The initiative helping elderly and foreign-born people combat isolation and exclusion


Integration initiative Yrkesdörren from Axfoundation is broadening the scope of its operations to create digital meetings between pensioners and foreign-born people in Sweden in need of a network. The dual aim of the initiative is to reduce isolation due to the coronavirus outbreak as well as exclusion from the Swedish labor market.

“These meetings between pensioners and foreign-born people are a way to tap into valuable professional experiences and foreign-born people may be able to find an opening in the Swedish labor market. Simultaneously, we combat isolation and create unique meetings between two groups that are at different stages of their lives yet can together build surprising new solutions for the future.” – Astrid Gyllenkrok Kristensen, Yrkesdörren

Yrkesdörren has been working to accelerate integration into the Swedish labor market for foreign-born people since 2015 by facilitating meetings with established Swedes (door openers). Since 8 out of 10 jobs in Sweden are shared among contacts, a professional network is an important key to working life. The idea is that the door opener shares insights into everything from résumes to social codes within their common industry. A recent report shows that 82% of foreign-born participants understand the Swedish labor market better after their meeting through Yrkesdörren. In addition, 65% believe that the door opener was important to their perceived integration into Swedish society.

Since last week, Yrkesdörren has been encouraging all participants to hold the meetings digitally and is now also expanding its operations to focus specifically on reaching retirees. As a large majority (67%) of the participants in the Yrkesdörren continue to stay in touch after their first meeting, thereby the initiative can play an import role in beating isolation for many during the coronavirus outbreak.

Yrkesdörren skapar digitala möten under covid-19 mellan pensionärer och utrikes födda.

Yrkesdörren skapar digitala möten under covid-19 mellan pensionärer och utrikes födda.

“This a really good initiative. We have extensive professional experience and wide networks that future healthcare professionals can benefit greatly from. If we can also contribute during this challenging period in society towards helping foreign-born people to build their own networks and increase their chances of finding a job. That will be beneficial to both the individual and the professional sector. – Ann-Mari Thorsén, recently retired registered physiotherapist and assistant professor of the Physiotherapy Program at the Karolinska Institute



Projects within Inclusive Societies