Swedish mobility service recruits Senegalese help

Swedish mobility service recruits Senegalese help
Swedes looking to order transportation services may from 2012 find their calls re-directed to an operator in Dakar, Senegal.

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.

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.

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