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Sweden update: i2i customers thriving on international work placement in Lapland

Date Posted:
26 Nov 2015
i2i group excelling with Swedish carpentry business where they are learning to make park benches.

The story in full:

It's now the fourth day of i2i's international volunteering project in Sweden, where six Work Programme customers are taking part in a vocational and educational project organised by Everything is Possible.

The customers from i2i's centres in Lancaster, Blackpool and Skelmersdale are volunteering with a carpentry business as part of the Erasmus+ programme, where the purpose of the visit is to raise confidence levels and give the volunteers vital work experience.

We caught up with the group taking part to find out how they're getting on with the carpentry work, the cooking and the weather!

Ryan said: “I’m enjoying everything about the experience. The weather, the work, the tutor and the experience of working in the workshop. I've enjoyed using tools I've not used since school. It’s ignited a new passion for woodwork. I like fixing and making things and if you break it, it’s amendable, which is great! One thing I have learnt is to wrap up warm. Looks can be deceiving. Sometimes it looks warm, but it can be quite cold. The food is also a bit of a struggle for me. I am set in my ways and I know what I like.”

Stewart said: “I’m really enjoying working in Ideum. The scenery and the people are really nice, helpful and friendly, as are all Swedish people in general. I have finally learned how to swim in the local pool and I’m also learning to use the tools with more precision. My Grandad was a carpenter, so to be able to follow in his footsteps is a dream come true.”

Megan said: “I’m really enjoying the practical side of the experience, the work, the cooking on an evening, the people and of course Lapland itself. In the first four days I’ve already learned how to use different types of machines and to be careful in -20 degrees. The carpentry work has been amazing fun so far. Very educational and extremely useful.”

Kieran said: “I am enjoying the experience, I enjoy the down time and interacting with the group in the house. I’ve made a lot of new friends, but fitting in and socialising has been quite challenging for me. I’ve already learnt how to use lots of new tools and I’m getting lots of experience in using new machinery."

Kelly said: “I’m really enjoying the work placement and meeting new people. The carpentry work is challenging but rewarding, and I’ve already learnt how to make a bench. It’s also great to learn some Swedish words with a tutor. The most challenging thing has been learning how to fit in with different people’s personalities.”

Kirsty said: “I’ve learnt a lot in a short space of time. Such as how to live with people who I've only just met, and lots of new woodwork skills that I have never done before in my life. I am really enjoying the carpentry work, which I never thought I would. Completing the second bench all by ourselves was very challenging, but a great achievement. We had to build a second bench on our own based on what we’d learnt from making the first one.”

i2i's Performance Improvement Co-ordinator Matt Wynn, who is spending the fortnight with the group, said: "Everyone in the group has come such a long way in the short time that we've been over here. Their confidence levels are soaring and they are really enjoying the carpentry work. They have already made some amazing park benches, and I think they're surprising themselves with how just how much they've achieved. They've all given themselves chores on an evening, so they've settled into a routine really well, and they're all looking out for each other. I have no doubt that they will all be in a much better position to find full time work once we return to England." 

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