Keelelähetus (Language Secondment)

Keelelähetus is a labour exchange programme for language learning purposes for people in the public sector who are employed in jobs requiring Estonian language skills and whose language skills do not meet the required level.

In 2024, the Integration Foundation, together with its partners OÜ Juunika Koolitus and Targa Eesti Instituut, started to offer Keelelähetus to educators in Harju County and Ida-Viru County. In the future, it is planned to include employees from other fields of the public sector who need Estonian language practice in the workplace.

Keelelähetus will take place in an Estonian-speaking organisation that operates in the same field but is located in another county. The duration of Keelelähetus is between 12 and 30 calendar days, which can be divided into parts, but each part must be at least 5 days. The programme covers travel and accommodation expenses for the seconded person.

Who participates in Keelelähetus?

Keelelähetus is organised by three parties:


The seconded employee and their employer

The seconded person works in a public sector institution (e.g. a school, a kindergarten, an internal security agency, or social services), their mother tongue is not Estonian, and the person needs to improve their Estonian language skills to carry out their duties. However, the Estonian language skills of the seconded person must be at a level that allows them to work in an Estonian-speaking working environment during the period of secondment – the seconded person is expected to have level B2 Estonian language skills.

The seconded person must coordinate their participation in Keelelähetus with their employer. Both the employee and the employer can offer to join the Keelelähetus programme, but participation in Keelelähetus is always confirmed by the employer together with the organisation organising Keelelähetus.

A traineeship plan is drawn up for the seconded person, and the person is required to fill in a training record book during the programme and to write an experience report after the programme.

Employers in public sector organisations wishing to send their employees to Keelelähetus must contact the partner organisation implementing the programme [either provide links or mention where the contact details are] (contacts below). When organising Keelelähetus, it is important that the partner offers or the employer helps to find an Estonian-speaking organisation in the same field where the programme can be carried out. The timing and duration of Keelelähetus must be suitable for the seconded person, their employer, and the host organisation.

The employer is responsible for replacing the seconded employee or for changing their work schedule. Keelelähetus corresponds to a domestic business trip, during which the employee keeps their job and remuneration. The programme covers the travel and accommodation costs of the seconded person.


Host organisation and the seconded person’s support person

The host organisation is an organisation with an Estonian-speaking working environment, where the posted person will be working for the duration of Keelelähetus for the purpose of language practice (12–30 calendar days). The host organisation is located in a different city/region from the seconding organisation.

The host organisation will assign a support person to the seconded person, inform the staff of the programme, create the necessary working conditions for the seconded person, and familiarise them with the work instructions.

Support person is a person working in the host organisation, whose native language is Estonian and who informs and assists the seconded person during Keelelähetus. No previous experience or training is required from the support person. It is recommended that the seconded person and the support person have similar duties, so that they can exchange professional experiences. At the end of Keelelähetus, the support person will provide a short review of the seconded person’s work activities and the progress of their language skills during the secondment and feedback on how to improve the activities of Keelelähetus.


The organisation organising Keelelähetus

Keelelähetus is carried out by a partner organisation selected through a procurement procedure by the Integration Foundation, which is responsible for the planning and implementation of all the activities of the programme. In the partner organisation, Keelelähetus is coordinated by a project manager and a language mentor.


In 2024, Keelelähetus is organised by:

The programme aimed at people working in Harju County is implemented by OÜ JUUNIKA KOOLITUS

Seconded employees can register at this link, hosting organisations at this link.

Questions are answered by Inna Sulg ([email protected], +372 5094051).


The programme aimed at people working in Ida-Viru County is implemented by TARGA EESTI INSTITUUT


Seconded employees can register at this link, hosting organisations at this link.

Questions are answered by Janus Paurman ([email protected], +372 5660 4379).


Model of Keelelähetus

For a more detailed description of the organisation of Keelelähetus, or the model of labour exchange for language learning, see here. The model was created by OÜ Juunika Koolitus in 2023, based on the model ‘Eesti-sisene tööjõuvahetus keelepraktika eesmärgil’ (Intra-Estonian labour exchange for language practice) developed in 2001.

The organisation of the labour exchange programme is guided by Regulation No. 55 of the Government of the Republic of 12 May 2022 ‘General terms and conditions for the allocation and use of resources of the 2021–2027 European Union Cohesion and Internal Security Policy Funds’ and other relevant legislation, including Directive No. 80 of the Minister of Culture of 15 March 2023 ‘Conditions for granting support for the implementation of activities supporting integration, including adaptation, in Estonian society’, and Sub-action No. ‘Provision of a labour exchange programme for language practice’ of project No. 2021-2027.4.07.23-0005 ‘Activities supporting the competitiveness in the labour market of people with different linguistic and cultural backgrounds and returnees’ funded by the European Social Fund.