In a new collaboration between Jönköping University and McMaster University in Canada, researchers will compare how Syrian refugees in both countries have entered the labour market. 

The research will be conducted in close cooperation with nongovernmental organisations, and experiences and methods in Jönköping, Örebro and Hamilton will be surveyed and compared.

In May of this year, professor Benson Honig from McMaster University was in Jönköping to initiate, together with researchers from the School of Education and Communication, the three-year project, entitled “Non-government Organization Facilitation of Labour Market and Entrepreneurship Experiences of Syrian Refugees to Canada and Sweden.” The hope is to be able to find and highlight good examples from both countries.

“We are interested in the entire network structure that supports integration,” says Benson Honig.

In Jönköping, representatives from the municipality and the association Integrera Mera, among others, were involved in the project’s design and planning. The first step was mapping out the network of associations and organisations that work with integration in each city. Now that this has been completed, the next step is to look at the issues and problems that the actors themselves identify and hopefully to present solutions that work in practice.

“We want to be of use in some way,” says professor Helene Ahl, who leads the project on the Swedish side.

Syrians were chosen as the primary target of this project as they comprise a large group of people who came from the same geographic area over a period of just a few years, which provides a unique opportunity for studies in the field.

While the focus of the project is the labour market and entrepreneurship, for progress to be achieved in these areas, integration must function on many other levels. For example, childcare, school and children’s recreational activities can play a major role in how parents succeed in entering society. Therefore, even sports associations and other types of organisations that do not directly deal with labour market issues, but rather with integration in other areas, such as churches, will be contacted in the project.

“Our job is to systematise your knowledge and package it so that others can make use of it,” said Helene Ahl to the project’s representatives at the meeting in May.