‘Many Swedes think all refugees are under-educated. That’s not true’

'Many Swedes think all refugees are under-educated. That's not true'
Maria Frithz Warg. Photo: private.
Stockholm School of Economics (SSE) has launched a new programme, RAMP, aimed at equipping highly educated refugees with the skills they need to thrive in the Swedish marketplace. Director Maria Frithz Warg gives us the lowdown.

When did you come up with the idea and how long will the programme last?

The idea emerged last autumn, at the time of the refugee crisis. We at Stockholm School of Economics started wondering how could we help newcomers. We found that we could help by offering executive education.

We contacted companies that would participate and offer internships for prospective students – and we got more than what we needed.

The programme starts in August, and lasts for one year. Participants will have ten weeks of executive education at SSE, after which they will intern at one of the participating Swedish companies.

With just 20 participants, do you think RAMP will help while there are thousands of jobless refugees?

Well, I can’t solve the world’s problem, but we try to help as much as we can. You have to start somewhere, and I also think we may inspire others as well.

Many Swedes think all the refugees who have come here are under-educated – which is not true – and with a project like this we can show that many are highly educated. I’ve started interviewing many refugees and I think they will be good for Sweden.

Will the programme help participants get jobs?

Our school is very well established and has an excellent reputation, so the refugees will build an extremely good network with many large Swedish companies.

SSE is very important in Swedish business life. Of course the participants will not become project managers and CEOs at the start of the project – but they will work with those people.

They will really get an opportunity to get to work and find their own ways. It takes time, but this is the way for them to become managers and leaders in the long run.

Who is eligible for enrollment?

Any refugee with a residency permit and higher education. Most academic majors are accepted, but the applicant needs to have a business orientation. 

Are you a refugee in Sweden and would like to apply for RAMP programme? Check the eligibility criteria and apply (note: you must be granted residency permit). 

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