This project explores the role of civil society in supporting employability and access to the labour market in diverse neighbourhoods in Sweden and the UK. The local context is especially relevant since civil society is increasingly recognised in supporting residents accessing local labour markets. More specifically, our aim is to investigate under what conditions and by which mechanisms civil society initiatives supports employability in diverse neighbourhoods in Sweden and the UK. We compare these two countries, both diverse and with different welfare systems that impact the environments within which civil society operates. Both Sweden and the UK are also experiencing a transition towards welfare pluralism in recent years.
The little work undertaken on civil society and its role in supporting access to employment, has mainly focused on registered formal organisations (CSOs). Yet, formal organisations constitute only one part of a larger civil society. Thus, our comparative focus includes both formal organisations and informal initiatives in Sweden and the UK, research that will help to capture how different types of CSO support labour market participation and how their modes of operation are shaped by national regulatory frameworks and local contexts.
We apply a mixed method design that allows us to analyse the civil society eco-system (which encompass both formal CSOs and informal initiatives) and how they relate to employability. This approach aims for a more comprehensive understanding of civil society’s potential for improving access to labour market for traditionally disadvantaged groups.