A project coordinated by Vetlanda Lärcentrum between September 2019 and December 2021. The target group for the project was individuals with short or lacked school background where the majority were illiterate. The aim of the project was to strengthen individuals to increase their chances of becoming more independent and taking more responsibility of their own life-situation. The purpose was also to give them tools to be able to approach the Swedish labor market or further studies.
Many years of experience in adult education has given us knowledge and information about the target group and what has emerged is that they have no natural coherence in the Swedish society, which leads to a feeling of exclusion. Not feeling included often results in the individual losing motivation and therefore another purpose of the project was to give them a context where they felt that their achievements also mattered.
There were about forty-five participants in the project with a small majority of women.
Content of the project:
Swedish studies 15 hours/week in combination with other activities 15hours/week.
Native language supporters have been present in all activities and initiatives. It was of great importance for the individuals to have concepts and things explained to them in their mother tongue and thus more easily absorb new information and knowledge. Having native language supporters in the project has been a major success factor.
Most of the participants in the project have never used school mathematics but still had the ability to cope with everyday situations in their home countries. The focus was on practical mathematics where we used deciliter measures, rulers, liter measures, string etc. to illustrate, for example, how long or short something is and then translate this knowledge into simple mathematics. Dice and blocks were also used to learn how to count numbers and plus and minus.
Basic digital skills
In the beginning, we focused a lot on the use of bank ID since most authorities in Sweden require you to identify yourself digitally. Bank ID is also needed for different types of logins and above all to use the school’s learning platform. We then continued to work with different steps in ICT.
Rights and obligations as an employee in Sweden. What different professions are there in Sweden? What jobs are available in my immediate area and which requirements are there for these jobs? How to write a CV. Study visits to different workplaces such as industries, schools, grocery stores, farms, warehouses etcetera.
Native language teaching
Illiterates have learned to read and write in their own mother tongue in parallel with learning Swedish
Opportunities for internships at different workplaces in combination with studies
Information about the Swedish society
The school system, healthcare, how different authorities work, different paths to work and study
Body movement/simple gymnastics once a week. The individuals were also given the opportunity to learn how to ride a bike since various local jobs require you to be able to transport yourself between different workplaces. Health care information
After the end of the project, an evaluation was carried out with all participants. The evaluation showed that the individuals felt strengthened and that they had gained a greater understanding of their role in Swedish society. They felt they belonged in a context and what they themselves can do to influence their future in Sweden. Many of them also stated that they had been given the right tools to be able to apply for a job in Sweden. About fourteen individuals got a job during the project. They also stated that they had been strengthened in both their mother tongue and in the Swedish language. The participants also felt that their knowledge of ICT had increased significantly and that they would benefit greatly from that knowledge both in Swedish society but also to be able to keep in touch with loved ones in their home countries.
Labour market inclusion:
The project gave the participants information and knowledge about what is expected of them as employees in Sweden. What rights and obligations do I have as an employee? What jobs are there in my immediate area and what knowledge do I need acquire to get a job? The project strengthened the participants and they gained a greater belief in themselves and their capacity to become self-sufficient as well as become active citizens in the Swedish society.
The overall purpose of the project was for the individuals to gain a greater understanding of how Swedish society works and give them tools to empower themselves to feel strong and motivated. Strengthening the language and basic knowledge in, for example, mathematics was an important part of the project as research shows that how we humans’ value and use reading and writing in different contexts affects the opportunities to participate in different contexts in everyday life. It is of great importance to shed light on the connection between intermediate language, power and democracy and how this in turn is related to adult second language learners’ needs and opportunities for influence over their lives and participation in democratic processes.