Susanne Walström/imagebank.sweden.se

New internship programme helps foreigners enter Swedish job market

New internship programme helps foreigners enter Swedish job market
You’re studying/have studied in Sweden. You’ve fallen in love with the country. Of course, the next step, in order to stay, is to find a job. But how do you go about this? Well, to start off with, there's a new internship programme in town...

The SI News Service spoke with Alexandra Ridderstad, head of Jobbsprånget – a four month long internship programme that provides an introduction to the Swedish job market. It is aimed at those with academic degrees in engineering, science, business, finance and architecture.

The programme is in its infancy with the pilot only running last year, but its future is bright. Alexandra is also head of Tekniksprånget, an established four-month internship programme that inspires young adults to go to technical universities. Its successes inspired the launch of Jobbsprånget.

“We had a lot of experience running internship programmes so we were inspired to start Jobbsprånget. We built on the knowledge we had, and we targeted similar groups. The aim of the programme is to speed up the introduction process to the Swedish job market,” explains Alexandra.

“We aim to build a bridge between the employer and intern. The employer also wants to speed up the introduction process to the Swedish job market – maybe this is why the programme has been a success so far!”

While the programme does not necessarily guarantee a job, Jobbsprånget continue with their support and keep in touch with all the interns.

“We’ve only been running the programme for a short while, so we like to keep in touch with our interns and find out if and when they go into jobs, and what sort of jobs they choose. So far, our results have been extremely positive,” says Alexandra.

Both Tekniksprånget and Jobbsprånget run in partnership with the Swedish government, and Jobbsprånget receives further funding from the Wallenberg Foundation, which promotes scientific research, teaching and education beneficial to Sweden. It is, however, the Ministry of Employment that decides who can participate in the programme.

 “Applicants must have Arbetsförmedlingen’s introductory assignment with approved introduction benefit, and a degree in engineering, science, business, finance or architecture,” Alexandra explains. “The Ministry of Employment have direct communication channels with such potential candidates and direct them to our programme.”

But what about language? Is Swedish a requirement?

“People often assume you need to speak the local language, but this is not the case for us. Our internships are in English, so English is a must. But interns learn Swedish on the job and of course this helps them later in the job market too.”

The scientific and tech industry is stereotypically a male-dominated industry. Alexandra emphasised that gender equality is important to her personally, as well as to the programme as a whole.

“It is very important that women are given the chance in the tech and science sector. The current Tekniksprånget cohort is 50 percent female – which is quite high; we haven’t reached 50 percent yet in Jobbsprånget, but we are trying! The project is only young so give us time!”

The programme has had a great success rate and is only gaining traction, with an aim to offer 1000 internships a year – so keep your eyes peeled!

Job-hunting tips for SI NFGL members

If you’re not eligible for this new programme, don’t worry. There is still plenty of support available to help you secure a job here in Sweden.

First off, make sure your Swedish CV is looking good, and prepare for potential job interviews in Sweden.

And consider an internship if getting a job in Sweden isn’t a realistic option yet – internships can be a great way to get your foot in the door in the Swedish market.

You could also try a few different internships to see which industry you are best suited too (and which you enjoy the most). Click here for more tips on landing an internship.

Sure, you are able to get by in Sweden without knowing a word of Swedish – this applies in the job market too. However, having Swedish, even if only a little, can only be a good and helpful thing. Find out more about the joys of learning Swedish.

Job hunting is stressful at the best of times. Lessen your post-graduate-job-hunt stress by searching and applying for jobs while you are studying. One way to go about this is to contact the employer directly – even if this doesn’t lead to a job it could lead to work experience or an internship that was otherwise not advertised.

Good luck!

See also: How to succeed as a professional in Sweden