Long-term unemployed tapped for Swedish cultural preservation bid

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Long-term unemployed tapped for Swedish cultural preservation bid

The government has proposed utlising thousands of Swedes with diminished work capacity due to illness or disability in a new effort to help preserve Sweden's cultural heritage.


The venture, included in the Swedish government's autumn budget proposal, would likely involve digitizing and taking an inventory of various cultural works, and take place under the guidance of the Swedish National Heritage Board (Riksantikvarieämbetet).

“It can be everything from ensuring that ancient ruins become easier to see in the woods, to spending time digitizing old archives,” culture minister Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth said in a statement published by the National Heritage Board.

Altogether, the government plans to set aside 800 million kronor ($119 million) to give Swedes' whose sickness benefits have expired a job within the cultural sector. Of that sum, 270 million kronor would go to reimburse workplaces for creating positions in conjunction with the programme.

“The target group includes people who have especially weak ties to the labour market after their sickness benefits expired and have a physical impairment restricting their work capacity,” the government in a statement detailing the proposal.

“This is a way into to the job market through meaningful employment,” minister for employment Hillevi Engström told the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper.

According to the government, the venture would provide 4,400 people subsidised employment within the cultural sector.

“The efforts supports people who are on their way back to employment and community following long-term unemployment due to illness,” the government said.

“At the same time, it contributes to important work with our cultural heritage.”

The government expects to create 1,200 positions within the framework of the programme, dubbed Kulturarvslyftet ('Cultural Heritage Lift'), in 2012 and 2014, in addition to 2,000 positions expected to be created in 2013.

Sweden's  The Association of Swedish Museums (Riksförbundet Sveriges museer), welcomed the initiative.

“Kulturarvslyftet created the conditions to allow museums to keep working on digitalisation of our common culutral heritage,” association head Mats Persson said in a statement.


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