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The city tackles the labour shortage resulting from the coronavirus situation in many ways

In spring 2020, the City of Helsinki established the Skills Bank, through which the work input and skills of more than 2,000 employees have already been put into use where needed during the coronavirus crisis. The Skills Bank has operated continuously, but as the development of the epidemic has taken a turn for the worse, more transfers are needed.

The demand for labour, especially in the social welfare and health care services, has increased drastically. In addition to nursing care and the related assisting tasks, people are needed for example in early childhood education to serve as daycare workers and play park instructions.

– I am so proud of our organisation and, above all, of the flexibility demonstrated by our staff. It has been a delight to see such team spirit, desire to learn new things and the courage to take up tasks where help is truly needed, says Mayor Juhana Vartiainen.

In addition to the city’s own employees being transferred through the Skills Bank, retired social welfare and health care professionals and volunteers have provided crisis assistance since spring 2020. This week, approximately 120 practical nurse students from Helsinki Vocational College and Adult Institute will also join the forces.

– The cooperation between Helsinki Vocational College and Adult Institute and the Social Services and Health Care Division has been flexible and goal-oriented in this challenging coronavirus situation. The cooperation supports the students’ work-based learning and allows for the individual progress of studies. Teacher teams and their superiors have demonstrated excellent efficiency and creative pedagogical problem-solving ability in this opportunity to support nursing care, says Maria Sarkkinen, Head of Vocational Education.

Mia Keinänen, HR Planning Manager in the Social Services and Health Care Division, is pleased with the speed with which the matter has been handled in a demanding situation.
– The Helsinki hospitals, senior centres and home care quickly established where the students can work and provide valuable assistance. In this way, the organisation can be implemented at the speed required by the situation, and induction and orientation planning can begin even before the students arrive.

How does the Helsinki Skills Bank work?

During the coronavirus crisis, staff transfers between the city’s divisions are coordinated by the Skills Bank, specifically established for this purpose in April 2020. The city’s superiors assess the work load of the staff and agree on possible transfers with the employees. At the same time, it is ensured that everyone is fully employed and that their contribution is focused where the need is the greatest.

Temporary assignments may last up to eight weeks, unless a longer period is agreed separately with the employee’s consent.

Employees transferred to the Social Services and Health Care Division must have the required vaccination protection, i.e. two coronavirus vaccines and the influenza vaccine. If the influenza vaccine is missing, it can be arranged quickly through occupational health care.

Employees on the city’s payroll can be included in the Skills Bank operations by agreeing on the matter with their superior. Other social welfare, health care and early childhood education professionals can apply for openings through the service or the workforce leasing company Seure.

More information

Helsinki – current news about the coronavirus
Helsinki Vocational College and Adult Institute

Photo: Jefunne Gimpel