Programme consultant at the Qualification Centre for Immigrants in the Municipality of Trondheim
What is important for newly arrived immigrants to know about Norwegian society?
I think it is important that immigrants know that we live in a democratic society that is regulated by a well-developed body of laws. Norway is a good, safe country that looks after its inhabitants. The payment of tax is something that benefits everyone, not least ourselves.
Immigrants also have to be aware of the educational opportunities they have here and know how they can utilise the skills they bring with them. It is important for immigrants to start work after a while so that they can support themselves and their families.
In order to flourish in Norway it is important to develop a network. When it comes to Norwegians, they should know that sport and outdoor life are important to many people, that parents follow up their children in many leisure activities, and that showing up on time for appointments is good manners.
What do you, as a programme consultant, expect from immigrants who participate in the introduction programme?
I expect newly arrived immigrants to participate actively in the preparation of their programme plan and to suggest activities. I hope they will understand that the introduction programme is a helping hand on the road to their own success. Every participant in the introduction programme is unique and possesses skills they can develop further. The Norwegian language is the key to opening many doors in Norwegian society. Immigrants benefit from being inquisitive, initiators, and open when they speak to their programme consultants.
What do immigrants expect from the introduction programme?
They expect to be taken seriously and for the introduction programme to provide financial security. I think that many immigrants expect the introduction programme to make it easier for them to come into contact with Norwegians. They expect to receive information about the job market and their local community. Many also want to participate in various activities outside classroom hours.
Have you experienced any misunderstandings?
Sometimes immigrants misunderstand the role of the programme consultant. At the beginning of the introduction programme the participant receives a lot of help with practical things. After a while the immigrant is expected to be able to do more things himself or herself.
What are your hopes for the future?
I hope that participants in the introduction programme put the multifaceted skills they possess into use and that they take advantage of the opportunities that both the introduction programme and society offer. Moreover, I hope that the offer of the programme is perceived as useful and helps every individual person prosper.
Successful integration is everybody’s responsibility, including the immigrant’s. It is therefore important that those who participate in the introduction programme are involved in the formulation of their own individual plan and that they do their bit. Business and the public sector must employ people with backgrounds that differ from their own to a much greater degree than they have so far.
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