For many years, Frode Laursen’s logistics centre in Hørning has collaborated with the local authority on taking in citizens who need a helping hand to rejoin the labour market. The initiative is headed by Malene Laulund Jensen who, through personal relations, trust and a safe environment, works to rehabilitate the citizens and get them back on track. Since 2012, when the project started, more than 800 citizens have been involved in the programme.
In collaboration with the job centre at the Municipality of Skanderborg, Malene Laulund Jensen from Hørning is helping citizens on the edge of the labour market to make a fresh start. Her work is based on premises adjoining the logistics centre, where citizens from various backgrounds can try their hand at working in a private company.
“Basically, we’ve created a packing department that mirrors what you find at the other warehouse. The work is the same, but we have decided to pack slightly different products which are a bit easier to handle. At the same time, there are no strict deadlines, which means we can take things at our own pace and have many more breaks. In this way, we have created a safe and secure environment where it’s possible to take people’s needs into account,” says Malene.
The citizens in question might be struggling with many different things in their lives, and therefore, according to Malene, it is important to emphasise that with her there is so much more at stake than just the work.
“First, for them, it’s a question of trying to spend time at a workplace, with everything it involves from arriving for work in the morning to eating lunch together. It is far from everyone who has tried or wants to drink coffee in a canteen with several others. In this way, the project leads to social, mental and physical development. This is what we’re trying to learn over here rather than packing goods as quickly as possible,” she says.
A job with a purpose
Malene’s work takes place in close dialogue with job intermediary Tina Sørensen from Team Job and Education, with whom she is in regular dialogue. She knows Malene and the project very well, so she has Frode Laursen in mind when she has to help the municipality’s citizens in a business internship.
“When possible, I pass them on to Frode Laursen. Here they are met by a friendly Malene, with whom they quickly gain trust. At the same time, it is an advantage that the training takes place in a private company. This means, for example, that the citizens in supermarkets can show the children that they have helped pack the goods. It creates a sense of pride, motivation, and responsibility because suddenly it’s a job with a purpose,” says Tina Sørensen.
Equal relations make all the difference
Malene joined the project almost seven years ago. A new person was needed to head it, and Malene, who worked in the packing department back then, was asked – and said yes.
“I really enjoy this kind of work because we’re helping build people up by giving them self-confidence and self-esteem. On the other hand, it’s no secret that it can be tough. I often become involved in many concerns or challenges that preoccupy the citizens who come here. Fortunately, it’s well worth it when I see how people change and come out on the right side, whether at Frode Laursen or another company,” she says.
According to Hørning’s warehouse manager Rasmus Primdal, this sums up what Malene is doing well. She enters into a relationship of equals and trust. And then she is also very good at spotting if a citizen is doing well.
“In those cases, we try to bring them over to me where the work isn’t that much different, but where everything happens faster – and then they return to Malene’s safe hands when they need a break. If everything goes well, and we have a job opening, we employ them. If we don’t have vacancies, Malenes contacts the job centre, which can send them elsewhere. Or she encourages the citizens to contact employment agencies who may have some opportunities. In that way, Marlene makes a huge difference for these people,” Rasmus says.