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Name / Title

Equality in the Forestry Sector

Case Study Region

Övre Norrland, Sweden

Geographical coverage

The county of Norrbotten, Övre Norrland




Main activity / focus


Aim is to help prevent labour shortage in forestry sector and make labour force less homogenous.

Main activity is vocational education and training of immigrants, women and persons with previous restricted access to jobs in the sector (e.g. with physical handicaps). 


Target beneficiaries / market


Three target groups have been identified: unemployed women, women and men previously with restricted access to jobs in the sector (physical handicaps for example) and immigrants (from within and outside of Europe, all are welcome but Swedish citizenship is needed).

Businesses in the forestry sector are also targeted 

Year established



Current Funding source(s)

The project is funded by the European Social Fund (ESF), the Employment Agency and the County Council of Norrbotten. Most of the funding comes from the ESF.

Large businesses involved in forestry in the region are also involved and engage in the development of the initiative and spend time on helping develop it.


Large forestry businesses, the County Council of Norrbotten through their green sector high school (Naturbruksgymnasiet, Kalix) and the regional Employment Agency have together developed the initiative.

Project owners are the green sector high school in Kalix, Övre Norrland



The project has no homepage but information can be found at the homepage of the green sector high school in Kalix, Övre Norrland:





This activity is interesting since it focuses on an explicitly rural sector and sees employments of immigrants as both a solution to a labour shortage problem and a way of increasing integration.

To fight problems with ageing labour force and a present and foreseen future labour shortage in the forestry sector in the north of Sweden, as well as to make the labour force less homogenous this project was started.

The project is built on the thesis that people educated to work in the forest sector more than others stay in the region. This also implies positive effects for the depopulation of the area.

The project is to be carried out in three phases:
1: Identification of potential labour
2: Training in cooperation with business sector
3: Support to the persons who become employed within the forestry sector

Today the second step is under implementation. All participants meeting the requirements of the Employment Agency (unemployed, within the target groups) are given financial support during the course.

Within the course the following is attended to:

  •             Working environment
  •             Ergonomics
  •             Equality
  •             English language
  •             Swedish language
  •             IT
  •             Economy
  •             Forest management
  •             Cutting trees
  •             Forestry machinery
  •             Timber
  •             Environmental management
  •             Management of areas of high cultural values
  •             Project planning, budgeting and monitoring

Participants from Russia, Finland, Estonia, Poland and the Netherlands are now taking part. No language or educational criteria is set up.

The training of the participants is carried out in close cooperation with the private businesses involved and the aim is to offer the participants’ jobs after the course or support to start up own firms. The course is however still in a start up phase, not least since it is the first time it is carried out and all participants get individual development plans and curriculums, so no firms have been started yet and no participants employed.

The involvement and positive attitudes of large businesses in the forestry sector is important for the success of the project in general. They help with machinery, the training and are the key to future employment of the participants.

Parallel with the individualisation of the curriculum some problems emerged though (e.g. language problems and lack of drivers’ licences needed for work in forestry among participants). Lindfors stresses the importance of having the time to deal with problems as they arise in the project and to try “and learn from the problems we meet.” (Sture

Lindfors further stresses the importance of training among the project staff to improve the integration process. Therefore the employees at the green sector high school get training in accessibility and equality. Within the support from the European Social Fund there is room for such activities.

Migrants benefit from:

  • Increased chances to establish contacts in forestry

Integration is affected positively:

  • By the business contacts developed
  • By the contacts between actors within the group of participants.
  • Increased knowledge of the Swedish language gained from the training

Other gains:

  • The homogenous labour force will be affected positively and the immigrants are given a chance of working in a new sector.

According to Lindfors some additions might be made to the initial project plan. They might continue support further training of some of the participants after the 40 weeks course is ending. For this reason the project owner is considering starting up a project to continue the work carried out in the current one.


Contact details


Project leader
Sture Lindfors 
Green sector high school, Kalix (Kalix naturbruksgymnasium)
0046 (0) 70-606 8075