Catch up with Work

The group of working life tutors in Helsinki. In the front on the left Hanna Takolander, the project manager of Catch Up With Work from Workers´ Educational Association WEA of Finland.

The aim of the Catch Up With Work project is to create a model to enhance the employment of immigrants who have been unemployed or out of work for longer periods. The main target group will be women who have low education level and possibly no previous working experience in Finland.

Catch Up With Work project is financed by European Social Fund and lead by Workers´ Educational Association WEA of Finland. The project is taking place in Helsinki and Tampere region and implemented between October 2017 and December 2019. Together with WEA, the training of working life tutors has been organized by Tampere Adult Education Centre, Institute of Adult Education in Helsinki, The Trade Union for the Public and Welfare Sectors JHL and Finnish Refugee Council. The project organisation consists of also employer partners and civil society organisations who have experience in working with the target group.

The role of EquJust -research group (Anja Heikkinen, Katriina Tapanila and Satu Heimo) in University of Tampere is to carry out a follow-up evaluation study within the project.

Project trains working life tutors with an immigrant background or a Finnish background. The key motivation is that they are interested in intercultural communication and in supporting immigrants in finding work or/and education. The working life tutors give guidance about work-life for the main target group in peer groups or through mentoring.

Target group will get guidance for improving their Finnish language skills and instructions how they can improve their Finnish for instance by using different web based programmes. There are two kinds of peer groups for the target group: non-stop and open, general peer groups, and more intensive, short term peer groups which focus on a certain occupation. Participants in a peer group focusing on a certain occupation will be able to access the workplace for a short work shadowing.

The project organises also workshops in workplaces. The main topics of the workshops are how to support language learning and intercultural dialog in the workplace.

The goals of the project are that the participants with an immigrant background have found a path to employment, applied for education or they have a clear plan how to proceed. In addition, trade unions and local branches have a more active role in supporting the intergration and employment of the people with an immigrant background. Finally, employers are more prepared to employ workers with an immigrant background  and together with trade unions and local branches to support equality at work.