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Directa – a tool factory

In Botkyrka Municipality, around 30,000 people were registered at the job centre in 2009. Half of them were foreign born, and as a group have more problems than those born in Sweden with regard to entering the labour market. Directa is developing new tools to make it easier for people to participate in the integration.



Caption: The Job Centre and Botkyrka, Huddinge and Södertälje municipalities are operating the project Directa to improve the efforts made by the Job Centre and the municipalities, in particular for those who are foreign born. 

”We saw that a large proportion of those people who were foreign born were being completely ignored by the labour market, and this pointed to the shortcomings in the services provided by the Job Centre and the municipality,” says Directa’s Project Manager, Vanja Bardh Olsson.

This was where the Job Centre along with Botkyrka, Huddinge and Södertälje municipalities got together and started the project Directa.

Directa develops tools to improve the Job Centre’s and the municipality’s efforts, in particular with regard to those who are foreign born.

”We are a project that is akin to a tool factory. We do not build houses, we build tools to build houses with,” says Vanja Bardh Olsson, explaining that the screwdriver is of little use if used as a hammer.

Yoga and knowledge of the world around them

The main focus of the project is to try different approaches and tools. There are now 45 participants who will later provide feedback as to how they experienced the various activities. This may be anything from yoga classes to knowledge of the world around them.

”Some participants have never travelled on a commuter train themselves because they feel insecure. Most of the participants in the project have lived in Sweden for five to seven years, but some as long as 15 years, without having worked,” says Vanja Bardh Olsson.

What the participants have in common is that they have only spent a few years at school and they have scant knowledge of Swedish; they have been external to the labour market for a long time and they often have a complicated situation with regard to their health. With this in mind, specific interventions are required for this group. Making the participants involved in their own development is extremely important in order for efforts to be successful.

”One approach is to have the first two individual discussions completely without any agenda, to allow individuals to talk about how they view themselves. It is important to get the participants involved in order for it to work in the long term,” says Vanja Bardh Olsson.

This is an example of where the Job Centre’s efforts are lacking in the current situation.   Bardh Olsson says that sometimes you only see those parts of an individual that function and not the whole.

”There is a lot of talk that people lack motivation; this in our view is a perspective that leads to the wrong conclusions being made. It is not about a lack of intent, but rather, that a connecting link is missing, in other words the reason why we do things,” she says.

New work methods – the main focus

The project Directa has established very low quantitative targets – 15 per cent of the participants will join the labour market as a result of the project. Largely because it is not the project’s primary purpose.

”However, we will deliver at least 20 concrete descriptions and work methods and at least 20 ways to adapt and develop the existing operations of the municipality and the Job Centre, says Vanja Bardh Olsson.

Read more

Projectbank at esf.se