Photo: Ekot

Elderly and disabled lose out in job scheme

A new report from the Swedish Public Employment Service raises questions about how the long term unemployed will fare in an improving job market. Unemployment is currently at just below eight percent but is expected to fall over the coming year.

Looking back at the performance of the national "job guarantee" scheme from 2007 to 2010, the employment service admitted that it could have done better.

Clas Olsson, Chief Analyst at the employment service, said there was an over-representation of older people and people with disabilities among those who remained in the scheme for more than 15 months without finding work.

The scheme is broken up into three phases. In the first two those in the scheme are offered coaching, training and work experience for 75 percent of the week – the rest of the time they are supposed to look for a job.

However in the third phase of the scheme - after 15 months of unemployment - participants have to work full time for employers who are paid for taking them on.

Critics of the scheme say that the job placements on offer do not lead to worthwhile employment but just provide companies with cheap labour.

Ylva Johansson, Social Democrat member of parliament and vice chair of the parliament’s employment committee, told news agency TT that the long term unemployed are in danger of getting locked into the scheme.

She said education and training should also be offer for those on job placements and that people are getting back into paid work despite the scheme, rather than because of it.

However Claes Olsson, at the Public Employment Service pointed out that the scheme is working for most, as a majority – or 70 percent - are back in a job within just over a year.

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