Vivalla, a housing complex in Örebro, is being upgraded with a holistic approach, from both a community and an environmental perspective. Skanska and the municipal housing company ÖrebroBostäder (Öbo) have entered into a four-year partnership agreement to upgrade the area that was built as part of the "Million Program" in the 1960s.
Unemployment in Vivalla is higher than in the rest of Örebro. One important goal is to create long-term job opportunities for residents in the area by involving them in the reconstruction work and allowing them to get a foothold in the labor market. Some Vivalla residents will have the chance to get involved in the project as "Resident Builders."
Six months of training
Skanska is working with Öbo and the Arbetsförmedlingen work placement service to offer six months of supervised work experience and training aimed at creating real jobs and allowing the participants to boost their CVs with experience from a leading construction company or its subcontractors.
25 people engaged so far
The goal is to offer work experience to 50 – 80 people. So far around 25 people have been given work or received supervised work experience through Skanska, subcontractors or others involved in the project. Some have, for example, secured internships in building materials stores. The Resident Builders project, Boendebyggare, is aimed at skilled workers such as carpenters, people who need to supplement their training from another country, and those with no construction experience at all.
In order to optimize the benefits of the work experience period, all Resident Builders will have personal supervisors who have completed a special supervisor course. An introduction to the values that apply, aimed at everyone in the project, will ensure that the workplace culture is open and inclusive.
Safety training included
The participants will also be given an introduction to the project, Skanska, Öbo and the construction industry in general. In addition, all participants will go through the mandatory introduction to safety aspects.
Niklas Törnström is a Resident Builder who has been unemployed for a while but is now getting carpentry experience within the project.
"It feels great to be working in construction right here where I live. My future as a carpenter starts here."
Ahmad Nuur Osman has only limited previous experience as a bricklayer in Somalia but is now training with Puts & Tegel, the company working on the facades for the project:
"This is great! My supervisor Henrik Johansson is teaching me everything about bricklaying. And my wife is really happy that I'm working," says Osman.
Omar is getting plumbing experience with LG Contracting, another of the project's subcontractors.
"Right now I'm learning professional Swedish so I can understand the plans. In five years' time I may have my own plumbing firm or a permanent position at LG Contracting," he says.
Abdalla Hussein from Somalia has not worked in Sweden before but thinks it's good to be able to learn a trade. He's doing groundwork, driving a plate compactor and taking laser measurements.
"Örebro has a high level of unemployment and we have been discussing what to do for a long time. In Vivalla, more than 65 percent of children are growing up in financially vulnerable families. We want to reduce child poverty by helping the parents enter the labor market," says Lena Baastad, Chairman of the Municipal Executive Board in Örebro.
"I am extremely pleased about the level of interest being shown from all directions – from politicians, housing companies and not least from commerce. Naturally, we will evaluate the results, but I am convinced that social aspects in construction projects are here to stay," says Ulf Rohlén, President of ÖrebroBostäder (ÖBO), who presented the proposal to engage suppliers as early as during the procurement.
ÖBO and Skanska are working together under a four-year partnering agreement for the Vivalla project.
"The most important aspect of partnering is that clients and suppliers jointly identify decisions, rational methods and iterative effects that allow you to get more for your money," says Peter Höög, Skanska's Head of Partnering.
Pioneers in community involvement
Skanska's project manager Magnus Ryström and project engineer Nina Olofsson radiate enthusiasm for the expanded community engagement that the Resident Builder program offers.
"Most of the subcontractors are enthusiastic as well when we tell them about it and I'm convinced that more and more housing companies will follow in Öbo's footsteps. We are pioneers and that gives us the competitive edge going forward," says Magnus Ryström.
Ahmad Nuur Osman is getting work experience as a bricklayer.
Omar Gahayr Golle working on interior plumbing.
Niklas Törnström is taking a carpentry course and getting work experience at Vivalla.
Abdalla Hussein driving a plate compactor.