Swedavia-backed internship program improves employment chances for foreign graduates

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Left to right: Anna-Märta Jander, head of business development at Swedavia Energy, and Cristina Varela, an engineer in sustainable energy at Swedavia

Foreign graduates working in Sweden are finding jobs much faster thanks to a new internship program supported by airport operator Swedavia.

According to a report by the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise, foreign university graduates typically take between five and 10 years to find a job in the country. However, the Jobbsprånget (Job Leap) internship program, run by the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences, is finding permanent work for seven out of 10 graduates who intern through the program.

Jobbsprånget matches employer skill requirements with newly arrived engineers, architects, scientists and economists, with more than 150 employers at 45 locations taking part. So far, approximately 200 graduates have completed the program.

The model has been praised by both the Swedish state, which allocated Skr 55m (US$7m) in funding in autumn 2017, and from the business community, with additional funding from the Wallenberg Foundations.

Cristina Varela, an engineer in sustainable energy, one of four people hired at Swedavia after completing an internship, said, “A lack of language skills and experience is always a disadvantage for people who have recently arrived in Sweden, even if the person in question has the right education. Doing an internship is a good way to take the first step into the labor market, and it has been a positive experience for me.”

Alexandra Ridderstad, head of operations for Jobbsprånget, said, “We are talking about five months instead of five to 10 years for entering the labor market. With this program, there is a preparatory process of one month, followed by a four-month internship which in many cases leads to a job.”

Anna-Märta Jander, head of business development at Swedavia Energy and Cristina Varela’s supervisor, added, “It is important to contribute to integration. It is great to see how Cristina has grown in the time she has been with us. Her language skills have really advanced, and she has shown how her professional qualifications really meet our needs.”

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Dan originally joined Passenger Terminal World in 2014 having spent the early years of his career in the recruitment industry. As online editor, he now produces daily content for the website and supports the editor with the publication of each exciting new issue. When he’s not reporting on the latest aviation news, Dan can be found on the golf course or apprehensively planning his next DIY project.

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