?
Having a dual system complicates many things for the management. Halfway through the school year the students upon completing their theoretical exams go to do their practice section. The teachers and tutors must observe the students and they are usually spread all over Granada and so that in itself causes a logistical problem. There is also a heavy paperwork load that goes with the dual system and that burden falls and both management and staff. Securing resources and to support the process for change.
What does it mean for the staff?
Providing course for the staff to be able to update their skills.
Being better prepared to deal with diversity.
What does it mean for the learners?
Learners are close to their ultimate goal which is being prepared for and having access to the current job market.
What does it means for the organisation?
The organisation must be in a constant state of renewal and redevelopment to stay relevant in the market. The school must branch into more diverse professions to offer more possibilities to the students attending and also having a young and motivated staff who are able to connect to the students and be a positive helping figure in their professional lives.
What should not be changed
Manager Fundación Docete Omnes
- It is a positive in terms of openness towards a diverse society. The mission statement of both the centre and the foundation have diversity at its core.
- Open admission policies in both the VET and Fundación.
- Maintain and increase the diversity of the staff.
- Good team spirit and working and supporting each other.
- Helping staff with more flexible hours or finding solutions and cover when it is needed.
Support to students
- Adaptation for the teaching of diverse students with different abilities and interests. The focus on a connection between practical and theoretical and the current situation in the job market. Instilling basic and vital skills for finding and maintaining a job.
- Adapted curriculum to meet the needs of the students and the diversity of the student body.
Support for Staff
- Management are very approachable and understanding of staff needs.
- Staff meetings are carried out on a weekly basis.
- All legal documents are always available to the employees.
What should be changed
- The mission statement should be revisited as it has not been changed since the founding of the centre. The centre began as a religious organisation that cared for young people with mental disabilities and now it has changed into two distinct centres that are interconnected. The centre needs to adapt this philosophy to the current context.
- Visibility of the centre on a local, regional and national level and building more links with institutions outside of Andalucia.
- Updating Skills Courses for teachers to update their skills in relation to ICT and languages.
- Language diversity. There is little language diversity in our centre and that is something that needs to be addressed if the centre plans to operate on an international level in European projects.
- The centre needs to make a bigger effort to attract more diverse students.
- Staff Admission. Flexibility in hiring diverse staff (interviews in English)
What is the right approach for this way of changing?
For Fundación Docete Omnes and La Blanca Paloma, the most interesting approach would be the redprint approach. This is how the centre carries out its activity with the users and clients and this could also be useful for the staff in terms of growth. There is a clear need for HRM expert in our organisation. The staff and the management are open to change; however, change is a difficult thing to those who are used to working in a certain way. Following this approach would be highly beneficial to the centre.
The right approach is making change while asking for the input of current staff. Investment is needed in technology and future employees need to have the skills and experience to be able to improve the overall quality of the service provided. This is already happening in the centre.
Based on the colour model of De Caluwe & Vermaak, which demonstrates colour thinking as an accessible expression of different change management traditions, we advise in this case the following “greenprint” approach for change. This brings people together in learning situations, in a learning process, to solutions that people find together. Interventions such as training, coaching and open systems planning must be followed by a supervisor, who supports people and targets setting and communication, could be very helpful. The result is outlined, but not absolutely guaranteed: the pitfall lies in excluding people who definitely need to be involved and it could be a lack of action, when discussion is not transformed in decisions.
Commitment with Management and Staff
Both the management and staff are committed to change and improving the service provided. In the case of the teachers, they are willing to do refresher courses to improve their teaching skills and abilities. The management is willing to invest (when economically possible) in the centre to make it better for both students and teachers.