• Trine Holse Guldberg
  • Henrijette Kamilla Cecillia Larsen
  • Maria Pelle
4. term, Social Work, Master (Master Programme)
Introduction In our thesis we have chosen to research the subjective experience of people with long term unemployment and mental illness during their contact with the jobcentre. More specifically, we have researched how this group experiences having a sense of agency, how they view their collabo- ration with the caseworker, as well as the opportunities and challenges in the trajectory towards em- ployment. Therefore, we chose to examine the experience of being in contact with the jobcentre over an extended period, with an emphasis on collaboration and how this can affect the individual’s per- ception of their time in the jobcentre. The concept of time in this thesis is that time is something you either have or do not have and as something you can give and receive. Time in this context, is also viewed as something that can be in the past, present and future tense. In trying to understand the holistic experience of the individual, we also sought to investigate the impact of having multiple contact points as the service user navigates through the system. Aim We chose to research this topic due to an interest in how employment, as a societal norm, can have a big impact on people who are long term unemployed. Research from Nielsen, Danneris and Monrad (2021), inspired us to further explore the concept of time. In order to examine perception of time and how it varies amongst the long-term unemployed with mental illness, we investigated the significance of service users navi- gating through different departments in the system. Agency over their own time is, thus an important component, that we have wanted to examine. Method This thesis is a phenomenological qualitative study of individuals with mental illness, which deals with their experience of time in their employ- ment journey. We have also used various methodological approaches, such as user travel, and sought a bottom-up approach with inspiration in the BIKVA method. We have, via a predominantly induc- tive approach, prepared qualitative semi-structured interviews for service users and caseworkers in Guldborgsund municipality, respectively. Kvale’s qualitative analysis was then used as the basis for coding and meaning interpretation of the data. The purpose of this research has, from the outset, been our curiosity about what emerges for us, where we have a general desire to learn directly from practice – and to a greater extent directly from citizens. Results In our research we found that the service users have had predominantly negative experiences in the system, which has an impact on their current experience and collaboration with the caseworkers in the jobcentre. Service users found that although they could easily contact their case workers, the subjective experience of that contact was lacking. They experienced that their time was worthless, there was excessive waiting time, wasted time and meaningless time. This was due to a perception that their contact with the caseworkers and content in employment-oriented services as being poor. Although the intent of the caseworkers was good, it is a long way from the ideal of co-creation and good collaboration which is the prerequisite of a sense of agency in the jobcentre process. Potentially meaningful factors for this is lack of time for each individual, poor relations between caseworker and service users, as well as inadequate coordination between services. The research shows that in order for the service users to experience their time in the jobcentre as meaningful, it is of the utmost importance that the service users feel heard, and that they are aware of what they can expect from the cooperation and the ongoing process.

Keywords: Subjective time, Experience, Collaboration, Co-creation, Employment, Mental illness.
Publication date1 Jun 2022
Number of pages95
ID: 471546066