Announcement of two projects in the Labour Market Committee in 2022

27.06.22 | Funding opportunities
In celebration of 70 years of a common Nordic labour market, the Nordic Council of Ministers’ Labour Market Committee under the Nordic Committee of Senior Officials for Labour and the Working Environment (EK-A) invites grant applications for Nordic projects that support the focus areas of the co-operation programme of the Nordic Council of Ministers for Labour (MR-A) and the Nordic Council of Ministers’ vision for skills development, further education, and retraining in the Nordic countries.


Opportunity category
Open calls
Mon, 05/09/2022 - 11:59 PM

The Nordic Council of Ministers’ Labour Market Committee falls under the Nordic Committee of Senior Officials for Labour and the Working Environment (EK-A). The committee aims to strengthen and further develop Nordic co-operation with regard to employment policies, labour market policies in general, and labour market research. The committee also initiates projects on the development and modernisation of labour-market policy and allocates project funding for current, relevant political issues.

The Nordic Labour Market Committee is tasked with helping to implement the Nordic Council of Ministers’ co-operation programme on labour. The Nordic Council of Ministers’ vision is for the Nordic Region to be the most sustainable and integrated region in the world by 2030. Goal 7 of the vision’s action plan for 2021 to 2024 states that the Nordic Council of Ministers will develop skills and well-functioning labour markets that correspond with the requirements of the green transition and digital development and that support freedom of movement in the Nordic Region.

The co-operation programme on labour outlines the overall goals and guidelines of the Labour Market Committee. The goals in the area of the labour market are to better balance supply and demand for skilled labour and to increase labour market participation, including among vulnerable groups. The second goal is to strengthen integration, ensure equal opportunities, and promote mobility in the Nordic labour market.

Taking this as a starting point and the Nordic Council of Ministers’ overall vision of making the Nordic Region the most sustainable and integrated region in the world by 2030, the Nordic Council of Ministers’ Labour Market Committee has chosen to focus on the following two topics in 2022:


1. Skills development, further education, and retraining in the Nordic countries, with a special emphasis on jobseekers and employees who are in need of new skills.

One of the goals of the Nordic co-operation programme on labour for 2022 to 2024 is to ensure the workforce has skills adapted to the green transition. There are many indications that the green transition will not result in fewer jobs but instead create new jobs in other sectors. Therefore, it is important to ensure that the people in the workforce possess the skills that the green transition needs. Similarly, it is important to steer those at risk of losing their jobs and job opportunities due to the green transition towards new jobs. In this regard, matters such as skills development, qualifications, and continuing and further education play important roles. Ensuring this is not only crucial for the success of the green transition but also essential to prevent the green transition resulting in greater inequality and resistance.

The Labour Market Committee is seeking information about the opportunities that exist in the Nordic countries for skills development, further education, and retraining. Special emphasis should be placed on opportunities offered to jobseekers and employees in need of new skills. An overview is desired of the similarities and differences between the countries in terms of the content and organisation of their skills development offerings. The analysis must distinguish between the training offerings of the labour market authorities and adult learning in general.

It is therefore desirable to get a picture of the current situation in terms of opportunities for strengthening our labour markets, which are constantly changing. Specifically, we want to focus on:

  1. how the countries work with and improve basic skills among adults, including enhanced basic reading, writing, and arithmetic skills and basic skills in English and IT. As part of this, this must include the detection of dyslexia.
  2. how the countries strive to improve the level of education among unskilled adults, including how formal education is shortened through the assessment of skills gained through practical work experience.
  3. mapping and analysing how the development of more sustainable production, the green transition, digitalisation, and technological development affects opportunities for the supply of skills – how do the Nordic countries identify these needs, and how does this translate in practice into an offer of skills development for jobseekers, employees, and those at risk of losing their job?

Can the need for skills in the future labour market lead to a need for greater geographical mobility in the labour market (across national borders, for example), and what can the countries do to prevent bottlenecks from occurring? Here, it will be particularly interesting to identify the subject areas where the countries can co-operate in order to curb the emergence of future challenges such as labour shortages.

The project is expected to start towards the end of 2022. The project must be completed during 2023.

