In the district of Majorna-Linné in Gothenburg, there are a lot of unhealthy people. Many in the area live with mental illness and have been without work for a long time. A few years ago, there were several organisations that helped, but nobody was in charge of coordinating them. The project Vidare Vägar then took charge.
Caption: Elenor and David got a job at Handelsakademin AB, via the project Vidare Vägar.
”I worked with maintenance support at the social services office where we conducted a survey of the long-term unemployment situation and noticed that there was no coordinated work rehabilitation. We also saw that there was a group that no one really worked with. They were too sick for the Employment Service and had never come into the Social Insurance Office’s system,” says Henrietta Nyberg, project leader and initiator of the project Vidare Vägar.
The fact that there was nothing that encouraged these individuals towards the labour market became the starting point for the project Vidare Vägar which is run by the Labour Department in the district administration of SDF Majorna-Linné and is a collaboration between various labour market organisations.
”We saw the need to coordinate the various organisations, and build bridges between the municipality and the business community,” says Henrietta Nyberg.
The project participants are between 18 and 64 years of age and often have little education and poor experience of the labour market.
”One third of the project participants have been unemployed for periods of between five and ten years. Many are alone and have poor social support in general,” says Henrietta Nyberg adding that the recipe for success is based on the participants being seen, close monitoring and individual coaching which will help them onto the labour market which is what they are doing at Vidare Vägar.
Over a period of a little more than one year, Vidare Vägar has seen 150 participants pass through the project. One objective was that 60 per cent of them would be working or studying. Today, that figure is 67 per cent. Another objective was that 30 per cent would be self-sufficient; that number has nearly doubled and is 55 per cent, or 48 people.
”Our work is based on a model which we call The Ladder”. We started by identifying the participants and by developing a plan for each individual. This would be followed by job training. After that, the participants would receive help from a job coach and undergo work training at a workplace. Step four on the ladder involves full-time practical work experience which will lead to self-sufficiency. All participants also receive help on how to write a CV and guidance on how to apply for a job,” says Henrietta Nyberg.
Inspiration for the model was taken from NAV, the Norwegian Employment Service, and from a social enterprise in Antwerp which the project cooperates with.
”It’s not just a matter of inspiration but also about the project participants’ experiences. One of the participants after the trip to Antwerp said ”This is the first time I feel like a part of something I can influence,” says Henrietta Nyberg.
The entire project is based on the use of already financed resources and coordinating these resources.
”It has worked very well. I think it’s important to develop clear forms of cooperation with the various authorities from the outset, otherwise it is difficult to coordinate everybody,” says Henrietta Nyberg.
Whether the project as a whole will survive is not clear, but the ladder and the coordination of efforts will be implemented in the municipality’s work.