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A space for Nordjobb?

| By Berit Kvam

“Ambitions are often bigger than the results when it comes to Nordic cooperation, but that does not change the fact that the dogma is alive and well. And so is the feeling that we still have something valuable which should be looked after, nurtured and developed. So there is something at the core of all this,” says Poul Nielson in Portrait. Perhaps a perspective worth a thought as the Nordic Labour Journal focuses on Nordjobb.

Last year the Nordic region celebrated 60 years with a borderless labour market and 40 years of cooperation on gender equality. Now the Nordic Labour Journal looks back at 30 years of Nordjobb. 

According to Nordjobb’s homepage their aim is to find summer jobs, accommodation and cultural activities in a different Nordic country for 18 to 28 year olds. Since 1985 Nordjobb has found summer jobs for some 25,000 Nordic youths, many of whom have stayed engaged in Nordic issues and cooperation. We meet some of them in this month’s Focus: this is where the future Nordic enthusiasts are born. 

One of those enthusiasts is Loa Brynjulfsdottir, former General Secretary at the Council of Nordic Trade Unions (NFS), now head of the international department at the Swedish Trade Union Confederation (LO). The Nordic region is my home, she says: “Iceland represents my roots, I spent some childhood years in Norway, I feel at home in Denmark and in Sweden where I live now.” 

She found summer work with Nordjobb and later worked for the organisation. It has given her a lot, she says. But she also said no thank you to working among old people with crooked backs in the Finnish countryside. Not many youths would thrive on a remote island either, especially when there are no other young people around. Anna Leppännen runs the local inn at Mykines, a Faroe island which is 45 minutes by boat from the main island. It is lonely. Not because she doesn’t meet anybody, but she would have liked to be in touch with others working through Nordjobb. Neither has she had many cultural experiences since she has been working non-stop for 31 days. Whether she is a future Nordic enthusiast remains to be seen.

Not all employers hire Nordjobb youths for the right reasons, but as you can read in this month’s Theme there are plenty of examples of Nordjobb youths whose experiences have been extremely valuable.

Poul Nielson underlines that the Nordic model is built on some basic values. “In order to secure our opportunities and to build on what we like about the Nordic region, we have to be proactive and make sure our basic values are well known.” Here there is a space for Nordjobb.

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