Denmark has had success supporting marginalised youths to make sure they get an education. Mentor support, teaching and help finding apprenticeships makes the difficult transition into studies and work easier.
The Danish project of building bridges to education for marginalised youths has proved so promising that it is now being rolled out across the whole of Denmark on a permanent basis.
Measures aimed at helping young people into jobs and education should support the youths’ own inner motivation. To do that you need to realise that young, marginalised people are very different from each other, says a Danish youth researcher and author of a new book on motivation.
Good treatment and rapid measures targeted at the needs of young unemployed people, good coordination between municipalities and the public employment service — a proven way of achieving progress. The concept was developed in the project ‘Unga in’ and is carried forward in UNGKOMP.
The financial crisis was tough on young Icelanders. Many were unemployed for so long that they no longer qualified for unemployment benefit, only welfare money. Between 2012 and 2014 they were sent to Starfatorgið (‘the labour exchange’). Over half of the young people participating in Starfatorgið got a job or started studying.
A large group of youths are not in education, employment or training - so-called NEETs. There is increased focus across Europe on ways to prevent this group of young people from permanently falling outside of the labour market. The Nordic countries have good experiences with finding, motivating and preparing these youths for work, and many of these experiences were discussed at a Copenhagen conference on fighting youth unemployment on 25 March 2015. In this month’s Focus we look at how successful the Nordic measures have been.
Never before has there been more gender equality in the Nordic countries when it comes to positions of power within politics and working life, according to the Nordic Labour Market’s barometer.
The really big symbolic changes sometimes happen without people noticing. The church in three of the five Nordic countries now has a woman as its highest leader. Compared to the rest of the world, this is where the Nordic region is now top when it comes to gender equality.
Gender equality in Denmark has been falling behind the rest of the Nordic countries, both when it comes to female boardroom representation and paternity leave, but now things are moving forward.
It is women who decide over most home purchases and their buying power is growing. Yet most products are created with men in mind. This is one of the reasons why Sweden’s innovation agency Vinnova’s has created a unique new program which focuses on norm-critical innovation.
Nordic countries should stop thinking a legally binding minimum wage for the EU would be tantamount to saying goodbye to the Nordic model. Learn from Norway, says the Council of Nordic Trade Unions and Danish labour market experts .
Nearly all European countries have now introduced a statutory minimum wage. At the end of 2014 Germany introduced a minimum wage of €8.50 an hour. But the Nordic countries are sticking to their agreement model.
On 1 February parts of the collective agreement covering the Norwegian fishery industry were made universally applicable, meaning agreed wages now apply to the whole of the country. Two days later it was time for the agreement for electricians. Support for the Norwegian minimum wage model is growing.
There is strong opposition to a statutory minimum wage in Sweden. But the parties in the transport trade have started talking about making collective agreements universally applicable. The reason: pay cuts and social dumping resulting from the freedom of movement.
Finland is one of the Nordic countries which has not had a public debate about a minimum wage. The Left Alliance (VF), which is the party furthest to the left in Finland, is the only political party which has called for a statutory minimum wage. In April’s general elections the party’s manifesto will also include a promised minimum hourly wage of €10 — around €1,600 a month.
Uber, Netflix and Airbnb are names associated with the sharing economy — a term which tries to describe the rapid changes in the way we consume goods and services. We rent rather than own, we swap, share, borrow or give away. New technology allows for new kinds of transactions, which in turn influences working life.
New digital services which bring sellers and buyers together are making inroads in traditional areas of business. Most successful of them all is American Airbnb which helps people rent out their apartments. The hotel industry in Finland is fighting back.