NEWS Those who seek refuge in Sweden without social network, language skills and verified academic degrees often struggle to find a job. The further education initiative called Korta Vägen is now offered at Umeå University for the tenth time.
“Korta Vägen is a very important programme for the individuals that we support as it gives them a strong foothold that works in the Swedish labour market,” says Helena Lindvall, deputy Head of Office at Student Services and responsible for Korta Vägen.
Korta Vägen is Swedish bridging programme for refugee academics with at least three years academic training. In Umeå and Skellefteå, the programme is offered by Folkuniversitetet in collaboration with Umeå University and at the request of Arbetsförmedlingen (the Swedish Public Employment Service). The objective is to make use of competences for the Swedish labour market.
Student Services at Umeå University has been responsible for Korta Vägen since the education started in 2010. The University is responsible for mapping qualifications, job coaching with in-depth study advising and work placements. Folkuniversitetet trains people in the Swedish language and holds courses on Swedish society and work life.
Studies are offered full-time for 26 weeks and are carried out completely in Swedish. After job coaching, course participants take on work placements within their fields for four weeks, and they can be extended for up to six months by Arbetsförmedlingen. An evaluation of the three previous Korta Vägen courses shows that 53 per cent of the participants found a job straight after course completion or were offered an extended work placement.
“Even if everyone isn’t offered a job straight away, Korta Vägen and the related work placement still provides contacts, references from a Swedish employer and experience that enable and simplify getting into the labour market,” says Helena Lindvall.
Since its start, 167 participants have completed Korta Vägen and including the recently started courses, a total of 244 have taken on the education. According to Victoria Bernhardtson, study adviser at Student Services, who is now active in arranging work placements, only four people have so far had their work placement at Umeå University.
“Even though the education is carried out at Umeå University and strive for perfection, we still need to work harder when it comes to the number of individuals being offered work placements at the University. Considering that the number of refugees is increasing, it’s important to also take responsibility of work placements,” says Victoria Bernhardtson.
Text: Mattias Grundström Mitz
Translation: Anna Lawrence
Main photo: Students at work. Credit: Folkuniversitetet, Umeå.
Editor: Anna Lawrence