Placements in Blekinge a win-win for jobs and skills provision

Hanna Karlsson, äldreförvaltningen Karlskrona kommun och Anna Strömqvist Vollan, projektledare för projekten ViS och BUS
Hanna Karlsson, Department of Elderly Care, Karlskrona Municipality, and Anna Strömqvist Vollan, project manager ViS and BUS.
Photo: Karlskrona Municipality

Publicerad: 15 December 2023

To reach the goal of increasing the employment rate in the county, ViS and BUS developed the concept Dare to Change Blekinge, making it easier for businesses to offer placements to jobseekers, something that will hopefully lead to employment.

Placements benefit both the jobseeker and the employer

There are many benefits to offering placements to jobseekers. It can help to create a more diverse workplace, alleviate social exclusion and make jobseekers more secure in their ongoing search for employment. For the past three years, municipalities in Blekinge County have collaborated to make it easier for employers to offer placements.

Jobseekers apply for summer vacancies

The Department of Elderly Care in Karlskrona Municipality is one of the employers that have welcomed and benefited from jobseekers. Having previously struggled to find summer staff to provide care for the elderly, the municipality reaped the rewards of training jobseekers during placements, as many of them applied when summer vacancies were advertised:

“Many people who arrive in Sweden from abroad have a wealth of experience of working in the home. Their knowledge is invaluable in the work of the Department of Elderly Care, much of which takes place in the homes of the elderly. They quickly get up to speed, which is obviously valuable to us. In my opinion, this is how we should go about recruiting people who are outside the labour market. It gives them a chance to have colleagues and get references, and us the opportunity to fill our summer vacancies,” explains Hanna Karlsson of Karlskrona Municipality’s Department of Elderly Care.

ViS and BUS change Blekinge

Dare to Change Blekinge is a digital support platform developed from the earlier labour market projects ViS and BUS. ViS, which was run by the municipalities of Karlskrona and Karlshamn, was targeted at people between the ages of 25 and 64 who were excluded from the labour market. The project offered various types of activities and support based on specific individual needs. The purpose of BUS was to create sustainable study and employment for young people in the 15–24 age group who were outside the labour market. The project was co-owned by Blekinge’s municipalities and the Swedish Public Employment Service.

Clear links to the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth

Both ViS and BUS were financed by the European Social Fund (ESF) as part of the regional plan for Skåne-Blekinge under the Europe 2020 strategy. One of the main goals of the strategy was that the employment rate of the population aged 20–64 should increase to at least 75 per cent, including through greater participation by low-skilled workers. Another goal was to increase participation in education and the percentage of people with a tertiary qualification.

Slutkonferens för ViS och BUS. Sara Drejstam, arbetsmarknadsavdelningen Karlskrona kommunoch Anna Strömqvist Vollan, projektledare.
The final conference for the ViS and BUS projects. Sara Drejstam of Karlskrona Municipality’s Labour Market Department and project manager Anna Strömqvist Vollan. Photo: Karlskrona Municipality

The pandemic created new needs

Anna Strömqvist Vollan of Karlskrona Municipality’s Labour Market Department was project manager for both ViS and BUS.

“Both projects had a sharp focus on employers, especially within public administration. That said, we were also keen to reach the business community. However, when the pandemic arrived we were suddenly unable to conduct the projects as planned or to meet participants and employers. We needed to change direction. It was then we began to think about how we could reach out to workplaces in some other way. How, with coherent communication, we could convince them to open up to the labour market,” explains Vollan.

Supervisor Guide provides valuable information

Simple, easily accessible information about how placements work was now the order of the day. And about the benefits to employers. From this need, the idea of the current Supervisor Guide was born, which among other things contains short information videos to support supervisors. The videos offer concrete tips such as asking open-ended questions to jobseekers on placements and drawing up a contingency plan for their activities should their supervisor be on sick leave. The Supervisor Guide is freely available for anyone to use, meaning it has been widely disseminated and has provided inspiration to other public-sector organisations outside Blekinge.

Secure placements

The Supervisor Guide helps both parties to feel secure throughout the placement period. It can be used before, during and after the placement.

“The Supervisor Guide is simply a digital platform that makes it easy for employers to contact a jobseeker and ensure the long-term success of the placement. The placement also offers the business an opportunity to ensure future skills provision, so it really is a win-win situation for the employer, jobseeker and labour market,” says Vollan.

Dare to Change Blekinge

The website of the Dare to Change Blekinge programme (vågaförä offers employers inspiration, encouragement and information about offering placements to jobseekers, including important things to consider before, during and after a placement. The website also has a link to the Supervisor Guide and instructions on registering interest in offering a placement to a jobseeker with any municipality in Blekinge.

Results exceed expectations

There are any number of excellent result that could be highlighted over the three-year project period. A total of 894 jobseekers participated, many more than expected. Of these, 284 found a job during the project period and 160 began to study. Many of the tools and interventions developed live on in regular operations after the end of the project, including the website vågaförä