At Greencarrier, people matter. We believe in diversity and inclusion across all aspects of our business as well as in society in general. Recently, we initiated a collaboration with Mitt Liv in Gothenburg, Sweden, as part of our CSR activities. Three of our staff members; Johan, Maria and Marcus are now proud mentors of a programme that helps people with foreign background enter the Swedish labour market.
Working for an inclusive society and a labour market that values diversity
The organisation Mitt Liv is a social enterprise working for an inclusive society and a labour market that values diversity. Their goal is to open doors for people with foreign background to enter the Swedish labour market through mentoring, training and education.
The programme is called Mitt Livs Chans, Chance of a Lifetime, and consists of three parts: one educational part for the mentors, one educational part for the mentees, and regular meetings including both groups. To create the perfect match, mentors and mentees with similar education are paired up. The meetings involve seminars, dialogues in smaller groups and training opportunities for job interviews or similar situations. The mentors and mentees may meet over a coffee to practice the Swedish language or talk about day-to-day challenges.
For Johan Olers, Logistics & Equipment Manager at Greencarrier Liner Agency, it didn’t take long until the cooperation between him and his mentee provided fruitful results. “My mentee is an Environmental Engineer from Thailand. She has been living in Sweden for about five years now. Over those years, she has been employed, but never had a job relevant to her education. When the project started, she had an internship that was just about to expire. Our common goal was to find a relevant job as soon as possible after her internship.”
Johan decided to contact some of his friends and pull some strings. “I made a list of all municipalities in Västra Götaland County with contact details to vacant positions available. My mentee went through the list applying for jobs. Before we knew it, she got offered a job!”
Today, Johan’s mentee is working for a consulting firm with assignments for Alingsås County. “In a way, my mission is accomplished. However, my mentee and I still speak every now and then, even though not as often as we used to. She doesn’t really have time for me now that she has got a job! But it is nice to stay in contact, and I will be happy to help her solve things also in the future.”
Making a big difference with a small effort
For Maria Limberg, Finance Manager at Greencarrier Freight Services, the mentorship has been a lot about mentally supporting her mentee. “My mentee is a well educated economist. However, after applying for job after job without any results, she has lost her confidence”, she says. Many of the mentees are well educated, but still have difficulties entering the Swedish labour market. Some of them have applied for hundreds of jobs, but not once been asked to an interview. “This is very disappointing and of course lowers their self-esteem. My role as a mentor has very much been to encourage my mentee to believe in herself and make her realise her own potential”.
Maria is convinced that Greencarrier makes a huge difference by being part of the project. “It is a way of showing that one can make a big difference with a small effort. As a mentor, I don’t think the effort you make is that big, but it certainly makes a difference. The goal is of course that the mentees should be employed by the end of the project. But very often, just showing your support and being interested and committed, means a lot.”
Contributing to a more integrated society
For all three of Greencarrier’s mentors, Chance of a Lifetime is not only a matter of helping people with foreign background enter the Swedish labour market. It is also a way of taking responsibility for the society we live in and what is happening in the world right now. “Integration has moved on top of the political agenda in Sweden. Mitt Liv has been a chance for me to contribute to a more integrated society in a very concrete way. It is important to minimise the time gap for people with foreign background – from the time they arrive to Sweden to the time they enter the Swedish labour market”, says Marcus Meijerbom, Customs Manager at Greencarrier Freight Services.
Also, diversity issues and cultural differences have become more clear to Greencarrier’s mentors. “My mentee managed to enter the Swedish labour market fairly quickly, which had little to do with me, to be honest! But instead, her challenge has been to understand the social codes and unwritten rules we have in Sweden. I have supported her a lot in those things”, says Marcus.
Maria’s mentee is from China, and they have had long conversations about the cultural differences between China and Sweden. “In Sweden, it is socially accepted, if not an obligation, to join your colleagues for a coffee in your workplace. Whereas in China, it may be seen as unprofessional to take a break and chat with your colleagues. These cultural differences mean a lot”, says Maria.
A CSR project that paid off and may inspire other companies
Maria, Johan and Marcus all agree that being part of Mitt Liv has been beneficial in more than one way, not least for the city of Gothenburg. “Investing with our time, money and effort in a project like Mitt Liv is money well spent, says Johan. People get employed, which nourishes the society. We receive a profitable return on the investment as a lot of the money goes right back to the city of Gothenburg; many of the mentees will be working here, and some might even end up at Greencarrier! This is a long-term investment in the future”.
They are all proud to be part of a company that believes in diversity and inclusion across all aspects of its business and in society in general. “I am very happy to work for Greencarrier, a company that always strives to do good. I hope we can inspire other Gothenburg-based companies to get involved in the project”, says Marcus.
“This project has given me a lot of new knowledge and insights”, says Maria. “Meetings provide a sublime arena for gaining new perspectives and learning from each other.”
What do you think of the project? Let us know in the comments below! If you enjoyed reading this blog post, please sharing it in social media. For more info about our other CSR projects, visit Greencarrier’s website.