Navigation path


Language training at work helps people to belong


4 people holding textboxes for exchange
© Free for use (source:

Competence and Collaboration offers immigrants in Sweden on-the-job training with a difference: connecting workplace and language training, helping them integrate into local job markets and wider society.

In the North of Sweden, a project called Competence and Collaboration is providing on-the-job training with a difference.

In the areas of Jokkmokk, Gällivare, Kiruna and Pajala, which make up the Laplands of Sweden, there is an acute shortage of skilled staff. Meanwhile, there are large numbers of immigrants in these areas looking for work.

So, based on the idea that integration happens best when people learn the language of their new home, Competence and Collaboration connects workplace and language training. Participants learn Swedish by talking to colleagues and customers as part of their job.

Over two years, participants undertake six months of training in a specific job sector, such as elderly care or hospitality, which includes an internship with additional language coaching.

The practical approach of Competence and Collaboration means that the usual Swedish For Immigrants (SFI) language course is adapted to be much more goal-oriented. Here, it is about getting people into work, fast.

Kurt Wennberg, Project Manager, said: "We saw that the biggest barrier getting into the labour market quickly was the language. Therefore, it was important that the project would give participants the opportunity to combine learning Swedish with language practice in relevant workplaces. By being able to train the Swedish language in a working environment and at the same time gaining training, the employability of the newcomers increased."

As well as work, the project gives participants a bigger social network and a feeling of belonging, making them an essential part of the future workforce.

Project name Competence and collaboration
Duration 2016 - 2019
ESF contribution € 667,741.00
Total budget € 1,008,460.00
Participants 120
Country Sweden
Organisation Laplands Learning Centers and the municipalities of Jokkmokk, Gällivare, Kiruna and Pajala
Social Media
Contact details Kurt Wennberg
Related links 1.1. Strengthening employment and supporting mobility
1.1.1. Opening pathways for work
1.2.1. Opening doors to learning
1.2.3. Training that works