Eva Glaumann is the Project Manager for Jobbsprånget, IVA’s project that helps graduate newcomers get internships with companies and organisations.
“75 percent of those who have completed an internship get a job right away,” she said.
One important reason why the model works is that the newcomers’ education does not need to be validated in advance. This happens more or less automatically during the internship. Nor do the interns need to be able to speak Swedish.
AB Volvo is one of the companies that accept interns from Jobbsprånget. Martin Lundsted is President and CEO and recognises the benefits.
“We need a lot of talent and expertise and our corporate language is English. Jobbsprånget is a project that works. And we are happy to try different ways to find the talent we need,” he said.
The costs that arise during the internship period are, according to Lundstedt, not a problem.
Kirdist Siged arrived in Sweden from Ethiopia. She had a good education as an engineer. But at first this was not enough for her to get a suitable job. After many attempts at several locations around the country she connected with Jobbsprånget on Facebook. And that is when things started happening.
“I got an internship at Volvo in Umeå and now I’m employed there as a quality engineer,” she said.
And even if Umeå’s winter climate is far from what she was used to in Ethiopia, she is delighted with the help she has received from both Jobbsprånget and Volvo.
Saeid Esmaeilzadeh is the founder of Serendipity. He has his own experience of what it is like to come to Sweden as a refugee. His advice to newcomers about the best way to enter Swedish society can perhaps be summarised quite simply as follows: Learn to dance around the Midsummer maypole and sing Små grodorna.
“Sweden both tolerates and excludes. That’s why it’s important to learn the small cultural details,” he said.
He also pointed out that there is a big difference between coming to Sweden as a refugee and an immigrant. If you see yourself as a refugee it is difficult to put roots down here.
As a successful entrepreneur he has strong opinions about the ability of the Swedish authorities to support entrepreneurs.
“The Swedish Migration Agency has a power culture that makes it difficult for newcomers to get into the job market. The Tax Authority, on the other hand, is a fantastic organisation that really wants to help,” he said.
Minister for Employment and Integration, Ylva Johansson, said that there is no structure for receiving newcomers and that the Public Employment Service is finding it hard to keep up with the fast tracks the Government has introduced.
“In Sweden we like everyone to be part of our system. But it is possible, through programmes like Jobbsprånget, to build on the skills that people actually have,” she said.
Carola Lemne, CEO of the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise, also has a positive view of Jobbsprånget.
“Jobbsprånget removes many of the bottlenecks. Education validation usually takes a long time. This programme lets it happen in practice instead, which is great,” she said.
Photo: Elin Vinger