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Cooperation as a factor of success - labor market integration in Sweden

[Translate to English:] Joel Hellstrand beim CORE Future Talk

Within the CORE project the Swedish model for the labor market integration of immigrants and refugees was presented at a so-called Future Talk on 8 of October 2018. Labor market expert Joel Hellstrand reported on Sweden's labor market policies and the success factors of the Swedish model.

Insight into the swedish model
Regarding the question of how labor market integration of immigrants and refugees can be made innovative and effective, it is worth to take a look at Sweden. In 2016 Sweden received the highest number of refugees per capita in the OECD. The labor market integration of refugees and immigrants is one of the biggest challenges for the country.

At the CORE Future Talk on October 8, Joel Hellstrand, Coordinator of the Integration Department of the Swedish Arbetsförmedlingen, presented the Swedish labor market integration model. As part of his presentation, Hellstrand showed how existing expertise in Sweden has been expanded in the context of the refugee movement and how the Swedish system for newcomers has been adapted to the specific needs of refugees. The country's labor market policies have resulted in a positive trend in Sweden's employment rate, despite the large number of refugees admitted. One of the success factors of the Swedish model is its cooperation with industry and social partnership.

Diverse and innovative measures
In order to facilitate labor market integration of refugees and migrants, Sweden has developed a variety of innovative measures, with Swedish Arbetsförmedlingen playing a central role in the labor market integration system. For example, an individual etableringsprogram (establishment program) was developed, that defines the steps towards gainful employment. The Etablerings program is a two-year program for refugees with residence permits, in which various measures are implemented. These measures include civic orientation, language training, which may be adapted to specific occupations, career planning, competence checks and competence documentation as well as self-presentation and coaching. As part of the competence checks, a 3-week program was also established, which enables competence checks in the course of internships ("on the job assessments"). If these checks show gaps, they are attempted to be closed by means of further education measures such as IT courses, language courses, etc. "The most innovative thing about this etablering program is first and foremost that the individual steps do not have to be done consecutively, but can also run in parallel," says Hellstrand at the event. This is especially important in language training.

Cooperation with business and social partnership
A measure within the framework of the etablering program is the so-called Fast Track Initiative, which, through close coordination with the social partners, makes it easier for people with qualifications or professional experience to enter the profession in areas of scarcity. Employer organizations play a key role in the Fast Track Initiative. Hellstrand comments: "We work closely with the economy and the social partnership as part of the Fast Track Initiative. It was essential to develop the measures together and put a part of the responsibility in the hands of social partnership under the heading of 'ownership'."

Sweden still has a great need for labor. Among people with a refugee background in search of work, there will still be a group that still needs qualification measures before they can be employed in the labor market. "We already have tools for that. But to be even more successful, we need even greater cooperation between the state and the economy, "concludes Hellstrand.