Municipal employment trials are a means to prepare for cities’ more extensive responsibility for employment management. In particular, the trials aim to help people who are long-term unemployed or disadvantaged in the labour market to enter the labour market. They also aim at finding new solutions to ensure the availability of skilled workers. The trials’ effects on employment are expected to emerge from the pooling of state and municipal resources and the development of services and operating models.
The target group of the trial includes clients for whom municipalities will now take responsibility. This includes all recipients of labour market subsidy and basic unemployment allowance, everyone under 30 years of age and immigrants. In Espoo, this means some 14,000 job-seekers. In Espoo, about half of the target group come from an immigrant background. Responding to their service needs is therefore a particularly prominent issue for the city.
“The special characteristics of the capital region must be taken into account in the selection of the trial areas, while at the same time preventing the fragmentation of the service structure. All cities in the capital region should be selected for the trials, should they apply to participate. This is important to ensure the balanced development of the region,” says Tuula Antola, Director of Economic and Urban Development at the City of Espoo.
The trial to boost the achievement of employment goals
The strategy of the City of Espoo, known as the Espoo Story, sets the objective of raising the employment rate to 75% and reducing the unemployment rate to 5%.
“The employment trial is a key tool for the city to achieve and exceed these goals. Here in Espoo, we already have a strong culture of working together in a networked manner. We have successfully developed new kinds of services for our clients and reinvented existing ones to serve their needs better,” says Hilla-Maaria Sipilä, Head of Employment Services at the City of Espoo.
“Our goal is to keep all working-age people involved in society and working life. Our responsibility is particularly emphasised in the services for young people, immigrants, highly educated people and the long-term unemployed,” Sipilä says. Employment-promoting social and health services will therefore play a significant role in the employment trials. Social services promoting employment are expected to have a positive effect on the opportunities of unemployed people to find a job or start studying, in cases where the unemployed people in question are already clients of social work. Incapacity for work will be prevented by making health and work ability services more accessible immediately at the beginning of unemployment.
During the employment trial, the City of Espoo aims to offer services in a new way, which would help people who are long-term unemployed or disadvantaged in the labour market to enter the labour market. New solutions for ensuring the availability of skilled workers could be found for example by improving the training services intended for unemployed people and by enhancing the public recruitment services that are available to companies.
“During the trial, we intend to develop services and service models that support the employment of job-seekers. These would enable us to take better account of our clients’ individual needs for services, the obstacles to obtaining employment and their competence development needs. In addition, we seek to identify existing services that can be terminated to allocate the resources to more effective measures,” Sipilä says.
The City of Espoo has planned six work packages that it will implement during the employment trial:
multisectorality and support to the client
development of employment services for companies and development of cooperation with companies
phenomenon-based employment services to prevent exclusion from the labour market
strengthening of training services and skills acquisition
strengthening of employment services for young people as part of the Ohjaamo network and working as an ecosystem
low-threshold advisory services
If Espoo is approved to participate in the employment trials, the final decision on the city’s participation will be made by the City Board when issuing its statement on the future legislation enabling this experimentation project.