The school operates on a pedagogic model – help to self-help – to address problems associated with long-term unemployment, social isolation and loneliness.
We refer to our users as ‘students’ to emphasise the role of education in developing people’s self-esteem and abilities. We do not associate education exclusively with narrow vocational qualifications or work competencies, but we recognize that learning often is the first important step out of inactivity.
The school in Copenhagen provides education, supported workshops, counselling and guidance, shower and laundry facilities, clothes and funitures, a library and a cafeteria.
The school’s education department offers each semester about 150 courses in disciplines such as EDP, math, science, Danish and foreign languages, philosophy, psychology, music, art and sport etc.
In addition the school at the moment runs tree educational and practical job projects especially aimed at getting students back to work or giving them a chance to join the labour market for the first time. Two of these projects are established with support from the EU.
The school offers access to around 30 workshop courses, e.g.: kitchen and cafeteria, cleaning, carpentry, wood workshop, electrical workshop, print workshop, clothes and furnitures depot, hair dresser, car repair shop, transportation services, driving school, ship project, greenlander workshops etc.
Students undertake much of the school’s building and equipment maintenance, while assembly work, printing, grounds maintenance and gardening is delivered through small commercial contracts with local businesses and residents. Some of the workshops also produce goods and services for the school and for external customers.
The workshops cover a range of skills and abilities. In The Production Workshop, which assemble electrical components, semi-manufactured products and provide postal administration services, the students can work in hourly modules, with a maximum of three modules per day. In emergencies, people in financial crisis can access this workshop to earn money for food and other basic needs, thus avoiding the need for begging on the street.
The Kofoed Dollar
The school operates its own internal currency called Kofoed Dollars. Students working in some of the workshops can use the Kofoed Dollars they earn to buy items such as food, drinks and cigarettes either within the school or at participating shops locally.
Consultation and guidance
The school provides counselling service, vocational guidance, legal support and job support.
Each student is assigned a social asvisor who conducts the initial assessment and work with the student to develop an action plan setting out the targets for the student’s stay at the school.
Housing for young homeless
Kofoeds’s School runs a hostel for young homeless people and provides housing for young people at three different addresses in Copenhagen.
Socially excluded Greenlanders
Kofoeds School has for many years worked with socially excluded Greenlanders. The school has a special Greenlander section and several workshops aimed at Greenlanders. A house in Valby near Copenhagen was recently established as a settlement for Greenland women.
Apart from the activities in Copenhagen we are cooperating on activities, education and treatment of alcohol and drug abuse for Greenlanders in two big cities in Jutland: Aalborg and Esbjerg.
Kofoeds Cellar for homeless people
Located at Kultorvet in the middle of Copenhagen the Kofoeds Cellar serves as a drop in day centre facility offering food, clothing, shower, a laundry, health care etc. for homeless people.
Kofoeds School is a selv-governing institution with a board and a council. The director of the school, Robert Olsen, is responsible for daily management.
Kofoeds School in Copenhagen was founded in 1928. In 2000 the School opened a new department in Århus, Jutland. The school is centrally placed in town and can hold about 180 students.
Kofoeds School also has sister schools ouside Denmark – in Poland, Estonia, Lithuania, The Czech Republic and Armenia.
More than 600 students attend the main school in Copenhagen in any single day, i.e. more than 3000 different persons on annual basis.
To enrol at the school, students must be at least 18 years old, unemployed and have a legal right to residency in Denmark. More than 40 percent of students are from foreign backgrounds, with more than 70 nationalities represented. The average student age is 36 years, 55 percent of the students are women. Three out og four students have been unemployed for more than 4 years.
The school has a permanent staff of about 150 people. Largely, they are tutors, teachers, counsellors and skilled craftspeople.
The school derives approximately 75 percent of its income from government sources through an agreement with the Danish Ministry of Social Affairs. The remainder comes from public donation, contracts with Copenhagens municipality and some small commercial contracts linked to the school’s workshops.