Hope of a Borderless Labor Market in the High North

When businesses in Northern Norway, Sweden and Finland cooperate about capacity and competence, that may provide growth for all, says Senior Advisor of Bedriftskompetanse and Project Manager of Nordic Business Support and Arctic Labour, Anita Andresen. (Photo: Bedriftskompetanse AS)
While there is high unemployment for one group in Northern Finland, that group may be in demand in Northern Norway or Northern Sweden. Differences in the labor markets provide opportunities for increased work mobility. Arctic Labour is set to do something about this in a pilot project.


While there is high unemployment for one group in Northern Finland, that group may be in demand in  Northern Norway or Northern Sweden. Differences in the labor markets provide opportunities for increased work mobility. Arctic Labour is set to do something about this in a pilot project.

- Today, the Scandinavian High North sees vast differences in their access to competent labor force. The regions’ work force demands vary. For instance, some regions are marked by high unemployment rates among young people with professional education while other regions have a high demand for that very same work force, says Project Manager Anita Andresen, who leads an international cooperation project with Bedriftskompetanse.

- If businesses in the northern parts of Norway, Sweden and Finland cooperate about capacity and competence, and about common strengths, that can provide growth for all of them. We may in this way lay the foundation for one strong and competitive cross-border region in the north, Andresen says.

Pilot project

In the ‘Arctic Labour’ pilot project, there will be an attempt to deal with differences between demand and offer in professional competences in the Scandinavian High North. At the same time, they are to follow up each employee through cooperation with other actors.

- We will follow up each individual employee together with other actors. And we will assist young people who struggle to break up from where they live in order to move to get at job, Andresen says.

The Arctic Labour project is a cooperation between Oulo Vocational College, Utbildning I Nord and Bedriftskompetanse AS. Oulu Vocational College is a vocational school with 11,000 students across a wide range of professions. Utbildning Nord has about 500 students.

- We know that in particular young employees have a higher barrier for moving to work in a different country, without shared language and culture, family and network. All this presents obstacles to mobility, Andresen says. She has genuine faith that increased neighborly cooperation and closer follow-up of employees may provide bigger growth and a more united industry across the Scandinavian High North.

Rather work than the dole

Through an outstretched arm and specifically addressing issues related to each individual worker, Arctic Labour is to provide a stronger and more competitive region across national boundaries.

- Arctic Labour is to assist young people who fear stepping out into the work market on their own. We will find those who are motivated but have some fears, and we will make sure they dare to take that final step, Andresen says and describes an example:

- Imagine Eva, 22 years old. She has a safe network at home, a decent place to live, is educated, but is unemployed and on the dole. She is hesitant to going abroad to get at job. She fears change and having to be on her own in a new place. She is the one we want to help, Andresen says.

First steps

Andresen says there is lack of labor in Northern Norway today. In the coming years there will be a particular demand for industrial labor in building and construction, tourism, technology and industrial production.

- In a few years the situation may be turned around. With the right structures in place we can have a labor market with much higher mobility in the North, she says.

In September, employers in need for vocational professionals will have the opportunity to meet with potential employees holding professional certificates or final-year students from Oulu Vocational College.

- The challenge for North Norwegian employers will be to present their workplace and their region in an attractive way for potential young Finnish employees, Andrsen says.

The long-term idea of the Arctic Labour project is to provide young employees with knowledge about work life and societies in the North that lie outside their own hometown.

- We hope they can bring knowledge back home and thus contribute to strengthening relations between Norwegian, Finnish and Swedish companies, Anita Andresen says.

 


FACTS
  • Project duration 01.12.2016 – 30.11.2019
  • Norwegian Interreg funds: 93,902€. Total project funds: 713,261€
  • The project is funded by Interreg North 



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