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Labour minister: Government to let successful employment schemes lapse

Some pilot projects have shown encouraging results in helping people find jobs or training. Meanwhile the unemployment rolls have been cleaned up by eliminating those who have begun studying – or in some cases died.

Työministeri Jari Lindström, Sin.
Minister of Labour Jari Lindström Image: Jarmo Honkanen / Yle

The cabinet has decided not to extend several regional employment projects despite positive results.

An array of experimental employment projects around the country will not be extended even if they have proved efficient in job creation, admits Labour Minister Jari Lindström.

In response to a request from opposition MP Tarja Filatov – herself Finland's longest-serving labour minister – Lindström said that new types of pilot programmes will be developed to replace those that run out this year.

The Blue Reform minister said that the government is “looking into opportunities to diversify and expand various kinds of employment experiments” before the new provincial administrative model takes effect next year as part of a long-debated overhaul of social services and healthcare systems, known as ‘sote’.

“Diversification of experimental pilots will also help to establish an experimental culture as part of decision-making preparations,” Lindström said in his response.

In some cases, unemployed participants may be bounced around when such programmes end, first to the standard TE employment offices and then to new provincial services when the reform takes effect next year.

Unemployment down by 11.4% in Tampere region

Some of the schemes have shown promising results. For instance one in the Pirkanmaa region, including Tampere, has cut the number of unemployed jobseekers by 11.4 percent within less than half a year, the business site Taloussanomat reported in late January.

The scheme aims to activate the unemployed – including those who have been out of work long-term – to either find work or begin training. The pilot involves more than 23,000 jobseekers in 10 municipalities. Its funding runs out at the end of 2018, though.

There are also regional experiments going on in Lapland, North Savo and south-western Finland.

Since most of these pilots began, the Finnish economy has begun to recover from a long period of stagnation. Some sectors, such as IT, already report labour shortages.

Meanwhile unemployment figures have also been improved by ‘cleaning up’ the jobless rolls. Officials have made a systematic effort to contact those listed as jobseekers, and eliminated those who have begun studying – or in some cases had died.

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