Anders Nordberg Markhede is Head of the Labour Unit within the Social Services and Labour Administration at the Municipality of Mölndal (Sweden). He is, together with the Development Leader Anders Toresson, responsible for the implementation of FIER at this institution. Mölndal is a city in the south of Gothenburg and the third largest municipality in the Region Västra Götaland, with approximately 65,000 inhabitants.
What specific activities have you carried out within the FIER project in Mölndal?
We have been doing quite a lot of activities in different levels, organised under three main axes: fast-track education for newcomers, both (1) young people and (2) adults, and a (3) slow-track for third-country nationals who have been living in Sweden for a long time.
Education for occupations with a labour force shortage can quickly lead to jobs; this is the starting point for the first two axes. The Education Department just finished a one-year healthcare and care services vocational introduction at secondary school level aimed at young people (16-21 years old). There were 15 students in the class, and 12 out of them accessed hourly-rate positions, summer jobs or other work based on their education.
The fast-track courses for adults focus on nurse assistant education since this is an occupation in which there is a shortage of labour force, and 15 students are currently following the programme. However, thanks to the exchanges of experiences with other FIER partners, we will develop courses for assistant pre-school teachers, construction apprentices, bakers and professionals in the hospitality sector.
Why slow track?
Slow track was developed in order to reach people who are not newcomers, but who have been living in Sweden for ten or fifteen years. They have been stopped from participating in the Swedish for immigrants courses because no progression is observed, so we organise our own language courses together with the adult education association ABF (Worker’s Education Association).
The first step are language and digital skills courses, and then participants start working in what we call “the second-hand factory.” This is a project at the Municipality of Mölndal that allows participants in these courses do an internship, mainly restoring objects.
How was this slow-track programme developed?
Indeed, the “slow-track” idea was born from the analysis of the outreach of our activities. We identified that we were not reaching Somali-speaking people, mainly women. Therefore, we launched a call for an intern in our organisation, and, thanks to our colleague Christina von Otter, who is in contact with the language café organisers in the city, we found Dehli Olad.
She has made a great change in Mölndal, and after three months of internship she was hired at the municipality thanks to EU funding. She is well connected within the Somali-speaking women community; thus, she has been able to attract people to take part in the digital skills courses that she organises at the municipality. She also assists them with their daily administrative tasks and encourages them to get involved in Swedish language courses. Now she is also helping people who arrive directly from a refugee camp. Thanks to this new contact point, we are now reaching Somali‑speaking women.
What has FIER brought to Mölndal?
In Mölndal, we identified that there are high expectations when it comes to language level on the side of employers even for jobs with low skills requirements. This is why cooperation with employers and other actors is very important. Previously, we already had a good cooperation with the regions and other municipalities, as well as at national level. We cooperate with many education opportunities in the region for areas that lack employees, and thanks to FIER we now also cooperate with Dalsland’s and Gothenburg’s folk high schools.
FIER has given us a chance us to employ a labour coordinator who focuses 100% on the target group. This has made it easier for the municipality to work together and improve cooperation with other institutions, such as the Swedish employment service, in order to match the target group with education programmes like the fast track and slow-track courses.
Now half of the participants in our fast-track nurse assistant course for adults are doing internships at Gothenburg University Hospital (belonging to the region), and we organise meetings every other month with all partners (municipality, hospitals, Swedish employment service, etc.).
Which are your plans for the last six months of FIER and in the future?
As I was mentioning before, we are developing three new fast-track courses thanks to the inspiration we got from FIER partners, to be funded outside the project. For example, after an online bilateral meeting with representatives from Baden-Württemberg and the city of Stuttgart, we decided to implement hotel training in our premises. Also, at the beginning of September, a small group of staff members in the municipality will visit Oslo to improve our collaboration with them.
Finally, we will implement the learning path for active citizenship developed by GO! and adapt their matrix to measure the structure of competences. Translations into Swedish will be done, and we will put it into practice for anyone who wants to access quickly the labour market, independently of their status (Swedish citizens, newcomers, refugees, etc.).
As for our own activities, we are planning to develop the digital skills courses and make similar classes for Arabic- and Farsi-speaking people. We are also currently discussing the possibilities that the European Social Fund (ESF) offers in order to develop the way we work with people who are far from the labour market.
What do you feel most fier (‘proud’) of regarding your organisation’s activities?
Thanks to the focus that FIER has provided us with, we now work more intensively in the municipality with the target groups. FIER has also helped us to find good external partners for cooperation, and also created good relationships with these partners at individual level. And the best part is that the things that we are doing together are giving results.
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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any official body or the FIER project itself.