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COORDINATOR, Folkeuniversitetet Øst, Oslo, Norway

FolkeuniversitetetFolkeuniversitetet Øst, Oslo, is an adult learning organisation which has been providing high quality lifelong learning opportunities for adults from all walks of life for more than 150 years. Nationwide Folkeuniversitetet represents Norway’s largest organiser of adult education, offering practical and theoretical trade-related education, language instruction and courses in cultural and leisure activities. Folkeuniversitetet Øst has around 40 employees in the staff, more than 400 teachers who are working full- or part time for us, and we have offices and/or teaching locations in five towns. We offer opportunities in a diverse range of areas, including: technology, languages, educations for health and care workers, pedagogic practice, special education, law, finance, leadership, project work, arts, crafts, transport and the building and trades industry. Our participants include young and older people, people new to Norway, and those with deep-roots in Norway, faces fresh from high school and the recently retired. We have a body of workplace professionals improving their skills and budding students broadening their higher education opportunities. Language training has been the basis of Folkeuniversitetet all the way. We are the biggest private provider of Norwegian as a second language, offering open intensive courses for around 4500 students per year in our region alone, on all levels all year round, as well as preparatory courses for the Norwegian language certificates on level B1 and B2/C1. The courses attract professional immigrants from a wide range of countries who require intensive acquisition of the language. We also provide different tailored courses for companies and public institutions. We have experience with long courses for unemployed migrants with lover skills where work placement is part of the course. One of our current strategies is the development of quality e-learning course provision in this field.

Due to the fact that there is a big need for health and care workers, our health department is our fastest growing. Around 800 students a year get their training in our institution on level 4 and 5 according to the European qualifications table, i. e. as health care workers, paramedics, chiropodists, health secretaries, in antenatal and palliative care, rehabilitation, psychiatric healthcare, health for elderly and active care, mental afflictions and aging in people with mental disabilities. We are observing a growing need for shorter or part time training for health and care workers, as well as better language skills for health and care workers coming to Norway to work – or already being employed. Currently, we are taking part in a project funded by Norwegian Agency for Lifelong Learning, with the aim to develop methods for training oral skills on the work place. Our project takes place in a big nursing home, where we will identify in detail the various communicative situations. The methods and materials developed in the project will be a another step towards good practice in terms of training methods of oral skills. More than 60% of Norway’s current need for skilled health workers (4000-4500 a year on level 4) is covered by migrant workers. Some are recruited, and some enter the field as non skilled workers without the perspective of a permanent position due to lack of qualification. Some of them eventually start part time education to become health care workers and get a permanent position. They need min 5 years of acknowledged practice to get the certificate. The discrepancy between the need for skilled workers and the too small number of people being educated is today covered by unskilled workers who have – and get – little or no training. This project addresses this paradoxical, urgent situation, above all in home care.

Key skills of persons involved:

Irene Nikolaisen

Senior Adviser who has been working in the organisation for nine years. She has a master in theatre science, language and pedagogy. She has background as a language and social science teacher and has developed several courses for Folkeuniversitetet, contributed to projects and tenders and has written an e-learning course in Norwegian for adult learners. She has experience of project management and has been involved in several cross-sectional projects, especially in the field of language/health. She has been leading the language department and been part of the management group.

Heidi Munthe-Kaas

Leader of our Health education department for more than 10 years. She is educated and has worked as a health care worker and also has a bachelor in pedagogy for health and social care studies and education in school management. She has been involved in the development of several new and acknowledged projects and educational programs in this field. Under her leadership, the range of what we offer students has become considerably broader and of good quality and sustainability.


Fadhila Renja

Head of the Norwegian department and an experienced administrator of our Norwegian courses. She has a master in pedagogy and has been involved in the development of a range of new courses and working on tenders. She has previous experience from social work also and deep knowledge of migrant topics in general and for Norway especially.


ingibjorg-1-300x193Ingibjörg Þórhallsdóttir

Ingibjörg has been working in the organization for three years, mainly focusing on leading courses intended for foreign nationals seeking authorization as health professionals in Norway. She has a masters degree in Instructional Design and Technology from the US and a MSc in Health Services Research from the Netherlands. She has a BSc in Nursing from Iceland. Ingibjörg was an assistant professor at the University of Iceland, the University of Reykjavik and the University of Akureyri for several years, and she has also contributed to international cooperation in distance learning and e-health. She has extensive experience as an administrator in both private companies and public health institutions.


Tabita-Hildebrandt-200x300-300x298Tabita Hildebrandt

Key accountant with 15 years experience in different business sectors.
She has been working in the organization since January 2016.



Hanne_Heidinger-200x300Hanne Regine Heidinger

Temporary administrative assistant at the Education Department, who has been working in the organization since August 2016. She is studying Law at the University College of Southeast Norway. She has a bachelor degree in Social Anthropology from the University of Oslo, and has a specialization in Portuguese language from Universidade de Lisboa, Lisbon. She has been working as a health care worker and she has administrative experience from different sectors.


Hanna_Aalen-1-243x300Hanna Kielland Aalen

Administrative assistant at our Norwegian Department and has been working in the organization since 2015. She is doing a masters degree in Organization, Leadership and Work at the University of Oslo and is currently specializing in Management and Leadership at the New School, New York City. She has bachelor degrees in both Social Anthropology and Political Science from the University of Oslo/ University of Queensland, Brisbane. She has administrative experience from different sectors.


2017_foto_portrett_Victoria-Stokke_kvadrat-(2)Viktoria Stokke

Viktoria is a teacher for a wide range of language courses at Folkeuiversitetet Øst. She has  experience from a number of courses for employees in health and care institutions



2017_foto_portrett_Cicilie-Krantz_kvadrat-(1)Cicilie Krantz

Cicilie is a corporate education advisor and experienced administrator of our Kompetansepluss courses. She is a trained social anthropologist  and has a deep knowledge of migrant topics and the Norwegian labour market. She has previous experience teaching Norwegian as a foreign language.