3.3.1. Expectations were Met
Before the course, the majority responded that they expected to learn more about the target group, to learn how to work more professionally in their encounters with refugees and to learn about how to improve collaboration between different local agencies in the municipality.
After the course, all responded that their expectations of the course had been met, and some wrote that the course was better than they had expected. In particular, participants highlighted the importance of exchanging information with colleagues from other agencies involved in the local reception of refugees. They usually met the same client, but had different responsibilities based on structural organization.
—Yes, I have learned a lot by exchanging information about the activities of the other participants.
3.3.2. Homework after Work
Before the course, the majority described their work situation as tough and demanding and many replied that they had been informed by their employers that they were allowed to participate in the course during working hours. However, their homework had to be done after work, and some commented that it was only possible to arrange this if they were able to plan the time they spent on the course during working hours.
Many of the participants had a high workload, even after the course, but most thought that they had managed to find time for their competence training and learning, even if it had to be done outside of working hours. This was because the content of the course was rewarding, and they had met colleagues in similar situations and so they were able to support each other.
—Sometimes, time has been a bit scarce…extra work from the boss, but the time spent on the course has been very rewarding and worthwhile.
—O.K., as the homework was sometimes done as a group, it became easier taking the time to do it as a result of this co-operation.
3.3.3. The Content of the Course was Relevant
After the course, almost all participants had gained relevant knowledge.
—Absolutely, the health perspective has become a natural part of my work with job-seekers (newly arrived refugees).
—Yes, it did. I've learned a lot about how to analyze difficult cases. I have learned more about the different agencies day-to-day work.
All participants responded that they brought with them different skills that they can use in their encounters with the target group. The course not only presented new knowledge and information about other agencies’ responsibilities and policies, but it also allowed the participants to become more aware of their own background and to have more realistic expectations of and respect for the target group’s background and needs, but also their strengths.
—Listen, support them as if they are strong people and not as if they are sick. The main thing that I have learned is which of the various agencies is the most relevant to contact to suit the requirements of the newcomer.
—In my everyday life, I have re-learned what to think about when meeting with newly arrived individuals, to consider the difficulties they encounter and the many agencies they may come in contact with.
In Karolinska Institutet’s evaluation survey, including open questions, the participants' responses indicated the core strengths of the competence training. These core strengths were that the course had developed their understanding of how other agencies work, the networking opportunity the course provided, “face the people”, theory, case methodology and knowledge sharing, homework, the course venue and the course’s broad approach. The weaknesses of the course, which was also confirmed during the final day’s workshop, were that certain topics were not included, such as the child perspective, that other key agencies should not only be helping to teach the course, but should also be involved as participants (e.g., the Swedish Migration Board, the Swedish Social Insurance Agency) and that staff in management positions must also be involved, as well as a higher number of the local primary health care clinics. These weaknesses can be resolved in the future. The participants felt that the training should be made permanent and be mandatory for all professionals working with the target group in the municipality.
3.3.4. Continued Collective Development of the Local Platform Model
All of the participants' answers indicated that they wanted to work actively in various ways to keep the local inter-agency collaboration model, developed during the two courses, intact. They were certain that they would continue to work together to further develop this.
—I shared knowledge with my colleagues and will maintain contacts with the other participants. Together, we have a collaborative model, a collaboration model, which works.
—Three agencies (at least two agencies and the newcomer) in the early stages. Continuing the collaboration meetings and also invite other agencies.