Diversity – an advantage for UHR
17 November 2020
UHR’s Department for Qualifications Recognition works with assessing educational qualifications from all corners of the world. Language skills and employee diversity are therefore of great importance, a finding also found on a recent survey.
For five months in the spring, Daniela Cundrò, PHD student in International Communication at the University for Foreigners in Perugia, Italy, spent time at UHR conducting research. She is studying how higher education institutions can perform better in a global context, applying cultural models to the communication with foreign target groups. During her time at UHR, she carried out various research activities, one of which was to survey the employees at the Department for Qualifications Recognition.
”From my very first day, I was impressed by the department’s multicultural and multilingual team,” said Daniela Cundrò. “I wanted to show that a team’s multiculturalism is indispensable for performing tasks in a global context, such as recognising foreign qualifications.”
Seven languages used daily
The survey indicated that the department’s approximately 75 employees use English, Swedish, Arabic, French, Spanish, Farsi and Russian in their everyday work activities. The main geographical areas in focus are Europe, North America, Northern Africa, the Middle East, Asia and the Pacific. Employees also work with ENIC-NARIC offices, which are offices in other countries that, like UHR, assess and recognise foreign qualifications.
Daniela Cundrò, PHD student at the University for Foreigners in Perugia, Italy.
”Cultural diversity isn’t just an advantage for the team, it’s also a necessity for a public authority working in an international environment. This is also the case with UHR’s Department for Qualifications Recognition. Knowledge of several languages is very useful, especially when searching for authentic sources in the original language at the websites of institutions and universities. It also provides an opportunity for deeper knowledge about countries in terms of public administration, education systems, the prevalence of corruption and other risks” said Daniela Cundrò.
Changed recruitment strategy
Over the last ten years, the department has seen an increase in diversity among its employees, a consequence of the economic and political crises in such countries as Syria, Afghanistan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Eritrea, India, Iran and Iraq.
According to Lars Petersson, Head of Department for Qualifications Recognition, ”The Syrian refugee crisis after the start of the civil war in 2011 led to a dramatic increase in applicants here. We then changed our recruiting strategy in order to bring in even more people with different cultural backgrounds. It has brought with it a number of positive aspects, for example in the areas of quality, effectivity in work-related tasks in terms of deep language skills, an increase in local and regional knowledge and it’s even enriched the social work environment.”
About UHR and the recognition of foreign qualifications
UHR has a number of areas of responsibility, one of which is the recognition of foreign qualifications. We make it easier for a person who wants to search for a job in Sweden by issuing personal recognition statements for foreign qualifications. We also offer a digital assessment service – the Qualifications Assessment Tool – in both Swedish and English.
UHR is Sweden’s ENIC-NARIC office which means we’re part of an international network. Among other things, our duties are to provide information about foreign education in Sweden, and information about Swedish education internationally.