The young immigrant on the social integration path

Open workshop in Tampere 15.9.2016

Social integration of immigrants is a hot topic in Finland and all of Europe. Last year, hundreds of thousands of people arrived in Europe: most of them escaping war in the Middle East. The vast majority of those seeking asylum in Finland are young men, and most of them come from Iraq. The question of how to best integrate these young men to society is of crucial importance in the quest for a successful immigration policy.




During the morning session we concentrated on the young adult, age 16 -21. At this age, they are still in the process of creating their identity. Now at the same time they are in faced with the task of building a safe foundation for their life, and this in the environment of a completely new language and culture. Of those having escaped war and anarchy, many suffer from a severe case of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The people steering the integration processes and helping these people do have a very demanding job. They also face pressure from society, and from politicians on all sides of the political spectrum, as the whole topic of immigration is a very controversial one. At the seminar, professionals working in the field of integration in the Pirkanmaa region came together to network, as well as to reflect their experiences in dialogue with others. The co-creative workshops helped identify some of the next steps in the process of social integration as well as some of the obstacles and threats that commonly occur in the process. The discussions were very inspiring.

We used one specific question to steer the conversation: “How can the collaboration of supported housing units, group homes, reception-centres and municipalities support the social integration of the young immigrant?”

Elina Wallin-Mattila from the Pirkanmaa Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment reminded the participants, that immigrants should also be seen as a resource. She spoke about a project called “At home in Finland”. The team of Child Welfare Unit Siivet Ltd from town Mänttä, talked about their seven years of experience of developing social integration. Rajkumar Sabanadesan, an expert on horizontal leadership from IMO Finland talked about the issue of leading trust.

In the end we organized co-creative workshops, where everyone concentrated on a specific question in small groups of three people. Then we shared our findings. The participants felt that they got new ideas and energy to take the next steps in their work in the field of social integration.

The event was organized by IMO Finland, Child Welfare Unit Siivet Ltd, Pirkanmaa Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment and Talent Space.


Hannu Tuovinen

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