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Swedish mobility service recruits Senegalese help

Clara Guibourg · 18 Jul 2011, 11:30

Published: 18 Jul 2011 11:30 GMT+02:00

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Transportation service, known as "färdtjänst", is available to disabled individuals who are unable to travel by ordinary public transport.

Samres AB, a company responsible for transportation service in 120 Swedish municipalities, is currently teaching 32 Senegalese the ins and outs of the Swedish language.

The plan is to have the new employees trained and ready to start taking calls coming in from Sweden by the start of 2012.

"There are cost benefits. We also get employees who stay for a long time, and lower our staff turnover, but sure - there are cost benefits, which give us a competetive edge," Niklas Najafi, Samres's business area manager, explained to The Local on Monday.

Najafi prefers not to get into specifics about how the Senegalese salaries compare to Swedish conditions.

"We pay attractive salaries by local standards," he affirmed.

Some 32 people in Senegal are currently being paid by Samres to study Swedish. Over the course of 9 months, the employees are studying the language nine hours per day, five days per week.

"We put a lot of work into the education in advance. If you don't speak good Swedish you can't work for us," explained Najafi.

Story continues below…

Those hired have also undergone several tests in the recruiting process, including an English language test and logic tests, as well as a test to determine applicants' ability to create sounds that sound like Swedish, which Samres has developed with the help of a linguistics researcher.

Senegal was selected for several reasons, explained Najafi.

"It's a stable democracy, with a large percentage of the population highly educated. Unfortunately, it's also hard to find qualified work, which means that there is a large available workforce," he said.

Clara Guibourg (clarabara@hotmail.com)

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Your comments about this article

12:04 July 18, 2011 by johnny1939
Maybe they will more effective than the current service..I hope so.
12:59 July 18, 2011 by calebian22
It's "funny" that they are teaching foreigners not living in Sweden to speak Swedish. Don't they realize that there are foreigners galore at SFI? However, the key phrase, "We pay attractive salaries by local standards," explains it all. 0,32 Euros per hour minimum wage is pretty tough to beat.
13:36 July 18, 2011 by here for the summer
this is capitalism gone wild or maybe more correctly government insanity. We need to create jobs locally at the very least with our tax dollars .
14:27 July 18, 2011 by Rick Methven
So they are going to learn Swedish!

I suppose that they will learn 'Standard Stockholm Swedish' so what happens when they get a call from deepest Skäna or from somebody speaking rapid Norlänsk asking to be picked up from some place in the middle of nowhere that even the locals can not pronounce?

This will be the biggest failure EVER. I suppose the Kommun's will save money as half the pickups that they pay for will never happen
14:57 July 18, 2011 by J. L. Belmar
They will be paid with beans, rice and Absolut Vodka. They will not be able to understand the language of Swedes living in Skåne nor in Norrland or Dalarna. Good for the company and let us send Mr. Niklas Najafi to the lions and let them handicapped him so then he calls Senegaleses and these ones send him another lion but not a vehicle to pick him up. Were do thinkers like Najafi come from?
15:52 July 18, 2011 by Marc the Texan
After 6 months on the job, they will move to Sweden in search of a better paying job since they will already be speaking Swedish. This company is just prepping low cost workers who will eventually be on track to enter Sweden and be willing to work a lot cheaper than the average Swede. There will be a stampede to do phone support for much cheaper than most workaday Swedes would consider a living wage. This is just a terrible idea. There is only one country in the world where those specific language skills will pay. And it's not Senegal.
17:44 July 18, 2011 by Grokh
why not just hire swedes? have they been to arbetsförmedlingen ? shtload of people and no help whatsoever. im sure 32 of the 8,3% of unemployed swedes wouldnt mind working for this...
17:53 July 18, 2011 by Nemesis
The Swedish race to the bottom continues.
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