The aim of Catch up with work (Ote työhön) project, funded by European Social Fund, 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 is women who have a low education level and possibly no previous working experience in Finland. The project organisation consists of several expert organisations such as education organisations, trade unions and their local branches, employer partners and civil society organisations who have experience in working with the target group. The project will be implemented between October 2017 and December 2019 in Tampere and Helsinki region. The role of EquJust -research group (Anja Heikkinen, Katriina Tapanila and Satu Kinnunen) in University of Tampere is to carry out a follow-up evaluation study within the project.

The project organises peer groups where participants with an immigrant background improve their job seeking skills, Finnish language skills and knowledge about Finnish working life and different occupations. The peer groups are tutored by working life tutors, who are trained in the project. Some of them will also act as mentors for those participants who need more individual guidance. The working life tutors are both with an immigrant and Finnish background. There are two kinds of peer groups in the project: 1) non-stop and open general peer groups, and 2) more intensive peer groups which focus on a certain occupation. Participants in a peer group focusing on a certain occupation will be able to access workplaces for a short work shadowing.

As a result of the project, 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 their 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 their local branches to support equality at work.

Link to the webpage (in Finnish)