From Iceland — Immigrant Job-Seekers Keen For Education

Immigrant Job-Seekers Keen For Education

Published January 6, 2021

Valur Grettisson
Photo by
Art Bicnick

Job-seekers that are not of Icelandic origin are very keen on starting school here, RÚV reports this morning. At the time of reporting, 500 unemployed workers have registered to start school this semester using a new resource at the Directorate of Labour made for those that have been without jobs for at least six months—and 300 of these 500 are immigrants. This education plan was introduced last fall and allows workers to start studying at secondary schools, universities, or in continuous education programs while still on unemployment benefits. At the end of the semester, they can then apply for a student loan if they are interested in continuing study.

While there were initially 1,000 spots available for those workers, only 500 applied for the program. Hrafnhildur Tómasdóttir, a division manager at the Directorate of Labour, said that part of the reason why only 500 workers applied could perhaps be due to the plethora of distance-learning options available in Iceland over these last months. Therefore, she believes that next fall’s group will possibly be bigger when in-person learning re-commences.

This proportion of immigrant workers to Icelandic origin ones is eye-catching, although it’s far from surprising. Many want to learn Icelandic better, with 30 applying to Bifröst University with a main emphasis on Icelandic, 40 attending Fjölbrautaskóli Breiðholts, a secondary school that offers an Icelandic course of study, and 250 applying for continuous education. Here’s hoping even more foreign workers take advantage of this program come fall.

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