Shaping pathways into work by strengthening the health and social care sector ’s intersections. 

Health and social care section help work employment job päijät-häme

There is a growing shortage of health and social care workers in the Päijät-Häme area, and at the same time, there are many unemployed people, who have moved into the country. Supportive measures are needed for this workforce to access education and working life in the health and social care sector, including support for completion of studies and integration into the work community. 

The potential workforce with immigration background can be directed to education and integrated into the workforce with the help of adequate support, redesign of job descriptions and studies and network collaboration. These measures will also strengthen the capacity to increase work-related immigration. High quality student supervision and positive practice placement experiences increase the integration of students in the health and social care sector work communities. 

Different work practices in health and social care work communities can cause an experience of exclusion for staff and students from immigration backgrounds and there are existing, often unrecognised prejudices towards multiculturalism and unconscious biases within the work communities. Work communities need a variety of support to be truly receptive and inclusive. Work communities need language- and culture-awareness skills that can be utilised in recruitment, induction and integration into the work community. On the other hand, people with immigration backgrounds need support in learning the language and integrating into the working community. Work communities can be supported to recognise diversity as an asset and an enriching factor for the entire community. The genuine experience of inclusion in the work community also requires the construction of individual means of support for the staff and students from immigration backgrounds. 

New kind of support for diverse work communities in Päijät-Häme 

Elma 2.0 – creating encounters in the multicultural social- and health sector project, which started at the beginning of October 2023, will seek an understanding of encounters from the perspectives of different target groups and support the immigrant’s pathway into employment in the health and social care sector. The project started at an opportune time, as in the Päijät-Häme region, a new kind of readiness for the diversity of work communities has been recognised. The pathways into work for those, who have moved to the country, are promoted in the project with the help of agile experiments and by shaping job descriptions, practice placements and studies in a flexible way. Service design is utilised in the mapping of experiences, which helps to create new types of information and concrete solutions for multicultural environments in the social and health sector. 

In the ELMA 2.0 project, collaborative development has been initiated by collecting experiences from different target groups through service design – how the immigrant’s integration into studies and working life is currently demonstrated in their everyday life. The main goal of the project is to use these experiences to shape pathways for jobs in the health- and social care sector. 

The two year project will strengthen the attraction and retention power of the Päijät-Häme region from the perspective of the health- and social services sector and maintain skilled workforce in the region. It is  continuation for the ELMA – vibrant and diverse health and care sector project (LAB 2023b) that completed in spring 2023. The project is implemented in collaboration with LAB University of Applied Sci-ences, the Salpaus Further Education Center and the Wellbeing Services County of Päijät-Häme. 

Original publication at LAB University of Applied Sciences LAB Focus blog on 20 December 2023. 

Authors Maija Eerola, Project manager ELMA 2.0/R&D specialist LAB University of Applied Sciences and Petra Salmensuu, Health and Social Care lecturer Salpaus Further Education Centre/ ELMA 2.0 Specialist, 

English translation by Satu Wilson, Project manager ELMA 2.0 Wellbeing Services County of Päijät-Häme