Project ArbetSam

The ArbetSam project started in February 2011 and finished in December 2013. It aimed to upskill frontline adult social care staff in the Stockholm region of Sweden. Funded by the European social fund, the project worked with 75 adult social care workplaces to embed an innovative system of sustainable workplace learning.

The project was led by Lidingö city local authority and jointly managed with Stockholm Gerontology Research Center. Project partners included six other municipalities, five private care providers, Stockholm university and Kommunal, the Swedish municipal workers´ union.

Watch a short film about ArbetSam

Swedish language needs in focus
In addition to delivering vocational qualifications to over 650 employees, the project also addressed employees´ Swedish language needs – in the Stockholm region migrant workers make up more than half of the adult social workforce and many have limited Swedish. Overall, ArbetSam benefitted some 3000 care workers.

The project was built on the idea that
• Linking vocational learning to workplace practice makes the learning more accessible and relevant to workers, particularly front-line workers with limited educational attainment
• Close co-operation between learning provider and workplace personnel is necessary in order to link vocational learning to workplace practice
• Communication is central to performance, language is central to communication but also to learning and personal identity
• Reflection is at the heart of vocational learning and at the heart of organisational performance
• Responsibility for developing migrant worker´s Swedish language should be shared between the individual worker, their employer and their colleagues.

Partnership and supportive methods
To fulfil the project aims the employers, care providers and Swedish language providers worked in partnership. Care trainers and teachers in Swedish as a second language integrated care skills and language skills in their lectures at the workplace. In order to create a supportive environment, the project trained reflective discussion leaders and language advocates.

Please note that the adaptation of the Council of Europe´s common european framework of reference for languages, CEFR, for work in elderly care and care for people with disabilities has been divided into five parts.

ArbetSam has a long history
ArbetSam´s innovative approach was developed through a decade-long series of projects in the Stockholm region, prompted by the workforce challenges associated with rising demand for increasingly complex care (due to population ageing). These challenges exist in other European countries, where migrant workers have also become an important part of the care workforce.

TDAR – the development of ArbetSam
ArbetSam and its predecessor SpråkSam (2009–2011) collaborated with partners in other European countries. ArbetSam is now the subject of a Transfer of Innovation project, TDAR (Transfer and Development of ArbetSam Results), funded through the European Union´s Lifelong Learning Programme.