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European Year of Skills

Bridging the Green Skills Gap through upskilling and relocation: Sofia's Journey with the RELOCATE Project's Training

The Relocate project a collaboration between Arbetsförmedlingen the Swedish Public Employment Service (PES) and partners supports skills assessment, recruitment, and relocation in Sweden to bridge the skills gap. Thanks to training opportunities, Sofia managed to get a contract in three months.

Sofia - one of the participants of the Relocate's project

After Sofia interrupted her studies, she spent three years looking for a job. Through Relocate, she trained as an automation operator and acquired new skills in the green energy sector. Equipped with the skills needed in the job market, she got a first contract in three months and is happy to contribute to a more sustainable society though her work.

“I got a job and have now finished my 6-month trial period. I got a basic understanding about electro pneumatic and how it works, which is useful in my job for understanding the machine I work with. I do not know where I would be right now if I would not have taken this chance and I do not regret my choice”

Sofia is one of 325 people who participated in the programme and one of 50 who relocated to start a new job in Skellefteå, in Northern Sweden. The project aims to upskill and provide help to relocate from parts of the country with high unemployment rate to places in great need of labour, supporting both employers and the unemployed offering them good working conditions.

Watch the European Network of Public Employment Services (PES Network) video to get inspired by the Swedish practice

Adopting the Skills First Approach: going beyond CVs

Selecting participants based on their skills, rather than through qualifications and previous experience, granted those who have not worked before a chance to enter the labour market.

By adopting a Simulated Recruitment Method (SRM), recruiters deduced abilities that participants had developed in their daily life rather than through formal education.

A comprehensive support system

  • Close cooperation between PES and employers: to identify and address skills needs
  • Skills first approach: selection procedure based on skills (including soft skills) and not on qualifications and previous work experience
  • Individual tailored counselling on the job, education, housing, leisure activities, contact with the authorities, move, and help to settle Skills validation, when necessary, was also offered to increase employability chance
  • Close cooperation with VET providers to offer targeted training: Skellefteå municipality’s adult education centre adapted vocational training curricula to the needs of the new emerging local green industry. The training was about four months long and led to the qualification of automation operators.


The project Relocate was a collaboration between Arbetsförmedlingen, the local employer, Region Västerbotten and Skellefteå municipality, co-financed by the EU through the European Social Fund. The project started on September 1, 2020, and the implementation phase ran from March 1, 2021, through April 30, 2023. The Swedish PES is part of the European Network of Public Employment Services. The Network is focused on green jobs and addressing skills shortages in its current activities. Find out more in the PES Network Work Programme 2023-2024.  See also a new PES Network thematic paper on “PES support to greening of the labour market” which highlights that an increasing number of PES have included the green transition in their strategies at national and/or regional levels.