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Local industries support Luleåproject

Youth unemployment soared, and Luleå municipality was no exception. One solution was to create a forum for young people to get out into working life. By working alongside industry, the project One thousand new youth jobs in Luleå is doing exactly that.



See each other's conditions - in Luleå the project One thousand new youth jobs in Luleå concentrated on meetings between industry and young people to open up the labour market. Photos: Fotoakuten

- Our primary target group was young unemployed people, says project manager Lena Sundkvist, but employers, with their needs, were our secondary target group. We had to work a lot with both sides and that was good.

When Luleå Näringsliv AB initiated the project in 2006, it was difficult to find workers with the right skills for companies in Luleå municipality. The idea was that the many young unemployed people in the municipality (despite the economic boom) would be able to fill these gaps. It is a push-pull model; young people who want jobs and employers who need skills see each other as important requirements for meeting both parties' needs.

The situation changed drastically during the crisis and it became more a push model only. Employers were not looking for labour any longer.

- Young people had the opportunity of meeting employers and networking, and for them it was important to be in the right place. We talked a lot about not having an explicit method, but I think it is important that you start with each individual and use different methods according to their needs.  All young people had their own job counsellors, but also open activities that they could choose from.

Different compensation systems

One thousand new youth jobs in Luleå was completed in 2010 and was owned by the labour market administration in Luleå. The project worked primarily with young adults between 18 and 25 who came through the municipal monitoring responsibility and the Social Services, or on their own initiative. One problem was the restrictions which the various systems of compensation involved.

- Some could not study, others could not have a trainee job, says Lena Sundkvist. From the beginning we wanted to open things up and relax the requirements, but in the end we decided to just to work on the different possibilities that the participants had.

Another problem during the project period was that there were not many jobs to apply for.

- But Luleå Näringsliv AB was a support throughout the project, and we were able to use their channels to find placements and jobs.

During the project period, 700 young people were circulating in the project and the quantitative targets were met: 211 young people found jobs through the project.

Test methods

- But that was not the main focus, says Lena Sundkvist, it was to test methods. We can’t say with any certainty that those who got a job are now self-sufficient, but if they have once had a job, it is easier to get another one.

The project also worked transnationally and made several trips, including one to Birmingham together with young people from the project. There they had contact with an organization that works with young people in difficulty on the labour market.

- It was interesting to see how unemployment is tackled in different countries, but also to travel with these young people. It was fascinating to be there on the same terms as the project participants, to see things from their perspective and to see new issues.