Under a scheme organised by the local authorities in the town of Soderhamn and by Sweden’s national employment office, anyone aged between 18 and 28 can volunteer to take a “Job Journey” to Oslo and attempt track down gainful employment.
Those who sign up get a ticket to the Norwegian capital and are put up in an Oslo youth hostel for a month, with Soderhamn council picking up the £20 a night bill. The package also includes on-the-spot guidance on how to get a job in Sweden’s northern neighbour.
“We had an unemployment rate of over 25 per cent, so we had to find solutions,” Magus Nilsen, the man in charge of the project at Soderhamn council, told the Daily Telegraph. “Going to Norway to find work has always been quite popular with young people, but sometimes they want to go but don’t know how to find a job or accommodation so we thought we’d give them a bit of help with both.”
So far around 100 people have decided to leave Soderhamn, a town of 12,000, 250 kilometres due north of Stockholm, to try their luck in the bright lights of Oslo, and some, at least, have struck gold.
After two years on the doll in his hometown Andreas Larsson opted for a “Job Journey” to Norway and now works as a lorry driver in Oslo.
“I came here on a Thursday and on Monday morning I had a job, so it was fast,” he told Swedish Radio. “It almost felt a bit unreal, as if you have come to the promised land.”
Soderhamn and Port Shepstone in South Africa have a twinning partnership as part of the Sweden South Africa Formal Partnership.