Career support programme offers an opportunity for an ever-growing Swedish job-market

Linköping University's pilot-project career support programme has finished for 31 international second-year programme and PhD students, with great results.

Text: Karolina Hunter

International programme students Sandra Knopik and Jamila Zeynalzade, who both were part of the career support programme. Photo: Charlotte Perhammar

The career support programme, a new pilot project coordinated by LiU’s International Office, aimed to give participants enough knowledge on how to apply for jobs in Sweden. After completing the programme, international students should be confident enough to feel they have a fair chance on the Swedish employment market.

 

A programme for motivated students
“The programme exceeded my expectations as I enjoyed it to the full extent,” said Jamila Zeynalzade from Azerbaijan, a year-two programme student in Internationaland European Relations.

 Jamila Zeynalzade. Photo: Charlotte Perhammar

“The Swedish job market differs in many ways from other countries, here the most important is not decades of experience but ambitions and dedication”, explains Jamila Zeynalzade. She now feels she has more of an understanding of the employment market in Sweden.

“Although the situation of job-market is a bit complicated now due to corona issue in general, one can be successful if manages to build contacts, improve the background and keep high motivation. Sweden is a big and developed country yet with a small population.”

Brazilian student Sandra Knopik, a year-two programme student in Industrial Engineering and Management, said her expectations for the programme were to gain a better overview of how the Swedish job market works, and to promote herself accordingly.

“With the programme, I could understand the cultural differences in the application process, I put into practice the knowledge acquired during the seminars, especially in the individual feedback sessions. I learnt that minor details make a difference in a good job application,” said Sandra Knopik.

She successfully obtained two offers for her master’s thesis position at the same time as she attended and participated in the career support programme.

“I got two master’s thesis positions, one in a big well-known company in Linköping and another one in a start-up here as well. I participated in the interviews and in the end, and I was glad to have a chance to choose which fit better with my profile and ambitions. I am sure that it has happened because the coordinator of the programme gave valuable advice.”

Sandra Knopik. Photo: Charlotte Perhammar

Collaborates closely with Linköping Science Park
New data released by the Swedish IT and Telecom Industries states that 70,000 thousand new talents are needed by 2024 within the entire IT and telecom sector alone in Sweden.

To reach this number companies need to be good at attracting international talents as well, targeting those who already live in Sweden such as international students, but also talents outside of Sweden.

Linköping Science Park’s Community and Employer Branding Manager Anna Broeders said that in the Östergötland region, many knowledge-based companies are foreign-owned and there are many opportunities for international students.

“Only in Mjärdevi over 45 nationalities are represented, so there is a great community of international talents. This community is a soft landing for international talent. Also, many companies are global and have English as a corporatelanguage,” Anna Broeders said.

Anna Broeders. Photo: Christine Engström

It is important for companies to employ international talent, both for the sourcing of talent, expertise, and experience, but also for the cultural aspect and exchange.

“I think they (companies) both should recruit international talents to meet their need but also because international talents have another background and knowledge. Many companies produce global products, to understand the total market different cultures and backgrounds should be represented in the workforce as well,” said Anna Broeders.

At Linköping Science Park, there are many ways for international programme and PhD students to participate to excel in their career.

“We arrange a recruitment fair and thesis fair for both national and international students. For PhD students, we arrange a Science Pop-up Expo. Also, we have started a pilot where international talents’ competencies are matched with companies’ recruitment needs. The matchmaking is done using AI. At the actual event, the talents that have the highest matches meet representatives from the companies at a 20-minute digital meeting.”

The career support programme coordinator Priya Eklund is satisfied with this round and is looking forward to the students who are starting in February 2021.

“I hope we will have many interesting international programme students and researchers who are highly motivated to start and to hopefully build a career in Sweden after completing their studies,” Priya Eklund said.

“By using tools and techniques they learn from this programme, they have a greater chance to reach that goal.”

The career support programme is only offered to year-two international programme students and PhD students, and participants must explain why they want to take part and give a brief outline of their future career plan. The programme is planned to be held twice a year. The programme consist of six sessions, mostly held digitally due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and students are expected to do some work on their own and watch online sessions.

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