The Smart Regions Group met in Kristiansand (Vest-Agder County, Norway) 30-31 October. The meeting was chaired by the newly elected Chair of the group, Cllr Beate Johnsen from Vest-Agder County Council.

The meeting included a mini seminar on how to deal with the challenges of broadening the recruitment base for health and care workers to cope with the demographic changes including longer life expectancy and increased immigration.

During the mini seminar, regional actors gave in-depth presentation related to these challenges. One presentation concerned gender equality and inclusion and how to attract more migrant women into the workforce by addressing issues like social norms, cultural expectations, discrimination, harassment, workplace adjustments, full-time positions, equal pay etc.

Another presentation addressed the issue of attracting more young men into the health and care professions, whereas other presentations focused on the role of welfare technology, and how the educational and vocational training systems can be tailored to individual needs.

The formal meeting of the group focused on the draft North Sea Region strategy 2020-30. The group endorsed the key actions of the Smart North Sea Region priority and had some comments on the introductory chapter and would like to see a more action-oriented instead of descriptive chapter with a clear vision and forward-looking priorities.

The group will meet again in Gothenburg 30-31 March to discuss the biannual action plan 2020-22 for the Smart North Sea Region priority.


For more information, contact NSC advisor Geir Sør-Reime (