Online language coaching promotes integration of young immigrants

The EU Commission is constantly working on developing common policies and regulations on how to address the challenges of migration and promote successful integration. The Europe 2020 Strategy targets to raise the employment rate of 20-64 year olds in the EU to 75%.

Furthermore the European agenda for the integration of non-EU-migrants July 2011 emphasizes integration as crucial to realize the full potential of migration. However, the integration process is a shared responsibility and the European Commission calls for more action at local level. A new Swedish Online Language Coach program addresses young immigrants and helps them enhance their language skills and endorses future job opportunities – this is an example of turning the challenge of migration in the country into a win-win situation for both migrants and host country.

Practicing language skills on Live Messenger

The Swedish Coaches is a collaborative project between the city of Stockholm, Microsoft, the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) and Stockholm University. The purpose of the project is to enhance young immigrants´ Swedish language skills that will improve their chances of succeeding in school and in finding jobs. The students can contact Swedish teachers online by using Microsoft Live Messenger when they need help with assigned school work or want to practice their Swedish language skills.

Language and education are key elements for successful integration into any society. The Stockholm Board of Health and Welfare wanted to support immigrants´ rights to inclusion. As a result they took a strategic decision to look at ways to support young adults in their everyday life to help them realize their full potential. On that basis we developed the program called Swedish Coaches Online.

A win-win situation
The program creates a platform for interaction and learning between students from Stockholm University studying to become Swedish language teachers and young immigrants who want to learn Swedish. The program is mutually beneficial. The students from Stockholm University obtain a better understanding on how to coach people with Swedish as their second language whereas the foreigners get help to do their school homework and can practice their language skills online. This program gives young people the flexibility and support to access employment opportunities across borders, this is a great case study which is aligned to the goals of the ‘Youth on the Move’ program and on a larger scale helps to realize the full potential of migration in EU.

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