Immigrants with higher education experience obstacles when seeking employment in Norway. Such obstacles include over-qualification, weak Norwegian language skills and difficulties in having their qualifications recognised by the Norwegian labour market. Many immigrants lack networks and cultural understanding when it comes to finding employment. Uncertainty and scepticism can make it difficult for employers to employ immigrants.
Norwegian language training with fast progression for immigrants who have commenced or completed their college or university education. This consisted of school and online learning over three semesters or shorter, depending on the participant’s skills. There were 14 hours of language training four days a week and language practice one day a week. The participants also received competence mapping and career guidance.
Results in the form of Norwegian language skills after three semesters were measured and documented through Norwegian language tests in 2015. The participants performed well compared with the national averages. The students achieved above average results but the goal of half of the participants reaching the B2 level in at least three of the skills was only partially achieved, 23 per cent managed this.
Objective and target group
The main purpose of the initiative was for immigrants to gain knowledge of and a foothold in the Norwegian labour market as quickly as possible.
The target group for the initiative was immigrants who had commenced or completed their college or university education, a group that is often placed in track 3 of the Norwegian language training. These often have good qualifications and motivation for intensified Norwegian language training so that they can find employment quickly.
There were two groups. One group had participants who started on A1+, which extended over three semesters. The other group had participants who started on A2+, which extended over three semesters. The target group was immigrants who came under the Norwegian Introduction Act (a right and obligation to Norwegian language training) and those who did not. The objective of the participants being on the B2 level at the end of the course requires motivation and learning competence.
About the initiative
The initiative was called “Norskkurs med rask progresjon og arbeidslivsfokus” (Norwegian language course with fast progression and a focus on working life) - or “MOT - Ressursmobilisering for innvandrere med høyere utdanning” (Resource mobilisation for immigrants with higher education). An important principle for Arendal adult education when offering Norwegian language training with fast progression is that the initiative motivates the participants’ resources and cultural competence with a view to participation in the Norwegian labour market.
The initiative included intensive Norwegian language training online and in classrooms and spanned two or three semesters. The online learning option is no longer available. Experience showed that the participants’ motivation to use this form of learning was high at the beginning of the semester but gradually declined. The initiative also included several other elements, which collectively resulted in a high enough learning pressure.
Competence mapping, career guidance with a counsellor, language practice and networking were included in the initiative. The initiative also consisted of workshops, communication courses, yoga and lectures on culture in working life and Norwegian society. A job seminar – «Min vei til jobb» (My path to employment) - was also held where former MOT students were invited to share their experiences.
The “Mer norsk” textbook series (Nilsen, Gølin Kaurin. Fagbokforlaget) was used and consisted of traditional textbooks and workbooks, as well as associated online assignments. This covers A2-B1. In addition: “Klart det!” and “På nivå”, from the publisher Fagbokforlaget.
Participants from the MOT class at Arendal adult education discussing the consultation paper from Arendal municipality’s community plan. Photo: Helene Walle, Arendals Tidende.
Organisation and economy
Arendal adult education in Arendal municipality was responsible for the initiative, where each course had about 15 participants.
Three people were employed during the project period. Their workload corresponded to 2.1 full-time equivalents.
Two people shared the project manager responsibilities, where one was responsible for the educational part of the courses and the other was responsible for finding language practice places, organising seminars and contact with relevant partners.
Important partners were NAV Arendal (career guidance and refugee service), Arendal næringsforening, NHO Global Future/NHO Agder, University of Agder, NGOs, companies and institutions in the region. The cooperation with local resources and partners made it possible to offer course participants a wide range of activities, such as workshops, lectures and experiences related to their developmental and learning needs - under the motto of “strengthening the whole person”.
Arendal adult education has used the experiences from the work to further develop and adjust MOT - resource mobilisation for people with higher education based on today’s needs. The initiative is currently part of ordinary services.
Through the practical training, the participants were able to make new contacts and challenge themselves.
The participants were exposed to the Norwegian language and working life in more ways than they would have been in an ordinary learning situation and the participants greatly appreciated this. For example, “My path to employment” received a high score in the participant evaluation.
The students achieved above average results but the goal of half of them reaching the B2 level in at least three of the skills was only partially met.
The initiative met the needs and objective of qualifying immigrants with higher education.
The initiative’s objective for Norwegian language training related to progression and end result is clear.
The initiative produced results in the form of Norwegian language skills – documented through Norwegian language tests and with results far above the national averages.
- The initiative met the needs and objective of qualifying immigrants with higher education.
- The initiative’s objective for Norwegian language training related to progression and end result is clear.
- The initiative produced results in the form of Norwegian language skills – documented through Norwegian language tests and with results far above the national averages.
About the assesment
IMDi’s quality assurance of best practice has been based on systematic assessments according to given criteria.
The criteria are:
- Result – what result does the practice produce?
- Descriptions – is the practice well described?
- Economy – what resources are required to implement the practice?
- Transferability – is it possible to implement the practice elsewhere?
The perspective on knowledge-based practice forms the basis for IMDI’s best practice work. It means that practices are assessed based on: Research-based knowledge, experience-based knowledge and user knowledge.
IMDi’s work on best practice is based on Rambøll’s report Model for identification and dissemination of best practice
Name: Helga Tørå Karsrud
Position and place of work: Head of the Norwegian language department at Arendal adult education/Arendal municipality
Tel.: +47 37 00 65 00