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Sweden's job coach system a 'fiasco': report

Sweden's job coach system a 'fiasco': report

Published on: 22 Feb 2011 15:51 CET

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Sweden’s National Employment Agency (Arbetsförmedlingen - AF) claims that as many as 40 percent secured jobs after they joined the three-month job coach program, but that figure is reported to include hourly-paid and temporary staff who are still looking for jobs.

The Swedish government has allocated a total of 3 billion kronor ($466 million) to the venture, with 1.2 billion disbursed so far.

According to an internal evaluation by AF the effects of the job coach system remained "unclear".

AF makes no distinction between the results of job seekers who have received internal or external job coaching.

"Job seekers who have had coach have received a higher number of internships, but to a lesser extent have found a job in comparison with job seekers who have not been given coaching," AF wrote in a statement.

"I think you have to look at coaching in a slightly broader perspective before deciding on whether this was right or wrong," said Clas Olsson, AF analysis manager. at a press briefing on the evaluation.

Olsson drew attention to the gloomy economic situation in the autumn of 2008, when the decision to launch the billion kronor investment in job coaches was taken.

"Some form of increase in resources were needed, and then the coaches fitted in pretty well," Olsen said Olsen, adding that the results were somewhat unexpected.

"I had probably expected a slight positive effect in the light of what has been concluded in other studies," he said.

According to AF's own figures, 37 percent, nearly four out of ten, earned a job 90 days after the completion of coaching. This figure includes temporary staff and other part-time unemployed.

The employment minister, Hillevi Engström, is not fully satisfied with the outcome of the focus on job coaches, but is neither directly dissatisfied:

"Of course, I would have preferred that there were more (who had found work). But we have also had a labour market crisis."

"Eight out of ten participants were satisfied or very satisfied to have been able to be given individually tailored support, which many can not get anywhere else. So for that reason, I think this was a positive reform."

TT/The Local/pvs(news@thelocal.se)

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