Together with the municipality, the county and the local high school NAV Gloppen has taken a number of innovative actions to qualify motivated refugees to health education. They have turned the education process to more practice than theory in the beginning. That´s opposite to the traditional health care education in Norway, which requires that one knows the language well. Immigrants in this study started with two days of theory and three days of practice from the very first week at school.
On the days of theory the pupils were learning about health and Norwegian. They got faster introduction to both language and subjects when they combined this with practice. The heavier theoretic subjects were introduced later in the study, by then the pupils already had a better comprehension of the language and study habits. It made the school day easier.
An important experience from the first class, is that the candidates don´t need an advanced level of the Norwegian language at the beginning of the school year. Only one out of 12 stopped before reaching the goal. The others achieved very good exam results.
Faster line to the certificate
The pupils often got temporary and week end jobs at the institutions where they had practiced. The working hours also counted as practice in school, so the real practice period turned out shorter than usual. This flexible calculation of practice secured the certificate in the shortest amount of time. Norwegian State Educational Loan Fund accepted the education and gave the pupils right to scholarship in addition to transition and introduction benefit.
Gloppen had, as many other municipalities, a big and growing need for qualified health professionals, especially in elderly care. The municipality had many immigrants who wanted to work, but who lacked the required qualifications and adequate knowledge in Norwegian.
Gloppen Municipality in Sogn og Fjordane County often experienced that refugees moved on after completing the introduction program, because they couldn´t get any work. Among those who stayed, the unemployment was increasing. And also the class for health education was in danger of being closed due to of failing recruitment.
Good strategies in Gloppen
• Cooperation between different collaborators embodied in a cooperation agreement.
• All parts contributing to the financing of the education program.
• Capacity and willingness to close and individual follow-up.
• Goodwill from the Norwegian State Educational Loan Fund
Remarks from research
• Opportunities for continuing education in the region is of great importance to get refugees, immigrant workers and family immigrants to become residents. Better and more available arrangements for evaluation of prior learning is also necessary. Without this the immigrants competence turns invisible, and the region is missing out on valuable labour.
• There´s a great potential, not yet exploited, in cooperation across various sectors and actors. The county authorities, as an owner of schools and a community developer, can cooperate better with municipalities and businesses, in order to provide education requested by the regional labour market.
• The counties in Norway, responsible for the secondary education, should offer an education customised labour market and a market organised for immigrants with different backgrounds and starting points.
• Immigrants in Norwegian rural municipalities receive less credit for their education than native Norwegians do. 25 percent of immigrants with education from college or university, work in unskilled occupations.
Source: Sysselsetting av innvandrere – regionale muligheter og barrierer for inkludering