The Intercultural city aims at building its policies and identity on the explicit acknowledgement that diversity can be a resource for the development of the society.

The first step is the adoption (and implementation) of strategies that facilitate positive intercultural encounters and exchanges, and promote equal and active participation of residents and communities in the development of the city, thus responding to the needs of a diverse population. The Intercultural integration policy model is based on extensive research evidence, on a range of international legal instruments, and on the collective input of the cities member of the Intercultural Cities programme that share their good practice examples on how to better manage diversity, address possible conflicts, and benefit from the diversity advantage.

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The “Second chance”: work qualification centre for migrants

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The refugees[1] and other migrants who do not succeed to complete the professional, social and language training within the two years of the introduction programme (or other programmes) are given a “second chance” through the “Second chance programme”. The latter started in 2005 as a pilot project run by three professionals and is now a full public programme involving fifteen workers (including psychologists, health care professionals, teachers and IT experts, etc.) cooperating with the Welfare office of the city of Bergen. Around 150 participants enrol every year but many others are on a waiting list.

The Second chance programme is mainly aimed at ensuring the integration of the participants in the job market and this includes the teaching of Norwegian language. Participants continue receiving the social benefit (15.000 Nok per adult + 27 Nok per day per each child) but if they find a job in the meantime, the amount of the salary is deducted from the benefit. Since the benefits are subject to taxes, this financial assistance is also considered as a tool for teaching the participants how to administrate money and how to pay taxes.

80% of the people enrolled are women with caregiving responsibility. Most of them are refugees from countries like Somalia, Eritrea and Iraq. In their countries they had low or no educational background, and still have little knowledge of Norwegian language, both reasons why they didn’t manage to achieve full inclusion after the Introduction programme. At the Second chance, they all get a tailor-made personalised work plan based on their wishes compared to the social norms of the host society. They are followed by a contact person[2] who establishes a close relation of trust with the participant, mentors she/he and monitors the progress towards the achievement of the goals. The Second chance programme is built around two main axes: Norwegian lessons and work internship. It includes vocational courses, a “job club”, conversation groups to improve the knowledge of the language, thematic courses on habits, social norms, IT skills, job search, and a health group.

Examples of dedicated projects are:

- The “Cook and Dialogue” course: it aims at teaching participants the catering professions while stimulating dialogue, self-confidence, and language skills. The participants enrolled in the Cook and Dialogue programme prepare for instance catering services for the public schools.

- “Of course I can” is a self-motivation programme designed for people in need of specific assistance. With the help of the mentor, the participants make an assessment of their own resources and set up a dedicated plan to be able to show off their working skills.

- Internship in private enterprises: this is a programme that provides traineeship opportunities in the labour market. The municipality finds and negotiates the terms of the traineeship and ensures that job opportunities follow in case the work provided has been satisfactory. Cooperation with the job providers works well particularly because the internship provides companies with low costs recruitment and a reputation of being a socially responsible brand. The Second chance supervisors ensure a close follow-up and provide specific guidance.

In addition, as of 2016 - the local business association (owned by the city) launched a pilot project to open-up 60 places for low skills migrants and refugees that will now enter into a specific working programme.

According to recently published figures (2019), in 2017 55% of the participants who completed the full programme at the Second chance, including the internship, integrated the job market. A State funded cost-benefit analysis carried out in 2011 showed that the Second chance programme is good value for money. This view is shared by the current government that has recently increased the funds to this programme.


[1] Including former refugees, refugees, and family reunified persons.

[2] Each contact person is responsible for a maximum of 18 refugees.


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