Academic Newbies is a growing group in Sweden. The number of foreign-born graduates in Sweden increased from 180 000 to 310 000 between 2006 and 2013.
This means that one in five graduates are born abroad. This is good as there is a real need for qualified workers in Sweden. Yet this group is having a hard time entering the Swedish labour market. The unemployment rate among foreign-born graduates is four times higher than among native-born graduates. Why is that so?
Studies have shown that the main problems academic and professional Newbies encounter are; lack of contacts, language skills and confidence. However the good thing is that all of this can be fixed. Contacts can be made, language learned and confidence built.
And note, that the same studies that point out the difficulties also show that three out of four will have a qualified work within a couple of years.
There are three initiatives of particular interest for academic Newbies.
- Integrations- and training programmes (like korta vägen)
- Specialised language courses (like SFX and SIFA)
- Networking communities (like SIT)
Korta vägen – Integration and training programs for academic Newbies
Korta vägen is an integration and training program for academic Newbies. The aim is to provide you with the skills needed to enter the Swedish labour market. Korta vägen is held at 20 universities and institutions of higher education in Sweden. The program is free and open for academic Newbies with at least three years of documented university studies. Admissions are made by a language test and motivational interview. The duration of the programme is between 12-26 weeks. Korta vägen helps you:
- identify and assess your academic skills
- get a qualified internship – a so called praktikplats at a Swedish company in your field
- improve your Swedish through specialised Swedish courses
- and provide you with professional coaching and shorter job training programmes
Korta vägen is a cooperation between the national employment service – Arbetsförmedlingen, the Swedish industry – Näringslivet and 20 institutions of higher learning in Sweden. It was launched in 2012. Stockholms university has done a study showing that 95% of the participants received a qualified praktikplats and that 59% of the participant got a job within their field after finishing Korta vägen.
Interested? Contact your local Arbetsförmedling if you think Korta vägen may be for you. They will provide you with more information and help you with the application process.
SFX (Svenska för yrkesutbildade)
Swedish for professionals, SFX, offers specialised Swedish language courses for professional Newbies. The course focus on professional language and the aim of the course is to provide professional Newbies with the accurate Swedish skills. There are currently language courses for eight different work fields:
- Swedish for bus drivers
- Swedish for entrepreneurs
- Swedish for craftsmen
- Swedish for engineers
- Swedish for truck drivers
- Swedish for medical staff
- Swedish for educators
- Swedish for lawyers, economists and social scientists
- Swedish for IT programmers
Stockholm intensivsvenska för akademiker, SIFA
Another Swedish language course is an intense Swedish course for academics – Stockholms intensivsvenska för akademiker, called SIFA. This Swedish language course offer specialised Swedish teaching for academic Newbies eager to proceed rapidly. SIFA takes you from a beginner level to more or less fluid Swedish in 1.5 years.
Sveriges Internationella Talanger, SIT
International Talents of Sweden – Sveriges Internationella Talanger, SIT is a great initiative by academic Newbies for academic Newbies. The idea behind SIT is to create a common network for all academic Newbies in Sweden. The aim of SIT is to become a voice for academic Newbies by gathering information and exchanging experiences.
Validating your studies and work experience is an important step in approaching the Swedish work market. This process can be time consuming and complicated. So it’s good to get started as soon as possible. Arbetsförmedlingen can help you with the validation, so make sure to bring all certificates and “proofs” you have of your studies and work experience to your first meeting with Arbetsförmedlingen.
The Swedish Central Organisation for academics, SACO has a useful website that gathers information concerning work search, education, labour legislation in Sweden with special focus on professional and academic Newbies.
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