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Public Sector Internships Improve Competence

News: Oct 11, 2016

In the midst of the overwhelming refugee situation in Sweden in the autumn of 2015, the University of Gothenburg began offering internships for recently arrived refugees to help facilitate their integration into the labour market. Almost immediately, about 100 internship opportunities were announced by the various departments and units.

A few months later, in February 2016, the Swedish government commissioned state agencies across the country, including publicly funded higher education institutions, to establish internships for not only refugees but also individuals with disabilities. The University of Gothenburg quickly accepted the expanded assignment.

The rise in immigration implies great opportunities for Sweden and helps secure the necessary supply of competence in the labour market. Internships can help refugees learn the Swedish language. It also introduces them to employment in Sweden and enables them to contribute their competence and knowledge in society.

‘As a large employer we want to act responsibly and help put all the competence that is flowing into the country to practical use. Internships also help strengthen the personal competence of the individuals, and we as an employer gain an opportunity to tap into alternative perspectives. Diversity makes a work environment more dynamic,’ says Sofia Alstam, internship coordinator at the University of Gothenburg’s human resources unit.

Statistics from the Swedish Public Employment Service show that a large proportion of individuals with disabilities struggle with long unemployment spells. Internships can enable people in this group to acquire and demonstrate skills that will qualify them for future employment. The government’s internship scheme can help many people gain work experience from the public sector and thus increase the likelihood of future employment.

‘This is an opportunity for us to make a difference, and to make it possible for these people to pursue permanent employment.’

Strong collaboration with the Swedish Public Employment Service is of critical importance since they are in charge of assessing internship candidates and matching them with appropriate employers and work tasks.

‘We are continuously reporting new internship opportunities to the Public Employment Service and they respond by informing us about candidates we may be interested in based on our requirements,’ says Alstam.

The government mandate instructing state agencies to provide internship opportunities for newly arrived refugees and individuals with disabilities will expire in December 2018. More information about the assignment will be published in the Staff Portal shortly.

If you would like to learn more or are interested in hosting an internship, please contact Sofia Alstam at the University of Gothenburg human resources unit.

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Originally published on: medarbetarportalen.gu.se

Page Manager: Annika Andersson|Last update: 3/23/2009

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