2. Seventy years of a common labour market in the Nordic Region

22 May 2024 will mark 70 years since the signing of the agreement on a common labour market between Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and Norway (Iceland has been included in the agreement since 1 December 1955). The governments believed that the opportunity for freedom of movement among workers between the Nordic countries would benefit the economic and social development of the countries. The protocol on the exemption of Nordic citizens from the requirement to hold a passport or residence permit or from similar formalities in order to travel between and reside in the Nordic countries entered into force on 1 July 1954.

The Nordic countries’ common labour market is often described as one of the cornerstones of Nordic co-operation. The opportunities created for jobseekers to move to other Nordic countries where there are jobs and for employers to find the labour they need from other Nordic countries are considered to have been of great importance for both the labour market and the business community in the Nordic countries.

The Nordic Council of Ministers’ co-operation programme on labour for 2022 to 2024 makes reference to the 70th anniversary of the agreement on a common Nordic labour market. It states that awareness of the agreement will be raised in 2024 because it “was not only groundbreaking for its time but must also be seen as a fundamental part of Nordic co-operation as a whole”. For this reason, the Nordic Council of Ministers’ Labour Market Committee has decided to announce funding for a project focusing on the significance of the Nordic common labour market for the Nordic Region and the role it can play in the future.

The project can shed light on the following:

- the history of the common labour market since the agreement was signed

- the significance of the agreement for economic development in the Nordic Region

- the profile of the workforce that has moved across national borders (gender, education, occupations/industries, age, citizenship, etc.)

- how the preconditions for inter-Nordic job placement and the demand for labour have changed over the years and how the agreement has made it possible to avoid or at least curb so-called bottlenecks in the Nordic labour market

- the various barriers in the labour market that have arisen periodically since the agreement entered into force

- the common Nordic labour market linked to EU/EEA co-operation. How has co-operation between the Nordic authorities in the field of the labour market evolved and changed as a result of our co-operation with the EU?

- how the pandemic, which has perhaps been the biggest threat to the common labour market since the agreement was entered into, has affected the possibilities for maintaining a common Nordic labour market and the ways in which the problems that have arisen have had long-term consequences for cross-border labour mobility

- how new forms of work related to technological development and the green transition have affected labour mobility in the Nordic Region. Could the need for cross-border mobility decrease due to more flexible employer rules on where employees perform their work or new forms of employment, such as platform-based work?

- the effect of demographic development, increased globalisation, and international competition on the need for labour mobility in the Nordic Region. Will the common Nordic labour market be an important cornerstone in Nordic co-operation in the future as well?

The project is expected to start by the end of 2022 and to be completed no later than the first quarter of 2024.

Useful sources:

  • Agreements between the Nordic countries on the labour market, 1983:6
  • The Common Nordic Labour Market at 50, TemaNord 2008:506
  • 50 years of the Nordic Council. Nordic Added Value? ANP 2002:735
  • The Nordic model – challenged but capable of reform, TemaNord 2014:531
  • The Future of Work in the Nordic Countries, Opportunities and Challenges for the Nordic Working Life Models, TN2021:520



General criteria for projects (+)

Applications will be assessed on the basis of the project’s content and understanding of the task, method, price, and relevance in relation to the co-operation programme and Nordic synergies. The expertise of the project group is also an important basis for assessment.

Projects funded by the committee must be policy-oriented, which means that it must be possible to use the results to form the basis of political decisions – i.e. the assessments and comparisons made in the project in respect of the content and organisation of training in the Nordic countries should underlie proposals for what could be improved. Projects must have a Nordic perspective and include at least three Nordic countries. The more Nordic countries that are included, the better. It will be seen as an advantage if the Faroe Islands, Greenland, and Åland are also included. It will be an advantage to have participation from several Nordic countries in the project in order to ensure adequate expertise. The project application must also contain a communication plan with a description of how the project’s results will be published, as well as of how the results will be used, presented, and disseminated.

Budget (+)

The Labour Market Committee has around DKK 1,600,000 available each year for financing projects.

The committee’s budget is set annually. As a result, funds are allocated (guaranteed) for only one year at a time. Approved projects can use their allotted funds for up to three calendar years.

The committee supports both large and small projects.


Application procedures, forms, and deadlines (+)

Project applications are processed by the Labour Market Committee once the application deadline has passed. Project applications (including a project description and budget overview) must be submitted to the committee secretary by 5 September 2022.

Further information about the desired focus of projects, as well as the application form with guidance for completion, can be found at the links below:

Please submit any questions to the committee secretary.

Committee secretary for the Labour Market Committee

Benedicte Stavnum

Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration