INTERREG BOTNIA-ATLANTICA AND INTERREG NORD 2014-2020 16 – 17 enthusiastic students and jobseekers participate in the language training via Zoom. The purpose of the education is to strengthen oral language skills and skills in job search and to provide information about the Swedish labour market and work culture, says Ida Valtonen, project manager and language teacher at Oulu University of Applied Sciences. Luleå University of Technology prepares courses in career guidance, open to anyone interested. The University collaborates with Northvolt, a Swedish battery developer and manufacturer, specialising in lithium-ion technology for electric vehicles, who will employ thousands of workers in the area. Utbildning Nord and Vocational College Lappia is in the process of preparing collaboration with the construction industry and the mining industry in the area for information sessions and visits and is also planning information sessions about the municipalities in the region. The Corona pandemic has posed new challenges for the opportunities to work between borders and for the project. In the start-up phase of the project, the countries’ borders were closed in the spring of 2020. Nevertheless, the cooperation within Arbeta Tillsammans has continued. – The project plan was based on live meetings and visits but Arbeta Tillsammans project has been able to find new solutions to enable action in an exceptional situation, says Leena. In 2022, the team is hoping to do real, in- person visits. – Although we have done a great job via online meetings, I think this will make a difference, she says. Did you know… The Mental borders barriers report consists of 21 in-depth interviews with jobseekers, students, employers, 6 longer interviews with representatives of organisations, 2 longer interviews with researchers, 4 interviews with politicians. It identifies six mental border barriers at the border between Finland and Sweden. 1. Long distances and weak social networks hamper employment in another country. 2. National stereotypes are still existing. The notion that society and culture are quite similar makes it easier to work in a neighboring country. 3. There are many similarities between the work culture in Sweden and Finland. But the most common perception is that the work culture is more hierarchical in Finland and more humane and conversational in Sweden. 4. People tend to follow the news of their homeland and know less about the affairs of the neighboring country. Knowledge of differences can create interaction between countries. Lack of knowledge of the neighboring language is a concrete obstacle to taking a job in the neighboring country if it is a requirement in the workplace. 6. The experience of a high threshold. The perception of bureaucracy for those who work across borders can be daunting and there are interviewees who have heard “horror stories” about problems. In order to facilitate work and recruitment across borders, the interviewees suggest, among other things, that the authorities should be more present at the border. Something that would elevate the region and make any practical problems that may arise easier to solve. The interviewees also suggest that language skills should be improved on both sides of the border.