MobileBE - Examples of good practice (IO-1) - Example SE02
Motivational course with a loving ambience
Sweden is a country where a good basic education in general and specifically a good ICT competence are demands in most professional areas. This makes it hard for people without education to get into the labor market and manage to support themselves financially. If you have not finished your studies at upper secondary level, it is nowadays very hard even to get a simple, manual job, since the competition is so fierce. The purpose of our motivational course is to inspire unemployed adults to start or continue their upper secondary studies, or, in some cases, get a better understanding of the labor market and improve their chances to get a suitable job.
The goal is to prepare the participants for studies (or work) in accordance with their needs and abilities. During three months, they get individual guidance and coaching as well as group support as a part of our pedagogics. The working methods of the folk high school function very well with this group, focusing on democratic discussions, sharing knowledge in the group, and personal development/social skills. The subjects are for example social science, communication, leadership, health, and basic trade union knowledge. Regularly there will also be contributions from teachers in Swedish, English, mathematics and ICT, for improved skills and inspiration.
Individual, written reflection (Where am I today? Am I enjoying my life? What do I dream about doing in the future?) is combined with oral presentations in the group (e g ‘My journey’ – could be a physical or inner journey). The tutors aim to make everyone more confident and visible in the group, and encourage everyone to make their voice heard in sharing their experiences, planning the schedule together in the beginning of the week and evaluating it at the end of the week. It is vital to create an open, safe and positive ambiance in the group to make everyone feel comfortable in sharing and supporting each other. Towards the end of the course, it is even possible for participants to take on leadership and plan and hold activities for their own group or another course.
Adults from 18 to 65 years of age, without completed studies at upper secondary level. Since this kind of course from year 2015 is a part of the state-funded labor market program, everyone applies through an employment agency. If the potential participant is unsure of the concept and hesitant whether it would be a good option for him or her, it is possible to try out the course for two weeks before signing up for the whole course.
About 250 students a year take advantage of this course at our school, most of them between 19 and 25 years of age. They typically have little knowledge of how society works in general, and most of them lack insight in how to get on with their lives and what their options are. In addition, they are not used to express their opinions, or for that matter, being listened to. Low self-esteem and social insecurity are characteristics for a great majority.
An assessment of previous studies is made in collaboration with the employment agency. One obstacle for attending can be language shortcomings, since you need to understand and use the Swedish language at a working level to benefit from the course. Some potential participants do express a need for a different kind of approach, but we normally take in all students who wish to try, and it is up to the individual student to assess if this course could be of use to them.
Validation of learning outcomes
More than 60% of the participants go on to further studies or work. Our vision is that the participants should see and realize that the combination of their previous studies and knowledge, raised confidence and our input of possible roads to take is a good base for making a good, realistic plan for the future. This kind of course can be seen as an investment, and if they take the chance and use the time in a responsible way their possibilities will be better to get the life they wish for.
To have been part of such a caring and supporting group and enjoying the loving atmosphere of the course, if only for three months, will change most people. The effects that we see are a strengthening of these individuals’ self-esteem, a more positive outlook on life, and better possibilities to support themselves financially and thus become an integrated part of the society. Long-term effects would be a lowering of unemployment rates and a stronger democracy, since more people can get a sense of belonging and hope for the future.
Måna Nilsdotter/ 2018-02-24