A new program called Tækifærið (“the opportunity”) aims to teach young people vocational skills that will enable them to obtain stable employment, To visit reports. In 2022, Tækifærið will offer two 13-week courses, which will teach practical skills such as how to tear off and replace flooring, paint furniture and repair electrical wiring, as well as help participants improve their mental, physical and social skills. along the way and put them in touch with future employers.
The first course has six participants and takes place in Borgarfjörður, West Iceland. It was funded by the Development Fund for Employment and Education, the Mental Health Support Fund and Landsbankinn, and is free for participants.
“Each participant must want to change their life for the better”
Tækifærið is the brainchild of Björk Vilhelmsdóttir, social worker and former member of Reykjavík City Council. It is based on one of the three universal values of the United Nations: leave no one behind.
“The organizers of Tækifærið have faith in people, all people”, explains the program website. “We are ready to work with those who are furthest from the labor market; these individuals possess innumerable assets. Tækifærið is built around the strengths of the participants and those who work with them. We are well aware of our weaknesses but do our best to no longer let them dictate our lives.
The program promises to empower participants, but this empowerment must be self-motivated: “The basic principle of empowerment is that people take responsibility for their own lives…Each participant must want to change their life for the best.”
Half of the unemployed are foreign nationals
While the program is aimed at young people in general, Tækifærið will undoubtedly be useful for young foreigners living in Iceland. Unemployment in Iceland is currently 5.2%, or about 10,000 people. Just under half of this group, or 43%, are foreign nationals.
Vísir interviewed Alfredo Correia from Portugal, who is one of the six participants in the Tækifærið Spring 2022 course. “I came to Iceland to grow up, because in my country it is very difficult to live,” he said. Alfredo has no formal education and decided to go abroad to seek better opportunities.
Björk is optimistic that the first class will manage to find work after completing the program. “In May, I’ll be ready to take offers from the business world,” she said, “and I know there will be plenty.”