Gateway to employment: opportunities not obstacles
- Gateway to employment: opportunities not obstacles
- ASA Telenor
- Country of Implementation
- Northern Europe
- First published
Acting as a springboard into the workplace, the Telenor Open Mind programme offers an opportunity for people with reduced mobility, mental health, hearing or visual impairments to get into the workplace and develop the necessary skills and experience to be successful at work. The Telenor Open Mind programme duration is two years. In the first three months of the programme the individuals participate in a computer training course, as well as a course which develops social skills for the workplace, covering interviews, interacting with colleagues/supervisors, and seeing oneself as a resource. These first three months allow the participants to gain the confidence they need to be contributing members of the workplace. The following 21 months are work practice in Telenor in an area of their interest, allowing them to gain hands-on experience. The programme has been running for 16 years. People who participate in the programme are usually high school graduates and are motivated to gain employment. Even though it is quite challenging for Telenor to accommodate the diversity of their participants, the dedicated management team is open-minded to the participants’ needs and enables participants to be successful in the workplace. With the success of gaining meaningful employment, participants are grateful for the two-year learning period to gain confidence and work-practice. Thus, the Telenor Open Mind programme adopts a “win-win-win” strategy aimed at benefiting the participants, the organisation and society: the participants get valuable experience, Telenor gets good labour and increases diversity, and society benefits from an increased work participation level.
Solution, Innovation and Impact
The programme started in 1994 and has been running for 16 years. Since then 200 participants have been trained. Each session of the programme takes 5-6 participants - on average 30 per year. Upon completion of the programme, there is an average 75% success rate for obtaining employment. Telenor gains NOK 2.7 million (approximately €360,000) per year as well as reductions in sick leave, improved morale amongst its workers and positive PR. Society has a net socioeconomic gain of NOK 100 million (approximately €13.4 million) per year due to disabled individuals becoming taxpayers upon completion of the programme.
Funding, Outlook and Transferability
The programme started in Norway and has since been successfully replicated in Sweden and Pakistan. The project is also currently initiated in India.