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New methods in municipalities

In the counties of Norrbotten and Västerbotten, a large percentage of the workforce will leave their jobs in the near future. Meanwhile, there is a large group of young unemployed people who often remain, irrespective of the demand for labour. A project for skills development in Piteå and Skellefteå and work placements across the county borders has given good results.


Projektcoacherna i KomPaRe

The coaches in the project: Anna-Lena Grönlund, Skellefteå; Peter Lundkvist, Piteå, Anna Wiklund, Piteå; Rolf Naalisvaara, Skellefteå.

- The idea was that young people themselves would create their own programmes and then we hand-picked the placements. The workplaces had different purposes for different people; some wanted to learn more about the industry, some needed structure in their lives and others wanted to get a job, says Lotta Sundman, project manager for the social fund project KomPaRe.

The project operated in Piteå and Skellefteå, and the focus was on young people who are far outside the labour market. The collaboration across county borders is an aspect that Lotta Sundman sees as a very positive aspect of this type of project.

- It’s very inspiring to work across county borders, and we were able to discuss the various challenges we faced, she says.

Create structure

An important part of the method is that the participants have something to do every day – everything from work experience to study visits.

- Every morning we had a breakfast meeting with the participants to create structure in their lives. We were often visited by an employer under relaxed conditions, which lead to a natural discussion. Participants could also practice studying, either at a folk high school or adult education, to try out a learning environment.”

The project has also worked with a transnational project in the university town of Leuven in Belgium. Five young people went along with a supervisor and had a placement as park workers, among other jobs.

- It was great, says Lotta Sundman. They understood that they had courage and could handle more than they thought. In that group, all but one went on to work or do training.

Work experience abroad

It was the same social fund project that made work experience abroad possible for participants. It is usually difficult for people who are registered jobseekers to go abroad without losing their financial support, even if the aim is to increase their chances of getting a job.

KomPaRe ended in August last year. In the two counties, 140 people were helped by the project. The goal was that 50% would go on to work or study, but the result was even better than that.

- Approximately 59% of the participants went on to work or study after the project. That is a very good result, because it really is a difficult group. We have also checked how many participants thought they had made progress through the project and whether it was rewarding, and almost everyone thought it was.

In Skellefteå, the municipality has implemented the entire project and in Piteå they are working with some of the methods. Among other things, they have continued with shared breakfasts so that young people can inspire each other, but that is not the most important part.

- Above all, it is a mental thing, says Lotta Sundman. That young people themselves express what is good and what works, instead of us thinking things out for them.

More information 

ESF:s Projektbank.