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Employers need help to hire marginalised people

Employers need help to hire marginalised people

| Text: Carl-Gustav Lindén

Employers’ attitudes when it comes to hiring workers with reduced work ability is not necessarily governed by ill will. A targeted effort to support employers through a project running for several years in Satakunta in western Finland showed that they need facts and practical advise in order to successfully hire people who for instance have mental challenges.

They represent a growing group of people and that’s why the authorities’ help is so important, says project leader Kaarina Latostenmaa from the recently completed Mood for Work project. It is supported by the European Social Fund, which has been spreading the message of network based employer models across Europe.

The Mood for Work models were developed through the earlier project Työmieli, and alongside European partners like Klara Livet (‘Get ready for the rest of your life’) in Sweden the experiences have been presented in various settings, lately at the Employment Forum in Brussels in November. The way in has always been to look at different solutions through the eyes of the employer.

Employers think socially

“We conducted 120 interviews with employers to find out how they think. Their attitude was not the problem – they just didn’t know that they could get help and support or that they could find people who could provide support. The employers think socially and feel it is entirely possible to hire special groups,” says Latostenmaa. 

Apart from the Satakunta vocational university where she works, the regional employers and authorities have helped run the project. Its most important result has been that knowledge about how to employ marginalised people has spread wide and far.

Kaarina Latostenmaa is currently launching a third project – Jengoilleen (‘Getting Going’) — which focuses on how employers should look after workers with physical disabilities. The project involves the Finnish Work Environment Fund which helps supervisors find the right tools to support people who are returning to working life after long term sick leave, or who need support in order to continue to work. 

Started before the crisis

At the same time it is clear the climate for this kind of work has changed since 2009, when the first project got going. 

“We have the general economic situation, of course. When we started there was still talk about a labour shortage, but you don’t hear about that now.”

Kaarina Latostenmaa

heads a project looking at what kind of help employers need to be able to hire people who have faced mental problems (picture above).


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